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Travel Tips: How To Be a Confident Traveler

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Updated 01/31/2022

Are you a new business traveler who will be flying regularly for work, an empty nester who plans to travel throughout the year (to see family and the world), or a solo traveler who hopes to discover the tips to master frequent travel?

Learn the ins and outs with the best travel tips to become a confident traveler.

Travel Tips and Skills to Build Your Travel Confidence

first class using travel reward programs

Travel Tips #1 – Maximize Your Time

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Tip #1. Discover how to maximize your timing in getting to the airport, passing expertly through security, and arriving at the boarding gate; it becomes a skill to NOT spend a lot of time waiting around in the airport.

This travel tip from a frequent traveler involves knowing how to time your arrival just right… so long as traffic cooperates.

You want to spend as little time as possible going through security, so traveling with carry on luggage and a backpack should be all that you bring with you. Make sure that your liquids are easy to reach if you need to remove them.

You will begin to know the drill of removing your laptop if you happen to have one with you.

On the flip side, when you arrive at your destination (especially if it is an international destination), be quick about getting off the plane and moving toward Immigration and Customs. In fact, take note of the seasoned business travelers and follow them! If you have a choice between getting behind a business traveler or a family in a line, always choose the business traveler.

Fun Questions to Ask Your Partner as you travel

The longer you take to arrive at Immigration, the further back in line you will be and the longer you will have to wait.

If you are arriving in country, it is quite likely that you will be able to go through the “Nothing to Declare” line for customs.

All of these travel tips will help you maximize your travel time; tip #7—Enroll in Trusted Traveler Programs—works hand in hand in helping you maximize your time at the airport.

If you are traveling for business, you want to be able to spend as much time as possible with your customer visits. If travel is for pleasure, why spend more time in the airport than you absolutely have to?

Travel Tips #2 – Pack a Dopp Kit or Toiletry Bag

Packing your Dopp kit, a term often used in the United States for a man’s toiletry bag, is another one of the essential travel tips.

Your bag or kit should be repacked or restocked as soon as you arrive home in readiness for your next trip. (The same goes for a woman’s toiletry kit.)

Did you know that Dopp kit comes from an early 20th century leather craftsman, Charles Doppelt? His company designed the “Dopp kit” in 1926. The military issued toiletry kits during World Wars I and II, and “toiletry kit” and “Dopp kit” were interchangeably used. Samsonite purchased the Dopp brand in the 70s.

Keep your Dopp kit/toiletry bag packed and ready to go at all times. Purchase dedicated items that always remain in the kit:

Travel Tips #3 – Invest in Quality Luggage

Invest in quality yet lightweight luggage that will last for years. This type of luggage will likely be more expensive, but it will withstand the rigors of frequent trips.

Many folks who are frequent travelers or business travelers, swear by the Briggs & Riley Luggage[affiliate] brand.

Why Briggs and Riley?

  • The warranty
  • Quality and design is top-notch
  • Easy-access outer pockets and an inner system for extra capacity
  • Style and confidence for a frequent traveler
  • The first company to introduce wheeled luggage in 1970

Mark your luggage with easily identifiable and personalized Luggage Tags that make your cases quick to spot.

Travel Tips #4 – Learn to Pack Like a Pro

Carry on pack for vacation and travel

Plan to carry-on your luggage. It is essential that you know the carry on rules and limitations on luggage weight and size. Business travelers are frequent travelers who are notorious for their efficiency in travel.

Don’t over pack.

That’s also a skill of a seasoned traveler. Consider the length of the trip and the business vs. casual clothes that you might need. To avoid packing too many clothes, try packing a color theme for ties and socks or dresses. For example, bring one suit jacket that works with two pairs of dress pants.

Keep your essentials and dedicated travel items—fitness shoes, laundry bag, dopp kit/toiletry bag—packed in your case and replenish all items as needed when you return home.

You can also use the hotel laundry bags for laundry, separating clothes in your bag, tucking shoes inside to keep the rest of your clothes clean, or transporting damp exercise clothes.

In order to conserve space in your luggage, if you are wearing a suit jacket as you board the airplane, ask the flight attendant to hang it up for you for the duration of your flight (usually a perk offered in business and first class). They will return it to you as you land, but make sure you are getting the right jacket back! If you are traveling in coach, carefully lay your jacket across luggage in the bins above you once the bins are full.

Plan appropriate clothing for your downtime and sightseeing.

