A known and unavoidable truth about traveling is that it can be stressful. But the things that stress us out can be managed—and sometimes even avoided—with careful planning…and a few tricks.
Here is a roundup of the best tips and hacks from the editorial staff of Fortune. Not only might some of these suggestions make your holiday travel a little merrier and bright, but they could also inspire some resolutions for better travel in 2020.
When packing clothing, choose a color scheme and stick to it—e.g. black and white, or blue and tan. You’ll need fewer options if all of your items go together, leaving you with more room in your luggage. —Andrew Nusca, digital editor
If you’re a power user of fashion-sharing services like Rent the Runway, have your order sent directly to your conference hotel. It’ll give you an extra set of options—particularly if you’re adding a can’t-miss jacket or accent piece—and it saves you the packing and shlepping.—Ellen McGirt, senior editor
Two words: merino wool. This fabric works in any weather, doesn’t itch, and proves miraculously soil-resistant for weeks on end. Perfect travel wear. —Robert Hackett, senior writer
I have a standard travel outfit that consists of comfortable shoes, comfortable jeans, a soft shirt, and the same supersoft synthetic-fiber exercise shirt. Somehow the combination of comfort and consistency soothes me when I embark on long journeys. —Adam Lashinsky, executive editor
Take photos—but not just of scenery! Snapshots of luggage tags, receipts to expense, coat check claims, and valet slips will guard against misplaced paperwork and save you stress. Plus, it’ll shrink that pile of crumbled who-knows-what at the bottom of your suitcase. —Claire Zillman, senior editor
If you’re relying on a mobile boarding pass, take a screenshot—don’t always rely on the app itself. You never know when you might not have service, and if your battery is running low, trying to connect to LTE or Wi-Fi is only going to drain your phone faster. —Rachel King, editor
Invest in the portable Jackery Bolt charger, a compact and sleek little device in which the cords—one for iPhones and one for everything else—come attached and seemingly powers electronics faster than the average battery pack. —Erika Fry, senior writer
I have been known to travel with a small, lightweight power strip in my carry-on gear especially when I know I’m traveling through the kinds of airports where power outlets are claimed early and often. Great way to stay fully powered and make new friends. (It works for certain conferences, too.) And never EVER use the USB charger. —Ellen McGirt, senior editor
Always carry an external battery with loads of charge capacity. If your phone is like mine, it will die after 10 minutes of Twitter. Lord knows you’ll be stuck on the tarmac far longer. —Robert Hackett, senior writer
When flying long distances and across time zones, the math can wreck your brain. Instead of trying to figure out what time it is—or should be—simply set a timer on your phone or smartwatch for the length of your flight duration, sit back, and enjoy the countdown to your destination. —John Patrick Pullen, tech editor
I have another ritual. As the plane takes off, I reset my Timex Iron Man watch to the local time of where I’m flying. I have no idea if this will work for others, but I have found that it helps the plane take off and land safely every single time. —Adam Lashinsky, executive editor
For your own safety, avoid connecting to unprotected, public Wi-Fi. If you feel you must, at least use a VPN, which helps protect your Internet traffic. —Robert Hackett, senior writer
People swear by their mini-steamers, but a spritz bottle with water often works just fine. Just spray your wrinkly knits, give them a shake and let them hang out overnight. Keep your empty bottle in your suitcase.—Ellen McGirt, senior editor
Bring an empty water bottle in your carry-on luggage. Once you’re past security, you can fill it at a water fountain or ask a nearby restaurant. Not only will it save you money at the airport, but fill it up again before boarding, and it’ll help you stay hydrated on long flights (especially during those wait periods for the drink carts during cabin service). —Tamara El-Waylly, commentary editor
Must-pack: Wet Wipes. The cheap carry-on staple absolves a number of travel sins: disgusting tray tables, understocked public loos, and your own post-long-haul grime. They also don’t count against your liquid quota (unlike hand sanitizer, for instance), which is key. Never leave home without ’em. —Claire Zillman, senior editor
For lint free spot cleaning, bring a dark or black washcloth with you. The white ones that hotels provide will make your dark clothing look like a hot mess.—Ellen McGirt, senior editor
For overnight trips I am a huge proponent of safe, prudent, judicious use of Ambien. Not only does it knock me out, it also has an antianxiety element to it. So I can sleep comfortably on turbulent overnight (typically red-eyes to New York) and overseas trips. I also keep a small amount of Ambien next to my bedside table on the first nights of an overseas trip so that when jet lag inevitably wakes me up in the wee hours I can get back to sleep until a reasonable time in the morning. (I also do this when I return home.) Ambien isn’t for everyone, and you need a prescription from a doctor. If it works for you, it’s a miracle drug. —Adam Lashinsky, executive editor
Lines are for suckers—if you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, get Global Entry/TSA PreCheck. No more slipping off your shoes. No more placing your laptop in a separate bin. Glide through security, carefree and without delay. —Robert Hackett, senior writer
Instead of sitting while waiting for your (probably delayed) flight, get up and take a walk around the terminal. Not only will it help you meet your Fitbit goal, but it will keep your energy and spirits up as well as get your blood circulating before inevitably sitting for hours again once you’re on the plane. —Rachel King, editor
If you’re looking for as quiet a room as possible at a hotel, when you check in, ask to be put on as high a floor as possible (families with kids tend to prefer lower floor rooms) and as far from the elevator as possible. This reduces the traffic walking past your door on the way to the elevator, not to mention reduces how much you hear the bell when the elevator arrives on your floor. —Phil Wahba, senior writer
If you know you’re going to need to do some laundry—think underwear and socks—try packing and using 3-gallon Ziploc bags instead of the sink. Makes less of a mess, and you can soak stuff without taking over the bathroom.—Ellen McGirt, senior editor
Never check bags. Really, never check bags. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT CHECKING THAT BAG. —Robert Hackett, senior writer
More must-read stories from Fortune:
—What I learned when I ate 48 premade keto meals in one month
—How men approach money differently today than ever before
—Why are restaurants suddenly becoming flower shops?
—The best wellness and fitness presents to give this year
—Now you can travel with SoulCycle
Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis.