7 Pack Hacks & Secrets to Traveling Efficiently

By | August 31, 2016 |
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Young woman pulling luggage at the airportSuccessful business travelers whiz through the airport as if they were on wheels. They know how to pick the right shoes, to (under) pack a suitcase and to float through lines, letting nothing get in the way of a smooth travel experience. Can it be that simple? Here are 7 pack hacks from the pro’s for traveling for business with utmost efficiency:

Choose the Right Suitcase

Check with your preferred airline to find out the largest dimension carry-on allowed and never check bags. Invest in a quality luggage and/or a laptop bag. Successful business travelers never struggle to lug their belongings, or arrive with a backache.“The larger carry-on luggage should have four, 360 degree wheels to get through the airport quickly. The laptop bag should allow easy access to your laptop/tablet,” says Kristina Portillo, founder of Business Travel Life, a resource for business travelers.

Pack for the Long-Haul

Couple and dog ready to go outZooming through three miles of airport on foot is easier and faster if you’ve packed appropriately. Savvy business travelers know all the hacks: Roll clothes instead of folding to fit more, color coordinate so that all clothes can be mixed and matched, pair down toiletries to the essentials— since your hotel will have shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer. Streamline clothing items to three of each: pants, shirts, socks.

Try a few packing cubes— the ultra-light, soft luggage compartments that fit in your luggage and allow you to pack more in less space. “If you travel frequently for business you can keep these packing cubes pre-packed so all you need to do is throw them in your suitcase,” says Tae Lee, CEO and founder of trip planning tool TRAVO.

Speed through Airport with VIP Services

Services like TSP Pre-check and applications like Global Entry allow you to move quickly through the worst aspects of air travel — the security lines. For $85 for a five-year membership, you can whiz through security with Pre-check. Global entry, $100, lets you speed through Customs when you return from abroad.

“Since I live in Los Angeles, I fly out of LAX a lot, which is a nightmare. Having Pre-check saves me time, and I don’t need to take off my shoes,” says Daisy Jing, the 27-year old founder of beauty line Banish and a frequent traveler.

Another app, Clear, is a service that lets you skip the line at select airports and may be well worth the $179 annual fee. Try MiFlight to see security wait times before you get to the airport. Some airports, such as Denver International airport, also show security wait times on their websites.

Know How to Work the Security Line

Never get in line behind families with small children if you can help it. For men, take off your jacket and belt and empty your pants pockets into jacket pockets. Untie shoes in advance. Pick two bins and place your jacket and shoes in one, electronics in another. Always put your carry-on on the conveyor last so when it comes through you know you have all your belongings.

Open an Airline Credit Card

Most airlines cards come with certain perks to improve your airport experience; this is especially important if you have yet to rack up enough miles to get preferred status. “An airline credit card provides priority boarding and is worth the annual cost if you fly regularly and want to get overhead space,” says Susanne Wolko, who blogs as Philatravelgirl.

Board Like a Pro

Don’t be that person who finds their seat and then holds up the boarding line by digging through bags for snacks, books and everything they need for the flight. Instead, organize your things, so you quickly lift out everything you need from a zipper side compartment of your luggage, including book, tablet, paperwork and snack.

Opt for seats at the front of the plane to make exiting more timely. “Try to reserve a window seat so you can rest your head on the side of the plane,” says Greg Geronemus, the co-CEO of smarTours. “It’s easier than trying to fall asleep on a neck pillow while basically sitting upright. Also, you can control your light exposure. I use either a blanket or a pillow as a cushion.”

Plan for Delays

Even the savviest of business travelers experiences the occasional weather or mechanical delay. Outsmart everyone by storing your airline’s customer service number in your phone. If a flight is cancelled or delayed, you can jump to the front of the queue by calling customer service rather than wait in line with the other 200 passengers needing to be rescheduled. You’ll be up in the air again in no time.