I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot this year and have had the added benefit of staying in numerous cities, hotels and planes; running through airports and renting cars. While this may seem daunting I have had a terrific time and learned much along the way. If you are about to travel here are some of my best tips to keep you well on your way.

1) Airports

Airport chic

It goes without saying that when traveling always wear clothes that are comfortable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look chic. Always wear flats. I cannot tell you how many women I see in the airport with 5″ heels…….really?! Nuff said. I always bring a sweater and a scarf, preferably one in a color to add some instant pop. Trust me, you will go through ten different temperatures just walking from the car to the boarding area, be prepared but be chic about it.

Use a carry on bag and a big handbag. Carry on is easier. Surprisingly you can carry a lot of different clothes and toiletries on a carry on, don’t underestimate it’s size. And remember  to layer when traveling. A tank top under your shirt, your scarf and your sweater can all be combined with your other outfits. Mix and match.

A large handbag can carry snacks, hand wipes, chapstick and your wallet. I always keep a small clutch with me so when I arrive to my destination I have a small bag to carry around but it can also fit into my large handbag.

Another recommendation, bring a hat. I always have a fedora. If my hair has gone flat from being in three different climates and two naps, a fedora adds instant chic. It also keeps the sun out of your eyes.

2) Airlines

Southwest airlines

Southwest is hands down the most reliable airline. Most people prefer airlines that offer assigned seating. But when you travel a lot you just want to get where ever you are going. American airlines is bar none the worst. Every flight, and I mean EVERY flight I have had with them has been delayed at least 30 minutes. More often than not they are delayed an hour or more. They are also kings of canceling flights all together. And if you have a connection let’s just say it is a cluster you know what……I hate AA. The other airlines are not much better. They all charge for baggage, have change fees and have terrible customer service. Southwest has their ear to the ground. If you put a complaint up on twitter you are guaranteed to have a solution from them within minutes. And not a lame ass one like “we’re sorry about your unexpected travels”.

3) Rental cars

The dos:

Top rental cars

I have tried a couple of rental places and have found National to be the best. If you become an executive member you simply show up, grab the car you want and avoid the ticket counter. Very convenient. My top four rental cars for comfort are:

Chrysler 300-Peppy, great gas mileage, comfortable, easy to drive and solid

Ford taurus-Excellent car. Super comfortable, solid, good gas mileage, easy to drive and often has butt warmers which I love!

Ford escape-If I go to a city that I need to shop in, this is a great car. It is easy to drive and maneuvers like a car but gives you the function of an SUV

Ford Fusion-I prefer the taurus but if they don’t have any I choose the fusion. While the console is a little awkward to me because it is completely open (meaning your stuff goes everywhere) it is easy to drive, comfortable and gets good gas mileage.

The BIG Don’t:

Worst car to rent

While the toyota venza looks cool and looks easy to drive it was by far the worst rental car I’ve had. Incredibly uncomfortable. Seats were beyond hard (jarring!)I could never get the steering wheel in the right place and over all just an awkward car to drive and sit in. Also a big disappointment was the back. The entire back area was plastic so for two days I got to hear my luggage slide around and slam into the sides of the car. Plastic seems like a good idea for dirt etc, but they clearly did not think it through. Not a pleasant experience while traveling. It carried a lot of road noise, was uncomfortable and the experience of driving it was not enjoyable at all! In fact I got the car in San Antonio, drove it to Corpus Christie and then back to San Antonio…..while the trip was fun my experience and memory of that trip was the stupid car. Toyota is you are reading this the car sucks. You need to fix it!

Additional Notes for the experienced traveler:

If you travel more than two times a month invest in the admirals club. All airports have them. It is a lounge provided by an airline like Bristish and it is a wonderfully quiet space to do work on your laptop, take calls, make copies, enjoy a cocktail and just regroup before your flight. No loud speakers, kids screaming and general airport nonsense. They also provide food and terrific customer service in all the clubs. GREAT way to fly.

If you travel more than two times a month most airports offer security packages as upgrades. Meaning you pass the long lines and get straight to the front. Traveling every month and doing the same routine over and over can be daunting. It is the little things that make it more pleasant!

Remember, traveling is fun. I have met some terrific people while traveling. In fact I had dinner the other night with a gal I met on the way to Philadelphia. I also try to meet up with other designers in every city I go to. Make it fun, meet new people and enjoy the experience.

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