Barbara Hemphill

Article Summary:

A series of travel tips that will make your next trip a breeze.

Travel Tips: How to Make Any Trip Easier

If travel leaves you frazzled, maybe it’s time for an attitude check! Some things will undoubtedly not go the way you planned – but if you pay attention, it’s easy to enjoy things you didn’t even plan for.

One way to minimize the frustration and maximize the pleasure is through good planning. As someone who spends 80% of my time on the road, here are some tricks of the trade I’ve learned.


Choose your luggage carefully.
Some is heavy before you even start packing. Lifting a roller bag over your head after you’ve packed it can require a weight lifter. (Consider putting your laptop or heavy books in an outside pocket that you can take out before you put it in the overhead.)

What to pack in your carry-on bag (not to exceed 22x14x10 for most domestic airlines)
Camera & film
Extra glasses
Address book
Valuable jewelry
Change of underwear
Reading material
Basic toiletries/make-up
Wallet with cash & minimum number of credit/ATM cards

We often hear "less is more" – and certainly that is the case when you’re on the road. According to Consumer Reports 8% of passengers who check luggage report something lost or stolen, so if you can’t afford to lose it, don’t check it.

If looking good when you get there is important, wearing something that travels well and is still suitable for the occasion will save valuable luggage space, and if bag is lost, you can go "as is."


  • Exercise clothing? (equipment) If you’re going to be in the same hotel for several days, consider sending ahead bulky items, such as exercise clothes or reading material, to arrive before you do. (If you require a signature on the recipient end, you can easily trace the package when you arrive if necessary.)
  • Choose clothes with lots of flexibility – for example, flattering slacks to wear with a casual sweater during the day or a dressy jacket for evening.
  • Clothing that can be layered for warmth
  • Dark clothing won’t show spots and can be worn longer
  • Pick one basic color and choose everything else to match
  • Put clothes in drycleaning bag to minimize wrinkles
  • Hang in hotel show room to steam out wrinkles
  • Roll up socks and underwear and tuck into corners or in shoes
  • Get travel sizes of toiletry items: Carry them in a hanging bag with clear plastic dividers so you can see in a moment’s notice what’s missing. If you travel frequently, always keep this bag packed and ready to go.

The most important thing to take when you travel is a good attitude. Spend less time fretting about the frustrations, and more time enjoying the opportunities, such as a time to read without interruption or a fabulous meal at a local restaurant. Keep your sense of humor and enjoy yourself.

Rental Cars

  • Rent same color everytime (white is easy to see) – put something in rear window for identification, such as one of your business brochures)
  • Go to the rental car counter before picking up bags (consider frequent traveler rental programs)
  • Find a type of car you like and stick with it. Innocuous looking is best, as it’s less likely to attract attention of theives; on the other hand, a sporty convertible may make life more fun.
For foreign travel:
  • Passport
  • Extra film
  • Traveler’s checks
  • A little local currency
  • Make copies of your tickets, passport — ID page & visa pages, credit cards, itinerary, prescriptions. Pack one in your suitcase and leave one with a friend.
Dealing with Jetlag
  • Abstain from alcohol and drink lots of water instead
  • When you buckle up, set watch to local time at arrival destination
  • Stretch frequently to increase circulation d reduce muscle stiffness
  • Maintain a good diet
  • Relax – shower/swim/walk
Items you may want to take on any trip
  • First Aid Guide
  • Spot Remover
  • White soap/toothbrush
  • Dental Floss – good for tieing!
  • Film Holders are leak proof
  • Twisty tie – for replacing buttons
  • Scotch tape – hem, lint remover
  • If you like to sleep in dark room, take clip (potato chip or binder clip) for holding curtains together.
  • Water bottle for flight(its a trade-off: weight versus comfort)

Dealing with Airlines:

  • Getting seat you want: no window or aisle seats open, ask the ticket agent for a middle seat between two passengers with the same last name. Couples often book aisle and window, hopin that center will go unclaims, and they’ll trade.
  • Any flight delay entitles you to a refund, even on a nonrefundable ticket.
  • Airline won’t provide hotel – ask hotel for "distressed traveler rate."
  • No room at the inn? Ask gate agent for airline pillows and blankets. (Join frequent traveler club – charged it to my client as hotel room!)
  • According to latest statistics, 99.5) of checked bags get to right airport at right time. Of the .5 percent classified as "mishandled", 8 out of 10 are returned to their owners within 24 hours. (Always put identification INSIDE bag in case outside tags are torn off.)
  • Mantra: "May I speak to your supervisor?"
Traveling with your PC?
  • Hide your PC in a bag that doesn’t resemble a laptop carrying case.
  • Never keep passwords or access phone number on the machine or in the case.
  • In hotel rooms, use cable locks to attach to stationery furniture, or store in safe – be sure to log off!
  • Don’t check your laptop or store in overhead luggage compartment
  • Back up your data frequently, and store separately from your laptop.
  • Keep your laptop in view at all times when going through security.
  • Security always involves a trade-off between protection and convenience – how valuable is your information?
  • Back up data via the Web using services

The time to control travel is before you leave; when you’re on your way, flexibility is the key to survival!

Barbara Hemphill is the author of many books, including Kiplinger’s “Taming the Paper Tiger at Work,” “Taming the Paper Tiger at Home,” “Taming the Office Tiger,”and co-author of “Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever“. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. They do this by organizing space, information, and time. Barbara can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.Productive

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