Travel

Airports: we love them for their usefulness, but hate them for the stress they cause. Growing up as an airport frequenter, I want to share a few useful tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that make navigating even the maddest airports a breeze. Follow theses tips and, who knows, you may begin looking forward to – and even enjoying! – the airport rather than dreading it:

  1. Check-in before the flight.

Most airlines now allow you to check-in online, 24 hours before your flight. This means you can completely avoid ridiculously long lines at the check-in counters. Not only does this option allow you to (sometimes) pick your own seats (window, please!), but it also gives you wiggle room to show up a few minutes behind schedule and still make the flight in perfect time.

  1. Keep accessories minimal and shoes open.

Taking off loads of rings, bracelets, a watch, a belt, and your favorite sports hat can seriously slow going through airport security. No one wants to be that person who is continuous beeping and holding up the already annoying process. To avoid this, be sure to keep accessories, especially metal one, to a minimum. Also, try and wear open-toes shoes like sandals or flip-flops. Most times, TSA will not request these types of shoes be taken off through security. This saves both time and your feet from walking on the cold dirty airport floor.

  1. Ask if there are any first class seats available.

This might sound silly, but you truly never know until you ask! When there are those luxurious, first class seats available, airlines do not always announce it. Make sure to speak kindly and smile wide to the worker at your gate because sometimes airlines will update you for a reasonable price or even for free. Along with this, occasionally airlines overbook and need volunteers to switch flights in exchange for a stipend, free flight, or other perk. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities if your travel plans are flexible.

  1. Don’t skimp on snacks and water.

I always have three things with me while traveling – granola or Chex mix, a fruit, and water. Because you cannot bring any outside food through security, pick up a few healthy, filling snacks from your gate that will last you for at least 12 hours. Usually I will leave these items in my carry-on and make them last until I reach my final destination. It is important to travel with some sustenance in case you do not have time later to pick snacks up or you’re like me and need to eat every few hours to function properly!

  1. Make the most out of a long layover.

Like I said in another article, “why not turn an inconvenient few hours into an opportunity to explore?” Layovers can be pleasant if you plan them wisely. Quickly explore the city if you have a long layover, get a massage, browse the bookstore, or eat a good meal in the gate during a short one. Regardless of how long your hiatus is, if you start to look at your layover as an opportunity you’re bound to enjoy it.

  1. Strategize your carry-on essentials.

It is important to pack your carry-on lightly and cleverly while traveling. Make sure everything you need is there, and necessities are all you have. Along with typical necessities like boarding passes and passports, I always pack a thick pair of socks and over-the-ear headphones. Both of these items keep me feeling calm and comfortable in the airport and on the plane. Pick a few items that keep you level headed, whatever they may be, and remember to pack them on your carry-on. You’d be surprised how much a few familiar objects can lower stress and anxiety levels.

I hope these airport hacks serve you as well as they’ve served me throughout the years. Happy traveling!

Image: Flickr

SkillsTravel

I am the type of person who likes to be prepared for every situation. That includes making sure that my car is prepared for every situation as well. There are a lot of helpful items that can be kept in a plastic bin in your trunk or the glove compartment just in case you need them. They can also be removed if you need the space. Mileage varies on which items you want to keep in your own car, but here are a few ideas:

1. Jumper Cables
Use these if your battery dies. A good Samaritan can help with the rest.

2. Tire Repair Tools
A tire gauge will let you know the pressure in your tires. Other tools include a jack, a tire iron, and a spare tire. Failing that, you can use a tire inflater or sealer that might get you to a gas station.

3. Duct Tape
It can fix all kinds of things.

4. Your Car Manual
I know that no one wants to read the manual but if you have a specific question you could find the answer in there.

5. Flashlight
You can use your phone for this. However, if you need a light for an extended period of time, you can drain your battery. Keep an actual flashlight around, just in case.

6. Road Flare
Safety first when it’s dark out or you need to grab people’s attention!

7. Small Fire Extinguisher
You may never need it but it could be life-saving if you do.

8. Your Insurance and Vehicle Information

9. Bluetooth Device
Handsfree phone calls are the safest way to go.

10. Phone Charger
You never know when you might need it.

11. Cleaning Products
I would recommend plastic bags, tissues and/or paper towels for any kind of mess that you encounter. If you’re really into cleaning, you can include a hand-held vacuum or an air freshener.

12. Non-Perishable Food
I recommend a bottle of water and a food item that doesn’t need to be heated or prepared like jerky or granola bar. You can keep this in a collapsible cooler if you’re on a road-trip. This will come in handy if you’re stuck somewhere.

13. Anything that can protect you and your car from the elements
A spare umbrella or jacket will help when you are outside of the car. I would also recommend a towel or a change of clothes to avoid ruining the interior of your car in different kinds of weather.

14. Blanket
A blanket can cost around $5 and will be helpful if someone in your passenger seat wants to take a nap or if you need to get warm.

15. Extra Money
You may have money in your wallet at all times. If not, keep some spare change or a small amount of money in your car. You might need money if you run into an unexpected tollbooth or you need to tip a tow truck driver.

16. Small First Aid Kit
You can go to the hospital for the big stuff. This is just for small injuries and won’t take up much room.

