Tons of great reader TopTips thanks for so many great ideas!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Save all relevant prescriptions information (just take a photo of each label) This can be particularly helpful to be able to get in touch directly with the pharmacy to see what they recommend in case you forget and pack these items in a checked bag, or lose them in some other way.
HT to Danny

Whenever possible try to fit everything in a carry-on. Many methods can be used here – rolling clothes, packing light, coordinating clothes to minimize how much you need to take, etc. When you can manage it, this saves time and stress of checking bags.
HT to Angelina

Program all credit card, bank numbers, & mileage account numbers into your cell phone. This is often easier to access when you are flying internationally and can’t quickly pull up the Awardwallet site for your complicated AA Advantage number.
HT to Noah

If your bags are lost, check with your credit card’s bag loss warranty protections for additional coverage if your loss exceeds the airline’s provision.
HT to Noah

Sit near the agent desk, so you can be first in line for rebooking when they announce a delay
HT to Jon

If you must travel coach, try the travel neck pillow put on backwards, so that it wraps around the FRONT of your neck, you get a nice pillow to rest your head on (to the side) and the front keeps your head from falling forward. Also always helpful are the eyeshade, earplugs, and if you have time, a nice carb-rich dinner in the airport prior to departing, then skip the meal in favor of more time to sleep.
HT to David

Bring a protein snack. Delays are unpredictable.
HT to Joel

Try to exchange only as much money for foreign currency as you expect to use. If you have any leftover money, instead of paying to change it back (or having it sit in a drawer at home) use it for the hotel bill or taxi, even the change, and then pay the balance with a credit card. Another option is to look for a Forex exchange as they do not charge to convert leftover currency back to USD, or whatever you started with.

If you’re not renting a car, scan the taxis at the airport prior to hopping in one and program a few numbers into your cell phone. Once you have their number, you can always call in advance and arrange for a pickup.

Prior to international travel, call your cell carrier and see what options they offer. For example, Verizon charges about $1.49/min for calls placed on a euro network, but if you sign up in advance for their $3.99 Global Value plan, that per minute rate gets knocked down to .99/min. Also, if you have a smartphone, sign up for the Global Data Package. At $30/50mb or $75/150mb, it’s steep, but way better than what it would cost to use data without these plans. Both options by the way (Global Value and Global Data) will be pro-rated when you return, so if you’re in Euroland for only a week or two, you’d get some of that $3.99 back, as well as any money on your data plan. Verizon will even let you set a start and end date for these plans in advance. You can also check with the various mobile services when you arrive on purchasing a SIM card for simple phone/text usage while in your international destination.
HT to G. David

Check on the number of mobile phone scanners for mobile boarding passes each airport has before security. Some airports only have one or two scanners, which means you have to get in a specific line when going through security. Thus adding rather than saving time.
HT to Mark

I always pack a blanket with me so I can use it in the airplane when I get cold without having to worry about catching germs from airplane blankets (or not getting a blanket at all).
Or always fly in front of the curtain as these blankets are super nice & fluffy & clean! Check the Best Points tab at the top of the blog to see how!
HT to Anna

Does anyone still send postcards anymore?! Print a sheet of small Avery mailing labels with recipients names & addresses so all I have to do is write my postcards – peel and stick address labels – and hand my stack of finished postcards to the hotel desk clerk to put in the mail for me. Simple!
HT to Ozzie

Even better than the AwardWallet card is to get the CardStar app for your smart phone. Not only will it store your airline/hotel/rental car loyalty program numbers, but it will generate and display the bar codes associated with the number. So when traveling on Delta, you can have the gate agent or SkyClub agent scan your Delta SkyMiles bar code from your phone (e.g. to get a seat assignment). And it generates bar codes for fitness club memberships, drugstore and grocery store loyalty programs, and many others, so you never have to be without those discounts on the road.
HT to Eric

For families, if you’re checking in a car seat (we have a car seat bag that’s black), stuff some clothes in there to keep your carry on and/or check-in a little lighter. They never check inside.
HT to goheerow

If you have at least one Visa Infinite or World Mastercard, save the 1800 number to their complimentary concierge service. They will help you with almost anything you throw at them. Reportedly, they can help you with the simplest things like finding nearby gas stations and directions, to planning whole travel itineraries (although we probably know a few more tricks).
Had my car towed in a foreign place once and used them to patch me through to he local compound to figure out where my car was.
HT to Jackson

be sure you go to the lavatory before you board.
…and wouldn’t it be nice if they located the toilet paper holder out of “splash” range?! Ladies – use paper towels but put them in the trash rather than flushing them!
HT to sean

When you’re using the safe at a hotel, put everything in a shoe the night before. That way, you won’t walk off without your passport.
HT to dwh

travelling with kids? Love early morning flights because everyone crashes as soon as u take off
HT to Tracy

If, like me, you have trouble sleeping in a hotel room when it’s not totally dark (think city lights), bring along a couple binder clips to fasten the curtains to each other, avoiding the inevitable slit and light beam that lights up your room. You can also use the hotel hangers with the clips. Another benefit of this is no peepers!
HT to thrashsoundly

Since my first night on the road, i ALWAYS have trouble sleeping – get some Ambien/Lunesta. For me, the trip to the Dr’s office to get the prescription is 100x better than taking Advil PM or the like, which always leave me waking up completely groggy.
HT to G. David

If you know you’ll have more than a 2hr layover at the time of your ticket booking, and don’t already have a club membership, pay the $25 right then for a day pass, rather than putting it off and spending $50 if you decide you want a respite on the day you fly. You’ll get that $25 back in free internet and beer anyhow. And even if you decide to not use it that day, they’re still usually good for a year from the date of purchase.
HT to G. David

Always have a printed copy of your boarding pass in case the TSA’s or gate agent’s scanner fails to scan your mobile boarding pass. Also great if you have to prove to the airline your travel to earn award miles!
HT to Mark B.

