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    60 Small Tips That'll Make Any Traveling So Much Easier This Year

    Because you're on vacation to get away from work.

    1. Take screen shots of all your travel confirmations and make two physical copies of your essential travel info because you never know.

    screen shot of writer's bus ticket with QR code

    2. And keep a copy of your physical travel docs in a trifold travel wallet so you're not wearily holding up the line when it comes time to show the TSA agent your passport and boarding pass or at the hotel check-in counter when you want nothing more than to get into your room and take a shower. 

    The wallet has a passport pocket, boarding pass compartment, three credit card slots, an ID slot, a slim card pouch, a slim pocket, a ticket slot, a cellphone pouch, a coin zippered pocket, a key holder, and a pen holder. 

    Promising review: "Guys, I'm beyond happy with this. I've been looking for a passport and ticket holder for a while but had never found the right size until I decided to try out this one. Besides, the material feels high quality and long-lasting, the red color is even better in person, and it's wildly pretty." —BazantSol

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in 33 colors).

    3. Always pack more Imodium (or your fave tummy-taming meds) than you think you'll need. Trust me!

    4. And speaking of tummy troubles, research if your destination has drinkable tap water or if you need to rely on bottled water. If you can drink the water, a water bottle that's collapsible, refillable, *and* leakproof will be incredibly useful. 

    blue water bottle full of water and standing up, then empty and curled up to 1/3 of its regular size
    Amazon

    Promising review: "We travel a lot. I love that it can be rolled up." —Jayanthi Carter

    Get it from Amazon for $34.95 (available in eight colors).

    5. And speaking of tummy troubles, research if your destination has drinkable tap water or if you need to rely on bottled water. If you can drink the water, a water bottle that's collapsible, refillable, *and* leakproof will be incredibly useful. 

    silicone water bottle opened to full capacity
    same water bottle rolled up small enough to fit in palm of hand
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    I bought this water bottle before a 2.5-week trip to Vietnam (where you don't drink tap water) and Malaysia (where you do). I didn't want to bring one of my ride-or-die S'well bottles because it would take up extra room in my bag when I wouldn't be able to use it during the majority of the trip. This handy silicone bottle did just the trick! It's very easy to roll up and *stays* rolled up thanks to the just-stretchy-enough loop. Said loop was also very handy while walking through airports and just around sightseeing. The bottle is easy to clean and doesn't make my water taste weird. I'm now using it as my daily water bottle and feel confident it'll serve me well for a long time. Plus! With a collapsible water bottle it's easier to remember if you left water in it before you go through security. 

    Get a pack of two from Amazon for $9.99 (available in 14 colors/styles).

    6. And pack some Pedialyte powder packets (or another form of electrolytes) because yes, you are an adult, but sometimes, you indulge a little too much or start to feel a cold coming on from traveling and could use some help. I always pack these for trips and have never regretted it. And IMO, they're much tastier than electrolyte tablets you dilute in water. 

    Pedalyte
    Amazon

    ~Trust me~ when I tell you that these will work in a pinch. I bought them a few years ago to take on a bachelorette party to New Orleans, and everyone in the Airbnb was grateful I did. Since then, I've always had them in my carry-on bag when going on a trip. They REALLY came in handy when I went to the Greek islands for 10 days with an apparent mission to eat every piece of seafood and cheese within sight while washing it down with jugs of wine. These are powder in small individual packets, so they're so easy to pack! And also, you don't have to lug around a bottle of Gatorade to feel better. I aim to drink one in the morning when I wake up and then before I go to bed at night...though that doesn't always go as planned. 

    Promising review: "I always have it with me. I travel a lot, and I’m super busy, so I will forget to drink enough water (I live in a VERY hot climate), so these drink packets save the day often." —ashley v

    Get a 24-count from Amazon for $24.31.

    7. Check into your flight ASAP! Don't wait 'til you get to the airport. You want to check in before other passengers to secure your seat assignment and avoid getting bumped from the flight.

    Airlines overbook flights and sometimes even when they don't, passengers can get bumped simply for the reason that they were the last to check in for a flight

    I used to be one of those people who refused to give up space on my phone for an airline app and would check into the flight at an airport kiosk before going through security. I stopped that a few years ago when I saw a fellow passenger find out that they didn't have a seat assignment, and the airline counter employee at the gate told them that they didn't have a seat because they were the last to check in to the flight. Now, when I'm ready to go on a trip, I plan accordingly to check into my domestic flight 24 hours before, and for some international carriers, I've been able to check in days beforehand (for example, EasyJet lets you check into your flight starting 30 days before). 

