While it is a myth that Thanksgiving is the business time of the year to travel in the United States (it’s actually several days over the summer), it still ranks high in the top 10. According to USA Today, three of the 10 busiest times to travel in the United States are coming up quickly: the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. All the more reason to be extra-prepared if you are traveling this holiday season! And even if you are staying put for the festivities, these tips from our expert travelers at Xplor, Inc. are worth keeping in mind all year long.
Packing Essentials For The Plane: Always, always, bring a spare change of clothes in your carry on, as well as any other essentials you might need if your bags are lost, such as medication. Put your toothbrush and toothpaste in an easy to access area so you can grab it shortly before the flight lands—it’s amazing how splashing your face with cool water and giving your teeth a scrub can make you feel like a new person as you step off the plane. It’s always handy to throw a canvas tote bag (such as a reusable grocery bag) into your luggage—it’s a small item to pack and you’ll be amazed at the uses you will find for it. Other favorite flight accessories are compression socks, lip balm, an e-reader, and comfortable headphones or earbuds.
Turkish Towels: Many people have not heard of Turkish towels, or have seen them but do not know what they are called. A Turkish towel is thin, soft, and made of cotton, and kind of looks like a large scarf. It usually has tassels on the ends, and its many uses including as a bath towel, scarf, blanket (such as on a plane), picnic blanket, saraong, and more. Because it is thin, a Turkish towel dries quickly and takes very little space to pack. For more about Turkish towels, visit this website.
Immune Boosters: We don’t go anywhere without our Emergen-C packets! Traveling means you will be in close contacts with lots of other people, and especially during the winter months, the germs are flying! You can give your body an immune boost by using products such as Emergen-C, which offers varied flavors, options for children, and even a combined sleep aid to help with jet lag; Airborne; and Zarbee’s Immune Support.
Beating The Lines: Global Entry (international arrivals) and TSA Pre-Check (domestic and international departing flights) are programs designed to speed the process of waiting in long lines at the airport. However, there’s a new kid on the block, and it’s pretty fabulous. So great, we almost don’t want to let the secret out! But for our loyal blog readers, of course we will. It’s called Mobile Passport Control, and it is an easy-to-use, free app on your phone for international arrivals. Currently, it is available at 24 airports and 1 cruise port (as of October 4, 2017).
Mobile Passport Control enables travelers to submit their passport and customs declaration information via their smartphone instead of the traditional paper form. A step-by-step explanation of the process is available on the website, but basically, you use the app to enter your arrival details, take a selfie, and answer the standard customs declaration questions. Once you submit the information, you receive a digital bar-coded receipt and proceed to the marked Mobile Passport Control area. Scan your bar code, show your passport to a customs officer, and you are on your way!
The Chores: Don’t forget about all the little details that need to be taken care of before you travel, especially if you are leaving the country. Alert your cell phone and credit card providers about your travels. Make a copy of your passport (and keep it separate from the original) and print out all confirmation and itinerary details. It is also helpful to forward to yourself any confirmation emails you may have received months ago, so relevant information is at the top of your emails without having to scroll and search for it.
All through October, we will be sharing travel-related hacks and tips to help your holiday travel season be as stress-free as possible, so check back next week!