When you’re hovering by your gate at one of the most frustrating airports in the US, holiday travel can seem more tedious than fun.
For that reason, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to make it go smoothly — like, for instance, packing the perfect carry-on.
Even if your luggage isn’t lost (fingers crossed), you’ll no doubt be glad to have a fully-stocked bag on hand at all times.
At the very least, it will spare you the expense of having to buy temporary replacements while your sweater/snacks/toothbrush idle in the bowels of an aeroplane.
As far as what should go in said bag, we asked experts and scoured the web to figure out what you’ll need by your side.
This post was originally written by Mandi Woodruff.
Unless you're interested in shelling out up to $US12 to use airport WiFi, it's a good idea to invest in a WiFi hotspot of your own.
With its slim, credit card-sized package and simple access to 4G networks, personal MiFi hotspots like the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE MiFi are a personal favourite of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer and David Rush, cofounder and CEO of Earshot.
'It is a huge time-saver because you always know you can stay connected regardless of your location,' Rush told Business Insider.
'My number one tip is to invest in a water bottle with a filter,' said Talia Salem, a communications rep for PlanetWildlife. 'I have taken this all over the world and it has saved me hundreds of dollars.'
They remove 99.99% of tap water contaminants and can save up to 600 plastic bottles over their lifetime.
The frequent travellers we spoke to raved about the time they have saved since becoming a US Trusted Traveller.
In a nutshell, the program ($US100 to sign up for five years) is offered through US Customs and Border Protection and gives pre-screened fliers the chance to bypass regular security lines in the US and Canada.
'Nothing beats flying into Dulles on a Friday night and walking through customs and out the door with only a 30 second stop at the Global Entry kiosk,' said Peter Kane, a communications manager for AirPlus International, Inc. 'I've actually high-fived fellow Global Entry travellers as we left customs behind.'
The $US6 billion that US airlines reeled in last year from travel fees alone should be enough to encourage frequent travellers to leave their luggage at home.
'The best investment a cost-conscious business traveller can make is a durable carry on suitcase with wheels that conforms to TSA carry-on size requirements,' said Pete Meyers of budget travel site EuroCheapo.com.
Its savings aren't restricted to those flying on business. 'Travellers can easily save $US50 to $US100 per trip segment due to the outrageous cost of checked baggage,' he says.
If you're looking for some ideas, you can get a good carry-on for as as little as $US30 on Amazon. Just make sure to check the dimensions before clicking 'buy.'
In the three years Amy Lee spent travelling as a management consultant, the now senior travel analyst for TravelNerd said she never left for a flight without a pocket-sized toothbrush in her bag.
'Colgate Wisp is perfect for that 6 a.m. flight -- post coffee drinking,' she said. '(It) freshens up your breath and cleans teeth without having to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste.'
She's also a proponent of facial wipes, which are a quick way to freshen up if you've got to book it from the airport to a meeting.
No one expects frequent fliers to recover from a red-eye without a kick of caffeine, but that doesn't have to mean shelling out $US5 and waiting in endless lines.
Lee is a huge fan of Starbucks Instant Coffee packets and just about every big coffee brand has their own version of insta-java on grocery store shelves.
Keep a travel mug on hand, and you can easily fill up with a free cup of hot water from just about any airport eatery.
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