I’ve always been a lover of process and habits, and as an avid traveler this is one thing I don’t take lightly. With these 12 ways to be a more efficient traveler, I hope you will be able to see a few ways to expedite the traveling process. There’s definitely a few shortcuts that can help make the journey a bit more efficient, whether it’s simple things like pre-booking transportation or organizing your packing process.
So here it is…
12 Ways to Be a More Efficient Traveler
1. Keep a pre-packed cosmetic case.
This is my go-to secret for expediting the process. I always keep on hand a pre-packed cosmetic bag that is TSA approved. So when it comes time to pack, there’s no need to fill up bottles for shampoo.
2. Sign-up for Global Entry.
Though TSA Pre is great, Global Entry is that much better and it includes TSA Pre. All it takes is one international trip to see how more efficient you can be when arriving and using Global Entry. My last trip, I timed myself with only a carry-on. From disembarking the plane to the door of my pick-up, it took a total of 7 minutes to get through passport control. *Did you know TSA has an app? Download the MyTSA App for real time updates.
3. Travel with only a carry-on.
I almost always only travel with a carry-on as it expedites the process of check-in and arrival. One bonus tip is to be sure you’re in the first few boarding groups so you don’t have to check your bag. A lot of airlines offer one of the first boarding groups at a small additional fee and I’ll take it when I am in the last group to avoid checking my bag.
4. Pack your suitcase with organization in mind.
Two years ago, I made the shift to using only packing cubes and they’ve changed my life. This set from Amazon is a personal favorite, and it keeps your suitcase organized. Nothing worst than having to dig for that one pair of jeans.
5. Travel with a hotspot.
Though many destinations offer internet, you can never be sure. I always have my T-Mobile number which gives me free data in most countries or I carry my Skyroam for internet access. (Use code BONTRAVELER for a discount on Skyroam).
6. Have the airline app downloaded.
Many airlines have their own app and offer real-time data. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten an update on a flight before it was available on the screen at the airport. I use it for updates and storing boarding passes as well.
7. Don’t skip the travel insurance.
I know I am repeating myself here but it’s a must. I always use World Nomads.
8. Always store copies of your documents both digitally and in hard copy.
This is something I recommend to all travelers — a hard copy of your passport and birth certificate and a digital-accessible version whether it’s on Dropbox or another service.
9. Pre-book your arrival transportation.
I use Mozio to book my transportations for almost every international destination. My reason being is that often I won’t have local currency to pay for a taxi and their rates are pre-paid online, include tip and are often the same if not less price that is set.
10. Use SeatGuru to confirm the best seat option for you.
Ever got to your seat and it doesn’t recline? Never do this again with SeatGuru and see their recommended seats.
11. Always reconfirm hotel and flight reservations.
Once I showed up for a hotel booking and somehow the hotel managed to lose my booking. Ever since I always do one last double check to avoid any hiccups.
12. Use LoungeBuddy to access lounges around the world.
This wonderful app let’s you purchase day passes for many airports. It’s my favorite splurge while traveling.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: