The holidays are always full of travel. If you're flying home or elsewhere this weekend, make sure you do it right. Here are a few simple tips and tricks we recommended.
A Good, Heavy Jacket: You're packing light, because there is nothing worse than dealing with the hassle and cost of checking a bag in this day and age. That means just one coat. So you'll have to find something that can keep you warm but also deal with the December elements you're sure to face: snow, rain and freezing cold air. We like this hooded, quilted, waterproof jacket from Aspesi. It can handle any of the activities that might be going down: chopping wood, building Snowmen with your nephews, hitting the slopes or simply surviving the walk from the parking lot to the shopping mall. Make sure to wear it on the plane, so your bag isn't overstuffed with this number.
A Well-Packed Bag: We've already established you can't be checking a bag, so your carry-on has to be small and well put together. Make sure you have one of every essential: a festive sweater, a non-festive sweater, a good shirt, one pair of jeans and one pair of trousers. Pack a few tee shirts and things to sleep in too. It's going to be a tight squeeze, especially with an extra pair of shoes and your toiletries, but you can probably make it work. We like this bag from Mulberry for travel. It's simple, elegant and can last a lifetime.
A Fully Charged, Fully Loaded iPad: Make sure your iPad is well stocked and never trust that the airport lounge internet or in-flight WiFi is going to work correctly, because it's almost always on the fritz. Download any books, magazines, movies or apps well ahead of time. The latest issue of GQ always takes longer to download than you would think, and you don't want to be dealing with it come the morning of your flight. If you're looking for a good game, The Walking Dead: The Game from Telltale is free in the iTunes App Store currently. Trust us, you'll like this even if you haven't played a game in ages. It has been winning "Game of the Year" by most major gaming publications and is the perfect game to play with touching, swiping and all the good stuff the iPad was made for.
In-Ear, Noise Canceling Headphones: Because the last thing you want to do is make small talk with the cat lady next you for the entire flight. Headphones in the ear say "please don't bother me" in the most respectful way possible. We like these clear headphones from Shure that are pro-quality and currently 50% off on Amazon.
A Trip To The Fed-Ex Office: Two things you want to avoid are dragging tons of Christmas presents through the airport or braving the mall as soon as you get in. Take your time and buy the presents on your own time and have them shipped home, pre-wrapped and already taken care of. Keep the box and on the way home, ship the gifts you received back home.
The Mobile App for Your Airline: Check-in 24 hours before your flight and change your spot to the best aisle seat possible. The TSA employees just have to scan your phone to check you in (the first and only good thing we've seen QR codes do), so the whole experience is a lot easier and less painless than waiting in line to get a printed out boarding pass.
Waiting For Your Ride At Departures: When all the eggnog has been drank and presents opened, you'll be flying back to your good 'ol city. If you have a loved one or annoyed friend picking you up, ask them to wait for you by "Departures" instead of "Arrivals". Everyone is coming back home for the holidays, not leaving for the holidays--so the "Arrivals" section is packed whereas the "Departures" section is a dead zone.
[Featured Image: Noah Mills for Banana Republic]