Travelling can be fun but it can also be very stressful, especially if your are short on time. Use these 6 tips to reduce travel day madness and get your vacation or business trip off on the right track.

1. Travel off peak. Setting the stage for a stress free travel day starts when you book the flight. Look for flights that do not have you competing with rush hour traffic or business travelers. Try for a mid-day or mid-week flight when there are fewer departures. Avoid flying on Fridays and any day that is immediately before a holiday. This will help with shorter lines at the check-in counter and at security.  

2. Pack early. Avoid last minute packing. Three days out (or more) pack your bag. Make a list of exactly what you packed and place it in your luggage. Make a second list of what you did not pack. Keep this in your bag as well. Do this for each piece of luggage.

We all have last minute additions such as cell phone chargers, bathroom totes or an e-reader. These items go on the second "pack last list". To keep the second list short list, I have found that it is best to have a travel only bathroom tote and cell phone charger.

For your carry-on bag ensure that any items you may need to pull out at security are immediately accessible and not buried. Avoid checking bag if you can to skip the line. 

3. Check in online. As soon as your airline will allow, check in online and print your boarding passes. Make a note of any changes in departure times or delays. I print my boarding passes and put them in my carry-on. I also download a boarding pass to my smart phone. This is my favored means of carrying travel documents. 

4. Be well rested. Get a full night sleep before traveling. You need to be mentally alert on the day you fly. Tired travelers often make mistakes, such as misplacing boarding passes, missing the exit to the airport auto-park or going through a security check at the wrong terminal. 

5. Prepare for navigating security. Because your are travelling off peak, the line should be short. Your electronics and bathroom tote should be easily accessible. Any liquids or gels are in a clear bag. Wear shoes that you can take off and on quickly. Avoid boots or shoes with lots of buckles or straps. Watches, belts and jewelry will need to come off for the scanner. I prefer to keep most of these items in my carry-on until I am through the security check.

6. Pack a snack. Do not fly hungry. Hunger will elevate the level of stress you may be feeling. Pack a snack and remain well hydrated. Do not pass up an opportunity to drink water on the aircraft. Be mindful of the salty snacks served on board.

These six tips, along with arriving at the airport two hours before your flight time will help you have a stress-free start to your leisure or business trip. 

Good Travels!

Pack an E-Reader!

When space is premium, leave the paper books at home.

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