Ella’s Travel Tips


Graphic made by Ella Thomas

As a student who travels frequently for sports, flying is always on my mind. I want to make my trips as smooth and efficient as possible so when I come back to school I am not behind. There have been many times where after a trip I come back slightly sick or exhausted, making the transition back to school the next day even harder. Here are nine of the best travel tips from a student who feels like she spends more time on a plane than at home.


Pack Outfits, Not Clothes

One of my most common struggles leading up to a trip is finding the time and motivation to pack. The quickest fix to this starts with the planning process where I always pack outfits instead of packing clothes. This means I pack one full outfit for each day of my trip. 


Pack Extra Space For Things You May Buy

There is nothing worse than the moment at the end of a trip when you are jumping on your suitcase in the airport to get it closed. I could give you a million tips on how to most efficiently fold a shirt but at the end of the day, the easiest way to ensure everything fits in the suitcase at the end of the trip is to pack extra space. As an avid shopper, I struggle to make it through a trip without finding myself in a boutique or outlet store. Some of my favorite clothes come from these moments but the embarrassment of smushing them in random pockets tarnishes the memory. For this reason, I highly recommend leaving room for souvenirs for your return home.


The Power of a Good Backpack

My all-time carry-on of choice is a backpack. As a teenager, I don’t carry a purse but I still like to have space for my snacks and personal belongings. A backpack does a perfect job of this. Not just any backpack can do the important job of carrying the necessities. Too big of a backpack won’t fit in a carry-on spot and too small of a backpack will be bursting at the seams. My backpack of choice is the Kånken backpack from Fjällräven. The original Kånken is only $80 but there are also upgraded versions available if you have a large computer or want limited edition colors.


Pack Universal Clothing

Yet another hack to save space in your suitcase is to pack universal clothing. For example, a pair of jeans can be worn for two outfits but a pair of bright orange leather pants are harder to match and can only be worn so often. Therefore, make sure to find clothes that can work for multiple situations or days on your trip.


If You Fly Often, Invest in TSA PreCheck

TSA precheck is the easiest way to shorten time and anxiety in the airport. The PreCheck program grants access to the PreCheck security where lines are shorter and easier to go through. In PreCheck, there is no need to remove shoes or take laptops out of bags. The qualification process involves an online application and an in-person appointment for a background check and fingerprinting.


To Avoid Getting Sick Pack Nuun Hydration Tablets or Liquid IV    

No matter how well I feel before I fly, I always feel somewhat sick when I land. Flying is exhausting, and even when wearing a mask, it is easy to get exposed to viruses. An easy fix that I use every time is drinking lots of water and adding Nuun Hydration tablets or Liquid IV to my water. Both options are packed with electrolytes to boost your immune system and taste great, not to mention Nuun makes a caffeinated version perfect for a morning boost. My personal favorite is the grape flavor from Nuun.


Boarding Passes

Some airlines offer digital boarding passes that can be added to the Apple wallet on any Apple phone. With this feature the boarding pass is accessible from the lock screen of the phone for quick and easy access. Nonetheless, I still recommend having a paper boarding pass. Phones can die or stop working, so it’s a good idea to have a paper copy as a backup.


Know Your Connections 

There is nothing worse than running from one gate to another to make a connecting flight. It is important to know all the details of a connection flight before landing. For example, know when the next gate is. Is it in a different terminal? How far away is the other terminal? Is there a train? The most obvious thing to know is how much time is in between the flights. Also keep in mind that the flight time is when the plane takes off, boarding is earlier and usually takes place 30 minutes prior.


Have a Plan For When You Land

After spending hours traveling the last thing I want to do is spend more time in the airport. That’s why I always have a firm plan for once I land. If I think I will be hungry I find a restaurant to eat at ahead time or if I think I will be tired I have the direction to the hotel saved. 


In the end, no trip will be seamless. Flights get delayed, people get sick and people get tired. My goal is to make the flying portion of travel run smoother, for the sake of vacations everywhere.