Five Ways to Travel Stress Free
The day has come. It’s finally here! You’ve been counting down the days as you work back to backs or double shifts. You’ve been saving, budgeting, planning and researching just to make this trip happen. Maybe you’ve even touched up on a foreign language for this moment. And you could pretty much pee your pants because the day has come and you’re about to start off on your epic adventure.
And now.. you may or may not be biting all of your finger nails because you’re stuck in traffic and your flight pretty much leaves in 30 minutes. You could even be having a legit heart attack as you take your shoes off and try to put everything in the right bin at 100 mph while TSA looks at you like you’re a terrorist as everyone frantically moves through security.
And you’re just so ready for that complimentary wine as soon as your booty hits the seat on that airplane.
We know. And I have to say that I’m a little disappointed in myself for only NOW coming to the conclusion that airports and flying actually aren’t the worst thing in the world haha. Seriously though its taken about 9 years of traveling regularly by myself to come to this conclusion. But realizing that this is a pretty mutual feeling amongst almost everyone who travels, we sat down and compiled a list of 5 simple things that have helped the both of us.
1. invest in quality travel gear
Away Carry On’s
Langly Camera Bag
Vinta Camera Bag
After going through multiple carry on bags that were either vintage ones from a thrift store or decent quality ones from Ross, we finally decided to invest in great quality carry on bags.
We absolutely LOVE our Away bag. Here’s why:
- sleek, functional, minimal design (its pretty to look at)
- strong unbreakable outer shell
- two deep compartments
- portable usb charger
- nylon laundry bag for keeping dirty clothes separate (including wet bathing suits)
- compression pad to compress clothes down
- TSA approved lock
- 360 smooth ride with 4 premium wheels
- lifetime warranty
As photographers frequently traveling for work, we’ve also gone through multiple camera bags and backpacks. Starting with decently priced ones from amazon, home made converted camera bags, to other trendy bags – we’ve finally found the ones that work perfect for us.
Our Langly Alpha Pro camera backpack has been our trusty bag for years! Here’s our review :
- secure camera protection
- separate compartment for clothing and other items
- tripod holder
- laptop sleeve
- quality and function yet fashionable
- durable against strong wind, rain, sand, and snow. (we know, we’ve tested this theory)
What we love most about our Langly is the ability to backpack into various locations while feeling completely secure about our gear being safe. Its our go-to bag when we know we will be facing harsh conditions.
- not comfortable for running/hiking for long hours
Although we love our bag, we have found some faults with it through out the years. The bag itself is rather bulky and big. Not the best for traveling and having to slide it under the airplane seat. Sometimes it doesn’t even fit under smaller airplane seats as well. And because this bag is ideal for outdoor use, it would be awesome if it had a better design for hiking. Even a simple waist strap would make the bag feel more secure as you are running around.
*update : the New Alpha Pro design has been redesigned for the better. it still seems to be a little on the bulky side but no doubt its durable, fashionable, and comfortable design outweighs that aspect if you are looking for a great outdoor photography bag.
Our Vinta bag is another one of our favorite camera backpacks :
- sleek, compact, and minimal design
- easy to travel with
- customizable camera compartment
- laptop sleeve
- removable inserts easily allow you to turn this camera bag into a day bag
- removable Field pack helps to keep things organized
- separate exterior pocket for pens, passports, and chapstick
- light weight and durable
- water resistant exterior
- limited space
What we love most about our Vinta is how amazingly EASY it is to travel with! The sleek and minimal design allows it to slide right under the airplane seat so easily. Also the removable Field Pack keeps everything organized such as hard drives, chargers, chords, pens, passports, wallet, iPhone, essential oils, and chapstick. (all of my go to travel necessities) The only thing with the limited space is that you can’t fit any other personal items in the bag outside of your small necessities and camera gear. But we knew this before buying this bag and love the minimal mentality it sets out.
And if you’re wondering why we own both carry on bags and backpacks, well we typically travel in two different ways every year. Here is our system :
- Away Carry On (clothes and personal items)
- Vinta + Langly Bag (camera gear and laptops)
- North Face / Osprey Backpacks (clothes and personal items)
- Ona Camera Bag Insert (camera gear : one camera + lens)
- Laptop Sleeve
- Electronic Bag (hard drives and chords)
We pack the Ona Camera Bag insert in one of our packs, and the laptop + electronic bag in the other. We totally understand that most of you will be even more minimal when backpacking, but as photographers we always have to bring at least one camera, one lens, and our laptops. We often work on the road and though we wish we could just take off two months of work completely, we can’t. haha
Investing in great quality travel gear may seem expensive or unnecessary but after avoiding it for years, we regret not jumping on the bandwagon sooner. Especially backpacking bags. I realized this myself when lowering myself down on a cliff with the rope in my right hand and a surf board in my left when all of the sudden the straps on my amazon backpacking bag snapped and I almost lost all of my belongings. Don’t let that happen to you! haha
And remember you can always slowly invest into your collection one item at a time!
2. Travel Light and Pack Ahead of Time
We are pretty firm believers in packing light. We always travel with carry on and sometimes even share a bag! And after years upon years of being THAT person who packs last minute just before their flight (soooo guilty) we decided to start packing ahead of time haha. Something that most of the world probably already does but hey, you gotta start sometime.
Pros for Packing Light and Ahead of Time :
- saves money in not paying for a checked bag
- allows you to check in online and head straight to security
- packing ahead of time eliminates forgotten items
- only necessary items – we all re-wear the same clothes, don’t deny it I know you do. so don’t pack things that will not be touched 😉
- easier travel from the moment you are at the airport to each and every uber ride, Airbnb, and hotel
- less things to worry about, less things to lose
- allows you to keep your items close to you
- until you’ve had an airline lose your bags and surfboards for over a week (in a third world country) you won’t understand how unnerving and disappointing this is. save the struggle and use carry on only. also check what the carry on restrictions are ahead of time. Air France made us check on our “carry on” bags
- leaves room to bring some goodies back from other countries!
3. Prepare Meals to Carry On
This has saved us sooooo many times! If you live in Hawaii you know our struggle haha. Five – Eleven hour flights with no food just to get somewhere in the same country. Hawaiian airlines is the only airline that offers (free) meals unless you are flying international. Plus it is so much better than airplane food to bring fresh, healthy, home cooked meals. Just note that your meals shouldn’t include liquid! (I’ve had to saddly leave my ramen behind at security)
Pros for Packing Meals :
- saves money
- eat better, quality food
- don’t be hangry
4. Get TSA Pre Check
Its time to cut the line and keep your shoes on. If you travel often then getting TSA prechecked is highly recommended. It is 85.00 for 5 years and its never too late to sign up! After flying over 100 flights in the last 2-3 years we wished we would have signed up earlier.
5. Arrive Early
Sooooo this may seem like common sense to most of you but we thought we’d put this in here because well we’ve missed flights over this haha. And we know (hope) we are not the only ones. Get to the airport early. Give yourself extra time to check in, get through security, find your gate, and relax a bit. Getting to the airport late is easily one of the most stressful ways to start a trip! Plan to leave early incase of traffic. And if you’re using carry on which we highly recommend, check in online (either at home or on your phone) and head straight to security.
Travel Tips in Summary
- Pack Light, Pack ahead of time.
- Invest in Quality Travel gear. (not only does this make your trip at ease but puts a smile on your face as you walk through the terminal. pretty things make you happy.)
- Pack Meals and Snacks.
- Get Travelers Insurance. (this has helped when rescheduling flights and also has helped in paying for a hospital bill due to a surfing accident in a foreign country.)
- Double Check which Airport you are flying out of. (it really sucks to notice you are flying out of the wrong airport when you’re plane is boarding. yup. guilty.)
- Leave early incase of traffic.
- Use carry on. Check in online and head to security.
- Be a nice person. This might get you complimentary drinks haha.
And the most helpful Travel Tip of all..
Have a good mindset! Things come up. All of the time and it wouldn’t be traveling if it didn’t.
Airlines may change their departure time, move you on a different flight, lose your bags, or you may be late due to unforeseen things and you miss a flight. You may have to buy a new flight (multiple times) out of pocket just to get to your next destination or just to get home. Some countries may screw you over with a Visa and not allow you to leave their country (even if you were only there for a 20 minute layover). Other countries might question you for hours before even allowing you to enter their country. You may get sick to your stomach and you’re puking in a bag while going through security after puking all over yourself before that. Your rental car might lose your reservation, and you might book your Airbnb for the wrong dates. You might miss the last bus and end up forking out an extra hundred bucks just to get to the airport. You may have to find wifi in some foreign country just to talk on the phone to fix a problem.. for hours.
Yes, all of these things have happened to us. Something probably happens each time we travel. But having a positive mindset, addressing the problem, and moving on right away allows us to have the time of our life! And we have been pretty fortunate to travel with other friends who are super rad and share the same mindset. Traveling is an adventure that often includes all of the ups and downs, so don’t complain about it. Address it, make the best of it, and find good times in any situation! After all, it makes for great stories 😉
We know these tips are simple and most likely common sense anyway! But these travel tips have helped us tremendously to start our trip off on the right note. We’re interested to hear what helps you! What are your entertaining travel stories? Have you ever been stuck in a country? Have you ever missed a flight for such a stupid reason? haha
We are also thinking of putting together a packing guide, is this something you guys would be interested in? Let us know in the comments and also comment on our latest Instagram post! We’re eager to hear you thoughts! 🙂