The holidays are meant to be a relaxing time where we step back from work and take stock of what’s important in life. Unfortunately, the whirlwind of shopping, traveling, parties, and planning can often turn this time of year into a stressful gingerbread-flavored mess.
We can’t uninvite you from the 12 holiday parties you RSVP’d ‘yes’ to, but we can try to alleviate some of the travel stress. As a company with an office in the US and a team in the Netherlands, we do a lot of traveling this time of year, so we’ve compiled our list of the need-to-know travel tips to get you through it.
On the Go WiFi
Obviously the #1 travel necessity for us is Karma Go—we don’t leave home without it. Whether you’re getting last-minute work done from the car or racking up free data while you’re on a layover, Karma is the no-brainer travel companion for frictionless WiFi.
Pro tip: If you’re using Refuel and anticipate burning through lots of data over the holidays, you can switch over the Neverstop for a month and use all the data you want without worrying about having to top off.
Spotify is a music staple at our office. But to download your music in high quality to listen to on the plane or in the car, you’ll need Spotify Premium. For the next two weeks, they’re offering 3 months of Spotify Premium for $0.99, so it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a try without breaking the bank.
This is a favorite amongst the frequent travelers at our office. If you apply and are approved, you’ll be able to travel at 150 airports with 12 participating airlines and expedite your airport security process. That means no need to take off your shoes, or remove your laptop from your bag. The application fee is $85 and if you’re approved, it will cover you for five years. It’s an investment worth making for the convenience alone.
Gate Guru App
Gate Guru comes to you from the makers of TripAdvisor. It simplifies your itinerary for air travel and car rentals, and will keep you up-to-date on security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. It can also provide you with a list of amenities in your airport terminal and a virtual directory of the airport, making the giant departures/arrival board effectively moot.
Pro tip: Make sure you check up on delays, especially if you’re traveling out of Newark Liberty International, San Francisco International, LaGuardia, Chicago O'Hare International, and JFK International (they’re the worst offenders for delays during the holidays according to NerdWallet).
Mophie Juice Pack
Printing your boarding pass is so 2014. It's easy these days to check in to your flight or train ride and scan your boarding pass right from your phone. But what happens when you get to the airport or Amtrak station and your phone dies? Avoid the panic and keep a battery charger on your smartphone at all times. We’re a big fan of the Juice Pack, since it doesn’t take up much extra space and stays connected to your phone, so you can’t forget it.
This is Ground Tech Dopp Kit
Our obsession with This is Ground is no secret. But seriously, no one else makes a tech organizer that looks this good. All the love that normally goes into a quality dopp kit for your toiletries has been applied here, and there’s a spot for everything. That means you’ll spend a lot less time rummaging in the bottom of a bag when you need a cable, and all your tech will have its own space in your carry-on.
Multi outlet wall adapter
We’ve sung the praises of Belkin’s mini surge protector before. Just go buy one. Save on space, since you’ll only need to pack one charger for all your devices, plus you can be the lifesaver who offers your free outlet to another battery-weary traveler.
Herschel duffle picker
Herschel’s duffles are perfect for a carry-on, and they also provide the indispensable illustrated duffle guide to pick the right duffle for what you need, including how much you can fit into each different design.
2015 has been deemed the year of decluttering, thanks in part to the wildly popular decluttering book by Marie Kondo that took the best-seller list by storm. Why not downsize your travel bag too? Pack only the essentials, and don’t be afraid to repeat clothing items. No one’s going to notice.
Pro tip: Did you know the TSA can open gift-wrapped packages, even ones in your checked luggage? If you have gifts you’re flying with, bring them with you and wrap at home.