Conference season is here!
Which means the starting buzzer is about to sound for everyone’s favorite game… “Traveling Without Having a Nervous Breakdown.”
I travel a lot less than I used to, by choice, but I do still have several weeks in a row coming up… so game on.
Here are a few of my favorite travel hacks for keeping life as normal as possible, my time as stress free, and work as productive as possible while amassing my Marriott points.
One of the first investments I made in my travel sanity was investing in really good luggage. I have a lot of Tumi because it holds up well, it’s as stylish as can be for luggage, and is easier on my back than anything else I’ve tried.
My favorite carry-on is this one because the hard side protects everything, the front pocket is fantastic for that last-minute stash item (without having to undo the whole thing) and it expands for those times I decide to take extra on the way there or back and check the bag instead.
The Tall One got it for me for our Anniversary last year because he knows keeping my travel sanity is paramount to our entire family’s wellness. (If Mamma is crazy, we all crazy.)
For a long time I fought the need for a backpack, but after too many times needing a heating pad for a bad back, I gave in. And have never regretted it. It’s so much easier to travel hands-free. Plus, the one I have from Tumi converts into a handbag when using the shoulder straps won’t do.
I am a member of the Clubs of the three major airlines I travel. It gives me a quiet workspace with great wi-fi guaranteed for every trip, clean bathrooms (ladies, you know what I mean with this one), and nice cup of tea or cold cocktail, depending on my mood, before I head out to my flight.
Delta added a great way to get started… a monthly membership program. (I wonder where they got that idea…)
I used to use a car service for pick-up at airports, loving the convenience of the driver at baggage claim. But after too many times of no driver there, cars that stank, and no-shows entirely, I’ve stopped using scheduled drivers at the airport. Instead Uber Black sends a luxury car to curbside even in airports where all other levels of Uber are far away for pick-up. No muss, no fuss, just a great ride ordered in real time from the app on my phone.
To keep my hydration up, my caffeine at levels required for living and snacks healthy, I rely on this delivery service to drop off my favorites right to my hotel room. I’ve tried many of them and this one is the best, by far.
TSA Pre-Check and Clear
Want to speed through security, akin to the romantic movies of years past when love needed to be professed right before the object of one’s affection took flight? You can get close, but scanners. Use TSA Precheck plus Clear to get through security the fastest. In super busy airports like L.A., Atlanta and Orlando, adding Clear to Pre-check can save you another 20 minutes… which for me can sometimes mean actually catching my flight. (Don’t judge.)
Give me hotel lounge access and I’m all yours.
I am a sucker for a hot cappuccino, a cold cocktail, and late check-out. Marriott gives me all three with my elite status. Recently they changed their name to Bonvoy with the combination of their program and Sheraton’s. Don’t love the name, but I do love the rewards they give and I stay fairly loyal for business and personal travel.
If you don’t have enough travel to get you there, you can bypass the line with Founders Card. Through it, you get Gold Status for a lot of brands like Marriott, Hilton, and Hertz. With that and the other discounts, like a free Clear Membership, discounts on shipping, rental car promo codes and more, it more than pays for itself.
VIP Bag Delivery
I’ve mentioned them before, but it’s worth repeating here.
This past holiday we traveled for two weeks with 8 bags. (Insert laugh track. Except it wasn’t funny.)
This service was ah-may-zing. They pick up your bags from baggage claim and deliver them to your final destination, allowing you to skip the wait and skip the schlep.
Fantastic for those times you arrive with a lot of bags or when you’re getting in super late and just want to hop in the Uber instead of waiting exhausted at baggage claim.
What’s your favorite travel hack? Let me know in the comments below.