Many thanks to CLEAR for sponsoring today’s post about travel tips and for inspiring me to enroll for a better travel experience! All thoughts and tips are my own.
I love to travel.
But let me clarify. I love the destination. I love getting away from the everyday routine. I love seeing new sites and experiencing new things.
But I’m honestly not all that fond of the ACTUAL travel part, at least when it comes to flying. Most of my flights that require a plane trip are to the opposite side of the country, which means long waits, long flights, and altogether long days….
I’m not complaining. I would rather take the trips and endure a day of oh-I-feel-horrible and I-got-2-hours-of-sleep-before-heading-to-the-airport and how-long-is-this-security-line-going-to-take-already?? in order to have the experience that each new trip affords. I’m no expert by any means, but I have certainly learned a thing or two that have helped ease the “pain” of the travel day significantly. I discovered one of those things on my last flight to and from California.
I was approaching security at San Jose to head back to Baltimore and was initially confused by which line I should enter. The line to the right was full of waiting passengers holding their boarding passes and IDs (that was the “normal” line). The line in the middle was significantly shorter – a family of 5 had just walked in (that turned out to be the TSA precheck line). The line on the right was empty, inviting….NO WAIT. That was the CLEAR line.
My interest was peeked. What is CLEAR? (Interestingly, I was approached shortly after I got back to do this campaign with CLEAR….what amazing timing!). But I’ll have more on that later…
I headed to the line with EVERYONE else in it. Luckily, I had plenty of time to wait. And wait. Because that’s what you do in those lines.
Back to those tips I’ve discovered that make the travel day go as quickly and easily as possible. Here are 10 things to pack in your carry on bag for a pleasant day of travel.
10 Things Every Traveler Should Pack In Their Carry-On
THE ESSENTIALS: I’m sure it goes without saying that your carry on bag should include, at minimum, your phone, wallet, and ID and any medications you need to take on a daily basis.
EMPTY WATER BOTTLE. Since I can’t bring water through security, I like to bring an empty water bottle in my carry on bag and fill it up once I’m past security. Yes, I know I can free water and soda on the plane OR buy a water bottle in the airport, but when I can save a few bucks AND have an easier container for my drink (the lid comes in very handy so I can take a drink on my schedule throughout my flight (no tray table needed).
SNACKS. I always feel better after a long travel day when I can have some snacks on the plane (the peanuts and pretzels just don’t cut it for me). I usually have to miss a meal while I’m flying, so snacks carry me through til I land.
NON-ELECTRONIC READING/WRITING MATERIAL. Airlines have loosened up on their rules about using electronic devices on board, but it’s still rough to power down my devices during take off and landing and have nothing to do. I always carry a small spiral notebook and a pencil when I travel, and have come up with several of my favorite blog posts during long flights. But as an life-long lover of books, airplanes are one of my favorite places to get lost in a paperback novel. It’s a great excuse to read for hours and hours.
PORTABLE CHARGER FOR YOUR ELECTRONICS. Whenever I leave the house, my cell phone inevitably drains its battery faster. To avoid arriving at my destination with a dead battery, I like to travel with a portable charger (also, using my own portable charger helps me avoid needing to share the charging stations with a dozen other people at the gate).
LOTION AND LIP BALM. Flying always dries out my lips and my hands. To avoid having to take out another liquid at the security check point, I’ve started traveling with my homemade lotion bars, which serve as both lotion and lip balm. I just stick a bar in a small box/container (like an upcycled mint tin) and grab it whenever I need to sooth my skin.
LAYERED CLOTHES. Regardless of the time of year that I’m traveling, I always dress in layers, because I never know when I’ll be freezing cold or stuffy and hot during the travel day. I usually have periods of both. And if I don’t need my light jacket or sweater for warmth, then it can double as a neck pillow. Bonus! I also wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off (and comfy to walk in) and leave the big jewelry and belts off so that I don’t have a bunch of extra accessories to take off and put back on again for screening.
TABLET OR COMPUTER. Because I never really have a day off, even if I’m heading on vacation, I always travel with a laptop computer or a tablet. Lately, I’ve been traveling with both so that I can use my tablet for movies and entertainment features and get work done with a full keyboard and access to my website on my laptop. The last time I flew, I used my new Lumia 2520 tablet with a keyboard to do both at once. The split screen allowed me to watch TV on one side and type in Microsoft Word on the other side of the screen. It worked so well that the guy sitting next to me commented at the end of the flight that HE wanted one, too.
ANY ESSENTIALS YOU MUST HAVE WHEN YOU LAND. These may include a change of clothes, a tooth brush, wall charging plugs for those essential tech items that are in your bag, medicines for headaches, antacid, etc. While I rarely have a problem with lost luggage, I’ve had checked suitcases not show up on the flight…including the last time I flew!
CLEAR MEMBERSHIP CARD. This may just be the most important new item in my travel bag. Have you heard of CLEAR?
WHAT IS CLEAR? Here’s the run-down:
CLEAR is a membership-based service that allows travelers to get through airport security faster. A CLEAR membership costs $179 annually, or about $15 a month. You can add a spouse to your account for $50 and kids under 18 are free if they are traveling with a CLEAR member.
Where is CLEAR available? CLEAR is now open in 11 major airports with more opening very soon. Current airports with CLEAR lanes are San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), Las Vegas (LAS), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH & HOU), San Antonio (SAT), Dallas (DFW), Orlando (MCO), Baltimore (BWI), Westchester (HPN), and Miami (MIA) coming soon.
Bonus! CLEAR is now also expanding into select Major League Baseball parks around the country. CLEAR members and their families can now get into the game faster (with an expedited security screening process) with just a tap of their finger. More information coming soon!
How to become a member: To enroll in CLEAR, you must present either an US Passport or US issued Permanent Resident/Alien Registration Card PLUS an approved secondary ID (State Issued ID, Drivers License, Military ID, or Foreign Passport). All IDs must be valid, unamended, and unexpired. You must be at least 18 years old.
Ready to give CLEAR a try? You’re in luck! I’ve got a unique code for 2 FREE MONTHS of CLEAR! Just visit their site and enter code CLEAR2M29to get your FREE 2 month trial membership. Feel free to pass this special on to friends and family who are going to be traveling soon. You will love the CLEAR advantage when traveling!
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