    If you're traveling internationally, you might have to show your negative COVID test results to even get *to* checkin counters. This also adds on quite a chunk of time at the airport. I nearly missed my flight back to NYC from Rome thanks to a line of hundreds of people at a checkpoint where any US-bound passengers had to have their test results checked. I made the flight. But it was a very close call!

    8. Research any "extra" items (think: not toiletry or regular clothing) you may need on your trip so you don't pack something that a tour or hotel provides. Yes, this takes a few teensy extra minutes on the front end, but you'll thank me when you don't pack a bulky beach towel you don't need.

    Arrow pointing to people on rented beach towels under an umbrella

    9. And if your research unearths the possibility of needing some water shoes, just go ahead and invest in these budget-friendly, quick-dry ones. They can help you traverse nearly every kind of ground you may come upon without blowing your travel shopping budget...lest a pointy sea urchin cramp your vacation shoe style.  

    grippy sole of shoe
    two pairs of feet wearing the shoes in the ocean

    Promising review: "I bought these shoes a couple of years ago before a river hike. UM THESE ARE AWESOME. They lasted a long time and the only reason I bought these yellow ones were because I wanted a new color, haha. My older pair did start to wear out in the toes from scraping them on rocks and such when hiking but still no holes in them. These shoes feel like socks but with enough of a sole that you can walk on gravel with no problem. It really is like walking barefoot. Also, these are the only water shoes that I have worn that do NOT let a bunch of debris into the shoe making you constantly have to take it off to empty it or just deal with the irritant. You can play on the beach with minimal sand stuck between your toes. Thoroughly impressed by that. So with that, I do recommend if you are a half size to size down so they are snug, otherwise the sock like ability to keep stuff out might not work so well." —Samantha Lindsay

    Get it from Amazon for $8.68+ (available in seven sizes and 44 colors).

    10. Something else that seriously might come in handy is a versatile lightweight shawl you can even wrap up in on the plane and then at night, plus bring along when visiting religious sites where you need to cover your shoulders to enter. 

    Promising review: "Absolutely love this shawl! The color is a true red and will work beautifully for several outfits. I bought it specifically for travel...easy to pack in your carry-on bag and adds warmth without weight." —bojangles

    "Wore on a trip to Morocco. Lightweight and versatile. Wear it as a traditional scarf, draped over front, or as a headscarf. Good quality and color pigment." —Micki R. Leesch

    Get it from Amazon for $11.98 (available in 38 colors).

    11. Share pics with your trip mates (and any loved ones who want to share in on the fun) with Google Photos for free. And then if you want to print photos out later...you already have some g2g.

    photo prints the writer had printed from travels in Italy and Greece

    12. Eliminate a MAJOR ick factor with a pack of toilet seat covers that'll create a (colorful) barrier between your toddler's curious hands and public toilet seats at rest stops and airports. 

    Promising review: "If you're a germaphobe like myself, this is a must-have in your diaper bag. The thought of placing my son or daughter on a public toilet with only a seat liner is disturbing especially since they're both little and still hold onto the toilet seat for support when peeing/pooping. These cover the toilet completely and even cover the lower part of the toilet where dangling legs and pants/skirts touch. My only complaint about these is that they are not flushable. It's difficult trying to gather the liner up (they are rather large) without touching the toilet or the possibly wet liner (because it partially fell in the water) and then scrunching it up to fit into a sanitary napkin bin. Other than that, these are great. Also, I don't use the adhesive strips at all since I have two little ones that usually need to go right away so we don't have the time to remove the adhesive backing. I usually just place the liner on the toilet and then carefully plop my kid on top and all's well." —Ting

    Get a pack of 24 covers from Amazon for $9.99.

    13. TRIPLE check the size constraints for every single airline you'll be flying on your trip so you aren't forced to gate-check an oversized (according to the airline) bag.

    diagram of baggage allowance for EasyJet flights

    14. Also use a digital luggage scale to make sure that you aren't slammed with an overweight luggage fee (ugh) or having to move stuff from your carryon bag to your personal item to avoid said fee (also, ugh). Yes, sometimes airlines will actually check the weight of your carry-on! Sigh. 

    hand held luggage scale
    Amazon

    Promising review: "We use this on every trip to avoid paying for extra weight as we travel internationally quite often. I have tested in several ways and also always note the weigh number in the airport. After several trips, I can say that the accuracy of it is right within 2 lbs. I have it for almost two years and still using the same batteries." —Cass Young

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99.