In addition:

  • Follow TSA Guidelines and keep liquids, gels, creams and pastes under the 3.4 oz size. Keep your liquids together in a Ziploc Quart-size Bag that is easily retrievable from the front pocket of your carry-on luggage at security.
  • Roll your clothes as you pack and stuff small items such as underwear and socks in your shoes to maximize space. Pack your heavy items close to the bottom of your suitcase.
  • Use Ziploc bags in a variety of sizes. Even pack a few empty bags.
  • If you like your dress shirts dry cleaned and starched just so, when you pack, fold the shirts and secure them in the built-in garment section.
  • Use Packing Cubes. They help to keep your bag organized and similar items together.
  • Invest in Travel-size Bottles and Containers [affiliates].
  • When you arrive at your hotel room, keep your luggage and bags off the hotel room floor to avoid unwanted pests.
  • Unpack your suitcase when you arrive home. Don’t get in the habit of living out of your suitcase at home too.
  • Consider a puffy jacket for cold weather when you travel. It will be warm and easily and compactly stuffs into an outer pocket of your luggage.
  • When you can’t be conservative with your shoes as you travel for business, wear your heavy or bulky shoes when you fly to open up space in your luggage.
  • Bring a Light Jacket [affiliate] on the airplane with you.

Here is one of the travel tips to pay special attention to when packing: for those of you who typically plan an outfit where the pants and top match but don’t really go with anything else that you have packed, you need to adjust your thinking when traveling.

Choose neutral pants, dresses, shorts, or capris that will match with more than one shirt and can be worn multiple days before being washed.

You need to realize that wearing the same shirt a couple of times over the course of a trip is perfectly acceptable. Instead? Pack an extra pair of underwear and socks and go light on matchy matchy shorts, shirts (even dress shirts), and pants. Oh, and rolling some of your clothes instead of folding them really does keep them less wrinkled.

And in the evening, be sure to hang your clothes back up to keep them from being wrinkled further.

Use a packing list and follow a routine. Download your FREE International Travel Planner below and easily access the International Packing List for Men and International Packing List for Women

Travel Tips #5 – Will You Need to Do Laundry?

Consider whether or not you will need to have your clothes laundered while you are traveling.

For a trip one week or less in length, laundry shouldn’t be an issue. If your business (or pleasure) trip will last longer than a week, you may wish to plan for laundry in order to keep your packing to a minimum.

Could you wash a pair of socks in the sink and let them dry overnight? These travel laundry sink packs are pretty handy and conveniently sized.

Will you be traveling long enough that you will need to send out clothes to be cleaned? (You can expect to pay a small fortune for hotel laundry.)

Check on independent laundry services where they will pick up your laundry, launder your clothes, and return the clean clothes for a significantly reduced price over the hotel laundry. (Ask the hotel concierge for tips.)

Travel Tips #6 – Enroll in Travel Reward Programs

Location sign in Key West with amazing amazon deals for travelers

Join hotel, rental car, and airline reward programs early in your travel career. Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler for business or pleasure NOW but hope to be one day, join all of the necessary travel reward programs. This is one of the best travel tips from a business traveler.

The benefits of these programs roll over into your personal travel as well. Read How to Use Travel Reward Programs to Plan Travel Adventures. Pick a brand for each program and maximize your air travel, hotel stays, and rental car points.

United customer service desk

Travel Tips #7 – Apply for Trusted Traveler Programs

Apply for Trusted Traveler Programs: Global Entry, TSA Precheck, Nexus, etc. to provide expedited customs and security screening.

Many of the travel-oriented credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire and Bank of America, will often rebate one of the trusted traveler programs every few years. Check your card details.

Travel Tips #8 – Use the Airport Lounge

Check out airport lounges.

You can purchase one-day lounge access, invest in a lounge membership, pay to access a public airport lounge, achieve elite status, or use a credit card that offers airport lounge privileges, ie., Chase Sapphire Reserve offers the Priority Pass.

While not available in all airports, the Chase card may offer you lounge access OR a free meal at a designated restaurant in some airports.

Gold status or higher on most airlines (ie., Star Alliance Gold, OneWorld, and SkyTeam) will normally allow you lounge access plus one guest on international flights (but not domestic flights).

And while you’re at it, book non-stop flights when possible.

There are plenty of times when non-stop is just not feasible and you will need to connect, especially when traveling to and around Europe.

Travel Tips #9 – Carry the Necessary Adapters and Cables

Make sure you have the cables, chargers, and adapters that you need. A Universal Adapter [affiliate] will come in handy if you are traveling between various countries with different plugs.

