Holiday Travel Survival Tips

The holidays. The bane of frequent travelers. The airport is overrun by those who lack with-it-ness or just plain common sense. This year, we decided to stay on the West Coast after seeing the expense for such a short trip, but will be taking a much longer trip in December. If you’re heading out of town for Thanksgiving, here’s a few holiday travel survival tips, even for those of you who travel regularly.

Holiday Travel Survival Tips

Get to the airport early. Usually, I get to the airport 20 minutes before my flight boards, but not during the holidays, even with TSA Precheck. Everyone and their mother (literally!) is traveling, which means more people at check-in counters and at security. You’re also traveling with people who move more slowly and might not know TSA’s policies on liquid limits or removing shoes and jackets.

Clearly mark your bag. I still can’t believe the number of people that remark on what a clever idea our bright luggage tags are. Since there are more people traveling, you could face having to gate check your bag, which means it goes to baggage claim. I’ve found this to be useful even with cabin baggage when someone mistakenly grabbed my bag out of the overhead bin. Our J.Crew luggage tags have lasted for several years now.

Pack a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. You’ll stay in your own little world, free from crying babies or overly chatty seatmates. I’ve been very happy with this pair. Don’t forget to check your battery’s strength before leaving, too. Check out my other travel essentials here, too.

Double-check that you have ID. Seriously. Last December, as we got off the train at SFO, I had the sickening realization that I had left my driver’s license in my gym bag. Fortunately, with some additional security screening, I was able to board my flight. If you ever find yourself in the situation of having no government-issued ID, immediately ask for the TSA supervisor on-duty. I was able to prove my identity to TSA by showing several credit cards, magazines that had my home address, and a prescription medication label.

Have patience. No matter what, you’re going to be aggravated while at the airport. Take a deep breath and relax. And consider hitting up the yoga room if there is one at your airport.

Taking a red eye? Check out my survival tips here!

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Bleisure Travel

I recently read this Fast Company article exploring how millennials approach business travel. The author writes

As they are less likely to have responsibilities at home, millennials can approach business travel as a lifestyle experience. In their position, why not hack a grueling travel plan to make it more enriching, rewarding, and—yes—pleasurable?

Enter what some in the travel industry are terming “bleisure” travel (to the dismayed groans of others). At first, “bleisure” only referred to business trips that were extended for pleasure. Now the word encompasses leisure experiences that are woven throughout a business trip.

I found myself checking off almost every point mentioned in the article: I frequently extend business trips for a long weekend (or find attractions to visit after work and at the very least, meticulously research where I’m eating); I’ll book a favorite hotel brand (if it’s cheaper) even if it means a longer commute; and prior to becoming an elite flyer, I always bought flight upgrades on my own dime.

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Starting a Souvenir Collection

When I’m traveling, I rarely pick up souvenirs, to keep or give away. Usually, I take a plethora of pictures and then order and frame my favorite as a means of documenting our travels. However, I love the idea of starting a souvenir collection with a theme. Here’s a few ideas I’m considering.

Silver Trays

souvenir collection ideas
An antiqued silver collection | Source

Like in the photograph, I like the idea of displaying antiqued silver trays on our dining room wall. The metal would definitely set off airport metal detectors though…

Antique Trophies

souvenir collection
Trophy collection | Source

Antique trophies could make for a neat souvenir collection. I imagine other countries have some unique awards. Finding a trophy in every city could be tricky though…


souvenir collection
Plate collection | Source

I’ve had this Pinterest image saved for a least two years now and I think it would look beautiful in our dining room. That being said, I think you’d have to buy two plates in each locale in case one broke in transit…

Brass Animals

souvenir collection
Brass animal collection | Source

As an animal lover, I love the idea of collecting brass animals and if I could find animals that are vaguely mid-century, all the better. Again, this souvenir could result in some extra security screening…


Textile collection | Source
Textile collection | Source

A textile collection might be the most logical option. Textiles are fairly easy to find and many locales have a textile they are known for (e.g., lace in Belgium, kilim rugs in Turkey). It would also be flexible in that you could pick up throw pillow covers for a bed, napkins for your dining room table, and so forth.

Do you have a travel souvenir collection? What do you collect?

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Choosing a Carry-on

After a few years of alternating between this Samsonite and this Hartmann, I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to get a new carry-on suitcase. Since I’m frequently traveling for work, I can’t rely on having my husband there to heave a larger carry-on into the overhead bin for me.

When evaluating options, I prioritized overall size and weight: I wanted to downsize in both categories. And I wanted to try a hard-top suitcase.

I ended up purchasing the American Tourister Duralite 20″ 360 Spinner in black. As you can see below, it’s significantly smaller than the Samsonite I usually travel with. The American Tourister is 20″ x 8″ x 14″.

Carry-on Comparison: American Tourister vs. Samsonite

Other things I like? It’s less than 6 lbs. versus the Samsonite which is about 7.5 lbs. It also has 360-degree spinners, which I love for quick and easy maneuvering. It’s surprisingly deep, too, with several interior pockets.

I’ve started packing for my upcoming trip and so far, it seems like all of my items will fit easily and at the very least, it’ll make the boarding process just a little easier.


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