    15. Even if you're normally a carry-on person, I would recommend buying an Apple AirTag for each bag you'll take with you on your trip. I recently used one to help me track a bag that Lufthansa left behind in Frankfurt. And again, it gives you peace of mind even if you're driving to your destination and are just leaving your luggage at the hotel before check-in time!

    16. If you're flying and limited on your toiletries, also lightly google whether you can buy toiletries near your accommodation on the cheap. You'll have to make easier packing decisions without sacrificing your go-to serum. (I always recommend buying sunscreen once you land because you SHOULD go through more than a measly carry-on-friendly bottle of SPF anyway.)

    Hand holding a can of sunscreen

    17. Help prevent motion sickness on ferries, boat excursions, and just plain ole riding in a car with a set of Sea Bands with a little nub that targets the acupuncture point on your wrists meant to help reduce nausea. Cheers to using these instead of having to buy Dramamine over and over and over again. 

    Read more about acupressure and nausea at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

    Promising review: "These were awesome! My entire family suffers from motion sickness, especially car sickness. My little one gets sick in the car on a regular car ride through the city. So I knew that a long road trip was going to be a disaster. I was amazed at how well these bands worked for everyone! Not one single person complained about being sick for 12 hours in the car. At one point I did have one child remove their bands because they said they were getting too tight. But after only a few minutes without them, a headache started to come on, so they immediately put them back on and the relief was instant. I have suffered for decades and now I know better. I will never travel without mine again!" —1SmartCookie

    Get a set of two from Amazon for $8.59 (available in adult and children's sizes).

    18. Research whether tipping is part of the culture. Depending on your destination, that's how some people make a living or could be incredibly offensive. And it can also help determine how much cash you should exchange for local currency.

    It varies by location and by the service!

    19. Decant your family's snacks into a pack of spill-proof Munchkin snack catchers so the Goldfish end up in tummies instead of all over the backseat.

    Two snack containers in blue and green
    A child model's hand pulling a cracker out of the blue snack cup
    Reviewer's video demonstrating how the container prevent snacks from falling out

    Promising review: "The perfect companion for traveling with a toddler who loves to snack and prefers being independent. I can fit about 12 average-size grapes in it, about 5–6 regular sized cookies, about 8–10 mini cookies, a big handful or small cereal such as Cheerios, and about 10–12 standard Ritz crackers. These estimations are all things that I regularly place in there for him to snack on. Nothing spills out and whatever does come out is whatever he grabs with his hands to get which is amazing. The only thing I would suggest is placing foil or plastic wrap around the mouth of the cup to prevent any of the snack from getting stale from it being exposed. The lid doesn’t fully cover the snack from air exposure. It simply protects the snack from spilling over and promotes child independence." —Antoinette

    Get a pack of two from Amazon for $5.95 (available in two color combos).

    20. Label all your stuff so you aren't wondering whether or not that's a container of mouthwash or toothpaste tablets. (Yep, I've had to use mouthwash tablets as toothpaste tablets on a trip because of that mistake.) It also makes it so much easier to refill your stores while packing.

    Containers labeled for what's inside them

    21. Use a packing list to make sure you get every last thing you need. Alternatively, you can use a note on your phone, but sometimes, writing stuff down is just more effective for some folks!

    notepad
    Amazon

    I use a note on my phone that I copy over every time I have a new trip to make it even faster! Because yes, I am that level, and there are some items I always pack that aren't on a premade list like this. 

    Promising review: "We travel frequently and have two children. As any parent knows, packing for yourself and your children can be overwhelming — especially for a trip longer than a few days. I have found this list to be a lifesaver, and I also give it as a gift for other traveling families. It is easy to plan, organize, and list out items that are easily forgotten. You can also list the quantity of each item needed. Overall, a wonderful purchase and has likely saved me many forgotten items!" —Mike D.

    Get it from Amazon for $7.

    22. Pack your underwear first because you KNOW that's the most important thing. Just get it outta the way! And if you're on the prowl for minimal-size undies, I can't recommend these whisper-thin New Balance thongs enough.

    three thongs

    23. Pack a set of