Travel Tips #10 – Pack Snacks and a Water Bottle

There will be plenty of times when you are traveling that you may miss a meal or will only be provided with snacks on a flight.

Friends and family may often consider your ability to fly around the world to be glamorous, but after you miss a few meals or have to order from room service at 10 pm in the evening because that is the only meal you have had all day, you begin to realize that being a road warrior requires tenacity and patience as well.

In order to avoid going hungry, pack a variety of high energy snacks to get you through.

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Bring a Collapsible Water Bottle [affiliate] with you and fill it with water once you are through security. Or buy a bottle of water before boarding. Beverage service on medium to longer flights may occasionally be suspended due to weather conditions. Staying hydrated is extra important as you travel.

Travel Tips #11 – Practice Self Care

Five spectacular days in the South of France

Don’t give up your exercise routine and other self-care practices such as meditation and yoga as you travel. In fact, when you are traveling, you may find that it is even more essential to give your mind and body a chance to relax.

Here are a few frequent traveler’s best travel tips for self-care ideas:

  • Schedule a massage or spa treatment while away
  • Set aside time to meditate each day
  • Read or listen to a book
  • Find a favorite podcast to listen to as you take the train from one destination to another
  • Get up a little earlier and enjoy the sunrise or visit tourist sites at a less crowded time
  • Enjoy nature with a hike
  • Plan more outdoor adventures
  • Disconnect from social media while you travel
  • If you are working all day long, do a little sightseeing at the end of your day
  • Connect with others or co-workers outside of work

Travel Tips #12 – Choose a Versatile Backpack or Bag

Carry-on backpack for travel

If you plan to be a frequent business traveler or simply want to travel the world, find a Backpack [affiliate] or bag that accommodates all of your electronics and travel gadgets while also doubling as a work bag once you arrive at your destination and set off to business meetings each day.

One of the best travel tips for successful business travel is to be able to carry your Laptop with possible room for an iPad and a convenient outer zippered pocket for your Cell Phone[affiliates] and other electronics.

Even in your backpack or travel bag, make sure that all liquids are consolidated into one easily accessible quart-size Ziploc bag.

The mark of a seasoned business traveler is their ability to sleep on the plane. In fact, sleep is essential as they often arrive in country and hit the ground running to their first meetings soon after they land.

Business travelers or travel enthusiasts alike, find a non-habit forming sleep aid such as Unisom [affiliate] to maximize your sleep time while flying and wear an eye mask. Continue reading for travel tips and suggestions on noise-canceling headphones to aid your ability to sleep (see Travel Tips #14).

Travel Tips #13 – Passports and Money

Use LastPass to store travel documents securely

Keep track of your passport in your travel bag is one of the essential frequent traveler tips. In fact, assign a designated zippered pocket to hold your Passport Holder or Wallet[affiliate] and establish a routine of always placing your passport there to avoid losing it.

It is also good idea to keep a digital copy of your passport and other important documents that are stored in a secure vault program, ie., LastPass Personal Vault.

If you travel around the world accumulating coins and paper money from different countries, consider that perhaps someday you may return. Keep the money in Ziploc bags labeled with the country’s name once you returned home. When you pack for a trip, grab the currency applicable to where you will be traveling.

Many countries deal in coins for currency, so having a coin purse is also recommended.

The benefit is that once you arrive in country, you would have enough cash for a taxi ride.

One of the cardinal travel tips is to never use the airport ATMs to withdraw cash. Find an ATM at a local bank for better exchange rates and enhanced security.

Plan a trip to Europe eBook graphic for resources page

Check out more tips in “Plan a Trip to Europe: Essential Advice to Begin Your Travel Adventures” for more detailed information on financial transactions as you travel.

And just one more handy piece of advice: if you travel with an extra credit card, keep it separate from the card you regularly use.

Travel Tips # 14 – Invest in Quality Headphones

A word or two about travel tips and solutions to help with your sleeping AND to block out crying babies, chatty seat mates, and public announcements: invest in noise-cancelling headphones!

Apple AirPods Pro headphones as well as Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones[affiliates] are great for their noise-cancelling features.

The benefit to the Bose Headphones is that they are corded and offer less chances of falling out of your ears and getting lost while you sleep. Also, you can plug into the plane’s onboard system to watch movies or listen to music. Both types of headphones are an excellent option.

Even after hours of sleeping with the Bose headphone, you may find they are so comfortable that they do not hurt your ears.

