Summer has always been a popular time of year for travelers. Preparing for your trip should be done a few days prior, so you may alleviate some stress which comes with traveling, especially if you are flying the friendly skies. Today, flying has become one of the most stressful ways to travel, so making things a little easier is important. For those traveling by automobiles with children, there are ways to make your ride a little smoother as well. Starting with packing, learning ‘how-to’ pack appropriately for any type of trip takes practice, not to mention finding the right size luggage to use. The larger the suitcase, the more one packs; it took me a bit of time to realize this, and half of what I took I never wore. There are numerous tips for any kind of traveler today.

Starting with airline travelers, most of us realize by now that taking liquids such as shampoo and other toiletries need to be of certain size; 3oz or less in a clear container if packed in carry-on luggage, and for those taking electronics…taking light weight laptops can make the process easier, as you must have it out to comply with TSA rules. I recently purchased a smaller device for travel because there are always people pushing and shoving to get through security lines, and there’s nothing harder than trying to get a heavier (larger) laptop in and out of your luggage, not-to-mention lifting it for an overhead bin. This made my recent travel much better; lightening the load. Also, I downsized my carry-on luggage; being in the latter part of the boarding process can make it difficult for those taking the correct carry-on size to store. Airlines have plenty of hoarders these days; those that take multiple items on, stuffing over-sized bags in bins, including under seats and foods being crammed into seat backs. It’s not pleasant.

Packing luggage is almost like an art. One should utilize pockets and nettings your luggage might have; this will keep things organized inside. I recommend using travel bags because it enables you to keep clothing compressed neatly. Travel bags are sold in stores, but you can find them at discounted prices at Marshalls, TJ Max, Ross Stores and more. If you haven’t time to shop, using larger bags such as Zip lock works well. Keeping undergarments separate (in a bag) from other clothing helps in the packing process. If you pack clothes accordingly, such as swimwear and gear separately (in bag), shorts and tanks in another… you’d be amazed at how your luggage feels once it’s packed. All of this helps in lifting the load so-to-speak. Packing in an orderly fashion has made life easier for me when traveling, but took much practice.

Families traveling with children need some sort of entertainment, along with healthy snacks. You should avoid too many sweets, as kids get agitated more when having to remain still for longer periods of time. You can find snacks of sorts in discount retailers such as Big Lots and Dollar Trees. As for entertainment, parents should pull back on electronics and stick with items like coloring books, word puzzles and old-fashioned games. Interacting with one another is what makes memories, not everyone staring down into a cell phone or other electronic device. You can find an array of travel games at book stores (Barnes & Nobles), toy stores and again…some discount chains, like Half Price Books.

Traveling can be less stressful, so make sure you make yourself a checklist of items you can’t do without, such as medications. It’s important to begin the process (packing) days before you leave, so you can be sure you have everything on your list. Wherever your travels will take you this summer, be organized…have fun and be safe.

Make your week count.