I avoid taking the last flight of the day (taking the 2nd or 3rd to last) for business trips in case of delays/cancellations/etc. This depends on your objectives somewhat. If you have obligations to meet then this is a good plan. If you’re seeking bumportunities, last flights of the day are sometimes the best option.
HT to Mark B.

When possible route myself through airports that if I had to get stuck at I know a friend or family member nearby that I could stay with rather than sleeping in the airport waiting for the next day’s flight. Again, unless the flight cancellation is weather related, the airline will put you in a hotel. Otherwise, this is what points are for!
HT to Mark B.

Check the weather of all airports you are flying to and/or connecting through so that you can be better prepared should a delay in your travel occur. It is better to know a delay is likely and ask to be put on standby for the next flight rather than wait until the delay is announced and be at the back of the line.
HT to Mark B.

Recently, Delta seems to have increased their frequency of compensating International BusinessFirst travelers with a 5,000 mile voucher if your meal choice is not available when meal orders are taken. I don’t mind boarding last, so I’ve recently waited to be one of the last to board with the hopes of scoring some miles. I’ve scored 3 vouchers on my last 6 transatlantic flights (twice on flt. 71 AMS-JFK and one on flt 21 CDG-ATL). Worth the wait if you are not picky about what you eat.
HT to B. Ull

US Air relaxed change-fee policy in the fine print, it says that this policy only applies to tickets purchased thru US Air, not 3rd party sites (travelocity, orbitz, etc). ALWAYS book travel thru the airline website – if something comes up, they’re much more likely to help you if you bought a ticket from them than from a discount site. Also, once I booked a flight on LH thru Travelocity and put my US Air DM# on the reservation, only to find out after the trip that I was only entitled to HALF my preferred miles because I had booked through a “discount site”.
HT to G. David

Don’t be mean and put your jacket in the overhead right when you get on the plane.
Turn on EasyAlerts (United) or whatever similar service other airlines have
HT to Kris Ziel

Another idea for shorter trips….When at the cosmetic counters of department stores I ask for samples of products. This way I can bring small-sized lotions and make-up items with me and leave my larger bottles at home. It also serves as a way to try new products.
HT to Newton

To save space in your quart 3-1-1 bag, use a solid shampoo Lush:

Always keep your phone/camera handy when on the plane. That way you can take pictures of any defective features and email it to customer service. You might be able to get some credit for a broken screen
HT to Bitachu

Check seatguru before booking to see which seats you want to get. The same price seat might have power outlets or more legroom
HT to Bitachu

If you have an smartphone, take a screen shot of your mobile boarding pass and scan that. You might not have service or Internet to connect to get it on your phone at security or when boarding (and if you didn’t print your boarding passes, this could be a problem).
HT to Truthiness

Read Delta Points the week before you fly, there might be a targeted promotion or news you need to know.
HT to Truthiness

A safety tip: when traveling on flights when you want to take off your shoes and put on slippers in order to be more comfortable, it is better to wait to remove shoes until a good amount of time after take off (and put them back on a good amount of time before landing). Because if there is an emergency / evacuation on take off or landing, you need those shoes on. And likewise, I keep important stuff right with me (not in an overhead bin) on take off and landing because if there is an emergency, there will not be time to grab stuff from overhead bins.
HT to Paul

Take along at least two memory cards and two camera batteries. In my purse I always carry a small flashlight and compass. Eddie Bauer has a combination flashlight/compass that works great!

I can’t take credit for this, but one of the single best posts I have ever read from Gary at viewfromthewing is how to get to In n Out Burger for free is extra time at LAX. Here is the post:
I am guessing many think this is a weird post; they are the ones who have never been there….
HT to Michael Gulseth

Save important phone number/prescriptions/passport images etc on your phone as suggested, but also consider using dropbox app or other similar app/service so you can save them to the cloud. Then you can get to these things from any computer in the world, not just your own cell phone in an emergency.
HT to Keith

Thanks ALL of you for so many good ideas! – Rene

BTW – winne #17


For families, if you’re checking in a car seat (we have a car seat bag that’s black), stuff some clothes in there to keep your carry on and/or check-in a little lighter. They never check inside.


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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Get a Giant Zip Lock Bag and put it in your pocket or carry on bag. Then if you are Traveling in Business or First on Delta and the FA asks to check your coat, you can quickly put your wallet, blackberry or iPhone and passport and other valuables in the ziplock bag and put it in your seat pocket in front of you and give your coat to your FA and not have to worry about where your things are and let your coat get hung up. During the flight everything you will need of importance will be in one place right in front of you safe and secure for any forms you may have to fill out or any purchases from SkyMall you may want to use. Plus you want have to stuff your slack pockets with things (if you’re a guy) or spend time in the aisle holding people up while your scrounge through your pockets getting organized.

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