Travel Tips #15 – Travel With a Portable Charger

Always keep a CHARGED Portable Charger[affiliate] in your backpack or travel bag for charging devices. You’ll be surprised at how often you will use one as your travel. Be sure to pack the necessary charging cable as well.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Travel Tips to Build Your Travel Confidence

If you are new to the world of business travel, these are great travel tips to begin establishing travel patterns and routines. Even if you have been a road warrior for awhile, you might just find a new idea to make your packing and travel experience go more smoothly.

These travel tips are just as applicable to those seeking personal travel experiences and want to build their confidence. The more you travel, the more you will be able to streamline your experience.

As the world returns to having more frequent travelers, face masks and hand sanitizer will be necessary must-haves.

What are your travel tips, tricks, and pieces of wisdom?

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David N Brace
1 year ago

Nice piece! It’s so important to plan before we begin the actual travel processes of packing and getting going. Planning leads to making sure things aren’t missed or skipped and gives us the time to make changes as things come up.

Jenn
4 months ago

As a frequent traveler myself, I totally agree with these tips! I keep a toiletries kit stocked separately from my regular at-home toiletries, so I never have to hunt for the correct sized items. Also the collapsible water bottle is brilliant – love mine!

Chantelle
Chantelle
4 months ago

Great tips! I am still working on my packing, I have such a hard time sticking to a carry on bag. Applying for Global Entry is such a good way to save time!

kmf
4 months ago

These are great travel tips for the frequent traveler. And love your recommended travel products.

Chelsea
3 months ago

All of these are sooooo trueee. Especially the part about luggage. The less you have the better/faster your security check experience will be.

Kaybee Lives
3 months ago

I love this! i have noticed that I am a more confident person when I have returned from traveling. I think the “new things” and being brave exploring unfamiliar areas, especially by myself really helps my confidence. Thanks for sharing!

Andrea
Andrea
3 months ago

Nice!!

Adriane
3 months ago

TSA Precheck is one of the best things we ever did. It is so nice to not have to deal with full security with young kids.

Linda (LD Holland)
2 months ago

These are some great tips for helping people feel more confident. I too would have started with one about time. When I am rushed, all of my normal discipline falls away as does my mood. Even with all of my travel we still have not learned how to pack light. So it is a good thing we have good luggage that can take the wear and tear! I would also add another point about taking a portable charger. Customs can make you turn on your electronics and you would hate to lose them from a dead battery!

Shelly
2 months ago

Such great tips, as there’s so much to learn about travel along the way to become a smarter traveler.

Elyse
2 months ago

These are such great tips. Especially when it comes to packing and having good luggage… so important

Liz
2 months ago

All of these tips are spot on! I love that you say it’s a skill to not spend a lot of time waiting at the airport. It’s so true. Thanks for sharing.

Walk Along With Us
2 months ago

Great advice! I always love reading recomendations like these! As much as we travel I am always looking for ideas to help the stress level. My packing is where I need the most help still. I agree 100% on having good quality luggage, the last thing you want is your luggage falling apart while you are traveling. Thanks for sharing!

Josy A
2 months ago

Great tips of making travel easier and more stress free Jolayne. I feel like the confidence part just comes from traveling enough times to find your own groove that works for you…but you can fake confidence with all this planning, until you actually *feel* confident.

Polly
2 months ago

Love all of these tips! I also like to travel with just a carry-on but I almost always have everything that I need, but I am always so worried that I am forgetting something. It can definitely be a stressful time even if you have done lots of it!

Krista
2 months ago

Great tips you’ve mentioned here. I own so many extra cables because I always forget one and have to buy another while I’m away. I’ve invested in a portable charger now which I would highly recommend!

Millette
2 months ago

Love all of these tips and I couldn’t agree with you more on investing in quality luggage, especially a versatile backpack! My favorite backpack is the Tortuga backpack (after many years and many bags tried)! Will share this with friends who ask what are the best tips for traveling 🙂

Medha Verma
2 months ago

As much as I agree with your tip of travelling light with minimal luggage/ backpack, I think it also depends where you’re going and how long your trip is for. My last trip to Finland required me to carry winterwear which just did not fit in a backpack! Having said that, I think all your tips are very uselful and many things just come to you from experience (like carrying portable chargers, travel adaptors, etc).

Melanie Newdick
7 days ago

I really like the self care tips. As someone who travels mainly for work purposes this is often something I forget to to and before I know it I am getting tired or run down. When I look back on business travel trips that have been memorable they are ones where I have made some time to do something I enjoy, rather than just non stop working. Your piece is a great reminder to try harder to do that so I am going to search out things I might want to do when working in Shetland later this month. Thanks for the tip 🙂