This NY Times article has outstanding cradle-to-grave travel advice. Some of these recommendations are a little too George Cloonely ala “Up in the Air” (there is a great Zach Galifianakis cameo in that movie) for me, but here are some of my favorites:
- Tripit. Every email confirmation you receive, forward it directly to trip it and they build a consolidated itinerary. Sharing with multiple travelers is an option as well. The iPhone app is great and stores your trip offline as well.
- Wikitravel. Great site, but wi-fi and cellular are not quite ubiquitous, so WikiTravel is good for pre-trip research, but I still like taking the guide-book (on the Kindle).
- Pack light. This is probably the best recommendation in the article. Packing light makes the trip more enjoyable because you are less encumbered (unless you have a bag of holding +1). With dry fit clothing, two pairs of under garments will last a long time, assuming they are regularly washed.
- Netbooks. Not only is a netbook probably smaller than your other computer, but you should travel with minimal data, since the US has consistently ruled in the favor of warrantless searches at the border. Thank you HOPE#9.
- Arrive at the airport five hours early. The security lines are unpredictable and when I try to cut it too close, it’s stressful. So lately, I’ve been going early (not 5 hours early) and I read and otherwise thoroughly enjoy the wait.
- X-ray screening. First of all, the back-scatter machines don’t increase security, are expensive and the screening procedure is invasive. Anyway, there is an art to going through the screen efficiently. The key is to grab all the bins that you need at once. Three if you have a laptop, two if you don’t. Shoes/belt/wallet in one, laptop/electronics/deadly 3 oz containers in two, everything else in three. If you grab one tray at a time it makes it awkward for the traveler behind you.
If you are an over-packer like I used to be, buy smaller luggage 🙂