Since logging many miles in the friendly skies, I've got the packing and travel hacks down pat. From living in a carry on suitcase (I don't even own anything larger) to packing healthy food, my years of travel R&D: proven and effective.
PACKING YOUR BAGS
1. To save space in your luggage, wear your heaviest things on the plane - like bulky shoes, jackets, and sweaters. For my latest trip to South America, I was traveling to a city, wilderness, and beach scene. While planning ahead, I wore my "wilderness" outfit on the plane (sweater, pants, shoes) while packing the smaller items and beauty products in my carry on luggage.
2. Use the extra layers for "protection" on the airplane. Have you ever unpacked an airplane pillow to find drool and hairs, that aren't yours, on them? I always cover the pillows with a sweater or scarf before touching it. Gross!
3. Roll your clothing so it doesn't wrinkle. This also keeps things really organized in your suitcase, so you can spot an item quickly.
5. Pack in black and neutral color coordinates - while adding color with accessories.
6. Always reevaluate your packing before your trip, leave some space by taking a few things out you "think" you might wear, but know you won't. I always edit my luggage. I often get over zealous packing thinking I will wear my fabulous vintage turban and sexy honeymoon bikini, and never do. Taking those items out leaves room for shopping while away!
PACKING YOUR "PERSONAL ITEM" AKA REALLY ROOMY HANDBAG
1. Again, always have a scarf for covering up. It will come in handy not only on the airplane when they are blasting the A/C for protection, but also can be used to cover a gross reused airplane pillow.
2. Bring a pleasant smelling spray for face, body, AND mind. I use this to keep my skin hydrated and to mask any "smells" that happen in flight.
3. Keep your chargers in your carry on bags. The worst is losing luggage with chargers, or waiting for luggage. It's a great time to charge your devices! Some airplanes now even have inflight charging situations if you get lucky and sit in an exit row.
4. Eliminate bag clutter and be eco friendly by downloading the Kindle App for books and iMags for your iPad. It also is a great way to hide the embarrassing "self help" or "50 Shades of Grey" books you are catching up on.
5. ALWAYS bring your own food and snacks. Airport food is disgusting and full of bad fats, unnecessary sugars, and salt. I pack my own nuts, lemon slices, and lately have been making faux sandwiches with collard greens or coconut meat as a bread substitute.
6. Visit your favorite beauty counter or your hoarded stash of beauty samples, stash them in a small case or plastic bag for the plane. The perfect time to try out that little deluxe sample of moisturizer is on the airplane. Keep your face hydrated, save space in your bag, and declutter your bathroom at the same time!
7. Bring a pair of headphones or ear plugs, wear 100% of the time so people don't bug you. I almost always have a drunk guy sitting next to me on the plane who wants to tell me how awesome they are.
1. Buy a ginormous bottle of water. Air travel not only dehydrates you but carriers are notorious for underserving fluids, unless you are traveling in first class. Drink up even if you aren't thirsty, you will thank me when you land and feel hydrated and not jet lagged. It seems like a no brainer but even I forget to get the water and kick myself when I'm so parched and have a headache post flight.
2. Try to eat your food at the airport and not on the plane. I met a dietician long ago who told me to NEVER eat food or drinking anything but lemon water on the plane as food sits in your digestive system and that if you fast, it will help kick jet lag. If you have to eat something, just avoid carbonated beverages (they cause gas and make you have to frequently go to the loo) and anything too salty to avoid inflammation once back on the ground.
3. If long security lines are holding you up and giving you a heart attack and fear of missing a flight, act like a crazy person and jump the line. TSA people are too busy worried about other important things.
4. Apply for TSA Pre and Global Entry if you are a international frequent flier. It's really easy to apply! The benefit avoiding long lines at security and passport control when returning home (has anyone ever waited 2 hours at Heathrow?!) and the hassle of removing shoes, computers, and clothing while going through security! It's seriously a game changer.