17. Sunglasses
These will protect your eyes and help you drive better.

In the end, what you keep in your car is your business. It comes down to what suits your needs. For example, if your share a car maybe you don’t have a say about what goes in. Let this be a starting point for you to drive more safely. It can also be a great list to prepare for the road trip of your dreams! Happy driving!

Image: Pexels

CultureSkills

Road trips may make some people roll their eyes, but there are actually so many wonderful things about it: traveling, decision-making, character building, relationship building, and the list goes on! Here are some of the reasons you just may want to start planning a college road trip:

  1. Time is of the Essence

We seem to always be running out of time. We are rushing to catch that last train, we are rushing to make our appointment, and running to get to the store before it closes. Traveling works the same way. It may seem like you don’t have time to do it now, but your days will only get busier later on in life. You never know what tomorrow may have in store for you. In turn, taking advantage of now is imperative. Traveling now means seizing your day and your youth! Unravel the possibilities and the memories. Say “yes” to that last minute invitation or start planning your next adventure today.

  1. Energy

One of the advantages of traveling ASAP is that you’re at the peak of your energies. Waiting to travel later for whatever reason reduces that motivation and that wish to explore more. Taking advantage of the moment only benefits you the most in terms of doing what you want to do with the adequate amount of energy and motivation. Who knows what will happen in the future – take the chance now!

  1. Spontaneity

Most people want to stay young forever, or at least hold on to their youth or their “glory days” for as long as possible. It is an understandable thing and let’s face it, it’s only going to get worse down the road. Ideally, later on in life when we all find ourselves more stable with our careers and families, we will begin to notice that our responsibilities are everything. We just may lose the drive to be spontaneous as we have more obligations and responsibilities tying us down.

  1. Bonds

They say the friends you make in college are the friends you keep for life. Road trips force you to stick with the people you are traveling with for, naturally, hours at a time. You play coffee’s assistant by talking to the driver for an extended period of time. Hopefully, by the end of it, you’re not wishing the people you’re with the ultimate death wish. Usually, being with people for an extended amount of time have a peak of I-Love-You stage, a downfall of the I’m-So-Sick-of-You-Go-Away stage, and hopefully the Never mind-You’re-Awesome stage. They only bring your friendships and relationships together and closer in the end and if not, well, at least you got a chance to see the true colors of the people you once had a different view on.

Traveling is a beautiful thing, an inspiring thing! College is the perfect time to take a road trip. One is old and mature enough, yet young enough to not have little things tie one down. Benefit from the free time you may have or have the potential to have.

Have you ever been on a road trip? Where would you go?

Image: Glass Duffle

Education

When it comes to packing up our bag for school, the main motto is: Less is More. When you’re lugging your backpack around all day from class to class it’s better to focus on the essentials rather than extra stuff that seems necessary at first but is actually just a pain in the neck (literally) later on. Focusing on the most important tools also helps you keep clutter at bay, leaving more time for fun and productivity rather than stress over a bag full of, excuse our French, crap. So what exactly are our essentials?

Take a look and get packing!

1. Backpack

Okay, this seems so obvious it’s silly but stick with us. The type of backpack you carry matters. Even though side bags are popular we prefer to stick with a traditional, two-strap backpack that goes around the shoulders. It’s better for your back, neck, and shoulders, especially when you’re probably carrying more than 18 pounds of weight around.

2. Two pencils, two pens, two highlighters

It might be tempting to bring an entire case of writing tools with you because well, they’re fun. But please, for the sake of your sanity, don’t do it. Bring one or two of each and focus more on the assignment than what you’ll be using to write it with. Plus, studies reveal that the less small decisions we have to make in a day the more energy we have for big things that matter.

3. Small bag for personal items

This could include a contact lens case and solution, personal hygiene products, Chapstick, hand cream, Advil, allergy medicine, a small Kleenex pack –whatever you always seem to need but never seem to have. If you aren’t totally sure what those items might be jot down what you keep reaching for during the first week of school.

4. 16 oz. reusable water bottle

You can refill this as often as you want and leave it in your locker before heading home. If you play on a sports team it’s also a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day without realizing it! Plus it’s nice to have right after gym class.

5. Laptop and charger when necessary

Every school is different when it comes to the laptop and electronics policy but if you’re allowed to bring your laptop to school it could be a great tool for getting work done in between classes or during a free period.

6. Planner

You already know that Carpe is old-school when it comes to planning. High school is where you’re learning to juggle multiple schedules at once (academic, athletic, extra-curricular, personal) so it really helps to have a quality planner that you can keep track of everything in.

7. Cell phone

Just make sure to keep it on airplane mode during class.

8. Wallet

This is the ultimate place to keep basics: $15 of cash, debit card, driver’s license, and student I.D. Done and done.

9. Keys

Car keys, house keys, bike keys, locker keys, you name it.

10. Headphones

Headphones are great. Whether you’re relaxing before an exam or jamming out while doing homework, headphones can be an awesome tool for focusing in or purposefully zoning out. Library tip: Even if you don’t have music playing h a red flag that you don’t want to be bothered.

What do you keep in your backpack? Did we miss any essentials? Let us know on Twitter @carpejuvenis #backpackessentials

Image: Flickr