Travel is exciting, rewarding and yet not an easy task. Luckily for you, we’re here to help smooth your ride. CNET editors are a well-traveled lot and we’ve learned quite a bit in our quest to bring you the latest tech news and reviews.
We’ve gone coast to coast, city to city and continent to continent. This guide compiles the hacks we’ve learned along the way and that we now swear by. They work for us, and hopefully they will for you too.
Pack like a pro
Packing luggage is an art, but one that pays dividends. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll travel light and relaxed, and look great doing it.
Add the roll to your stroll
Don’t just. Merely folding isn’t the way to go either. You must learn the roll. The basic technique is to roll individual items (shirts, pants, etc.) into tight logs. Then you can pack them in lengthwise (from left to right) into your suitcase. Don’t be afraid to stack them in multiple layers either.
Giving each garment a fold before rolling, as you would normally, works even better. You’d be surprised how well items remain wrinkle-free, just by adding that step. If your suitcase is still too cramped, try this advanced technique.
Roll everything in a continuous strip, then into one big cylinder. For example, when you’ve got a shirt mostly rolled up, overlap some pants over the trailing edge and keep rolling. Keep layering until you have a cylinder that fits into your luggage, and start a new one with additional clothing.
Go in style
Instead of packing your favorite dress wear (blazers, suits, dresses, slacks), consider wearing them during your travels. If you don’t have a garment bag, it’s a better alternative to bouncing around inside your baggage.
When you are repacking, keep your dirty clothes inside out. That way you can sort through your clean and dirty clothes more easily when you return. Oh and pack an extra plastic bag or two to isolate your dirty socks and underwear in your luggage.
The Zen of air travel
The backup bag
Carry a scrunchable nylon tote bag for an emergency carry-on luggage. It’ll come in handy for quick trips to foreign supermarkets too, and when the airline says your carry-on bag is too heavy.
Multiply your power
Bring along a plug splitter (power strip) too. You never know if you’ll need more outlets for phones, laptops, and other gadgets. Likewise, toss an ethernet networking cable in your bag for when the wired connection at your hotel is much more stable than the Wi-Fi.
Isolate yourself if you need to
Consider getting a pair of. If that’s too pricey, earplugs are a cheap alternative to keep the engine roar at bay.
Don’t be afraid of signaling to other people when you’re not feeling chatty. And keep your lids peeled for those eye covers flight attendants hand out. They really do help you sleep a little better.
Don’t waste time, money or plastic by buying bottled water at the airport. Carry a reusable water bottle. Once you’ve cleared security, fill it at a fountain inside the terminal.
Pick a great seat
Your seat is the key to a great flight. For short hops you can always suffer through it, but it’s critical to choose wisely on a flight longer than two hours. No one wants to be stuck in a middle seat or be separated from their spouse.
A site like SeatGuru is a good place to start. It reviews the seating plans for all aircraft types of the world’s major airlines. Find out how close you’ll be to a galley or lavatory (where passengers and crew tend to gather). Other key details are there, too, including, size, dimensions and legroom, plus whether that row has a window (or not).
Opt for the bulkhead or exit row if you can (some airlines save those for flyers with status) as you typically get more legroom. However, there are downsides to those seats. They may not recline, and the armrests may be immovable (tray tables inside). Often, you can’t stow anything on the floor in front of you (due to safety reasons).
Get to the airport early
It pays to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Even if you’re not a nervous flyer, you’ll enjoy the process better. Sit, relax and read, or even just stare out the window. Air travel can be a burden, but there’s great wonder in it too. Remember that it’s amazing we can do it all.
Have papers at the ready
When traveling, you often need to access to vital documents at a moments notice.
Make sure to upload photos of all important documents to the cloud (Google Photos, etc.). Examples include passports, insurance cards, even credit cards.
Snap screenshots of electronic boarding passes, too. That way they’ll live on your phone, regardless of local cellular service or network connection. Another method is to save documents as PDF files, then push them to Dropbox or other sync services.
And if you’re traveling to a conference, take a picture of your business card before you leave. That way you’ll always have it handy for if you run out.
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