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11 Hacks for Packing the Perfect Suitcase

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You could pare down everything you’re planning to bring on vacation to a knapsack-sized set of bare necessitates—or, you could get strategic about your suitcase. Master these 11 handy tips for packing like a pro and never have to “make do” when away from home again. 

1. USE KITCHEN BASICS TO KEEP DELICATE NECKLACES FROM TANGLING. 

If you have one tangle-prone necklace, try threading it through a plastic straw to keep the length of chain from twisting around itself. If you’ve got a whole set of jewelry that tends to get knotted up, use cling wrap to keep things tidy: Sandwich your jewelry between two pieces, making sure to seal the spaces between individual items.

2. KEEP EARRING PAIRS TOGETHER WITH BUTTONS. 

Any button with at least two holes will work to keep your tiny earrings from drifting apart. Just stick each one through a hole and attach the backs.

3. USE SOCKS TO PROTECT BREAKABLES. 

Don’t risk surpassing your liquid carry-on limit by stashing glass toiletries—like perfume or cologne bottles—in your hand luggage. Instead, give them a little extra cushioning inside your checked bag by tucking each breakable item inside extra thick socks. 

4. ADD PLASTIC WRAP TO SEAL FLIP-TOP CREAMS AND LIQUIDS. 

Things like moisturizer, sunscreen, or anything else with a flip-top and squeezable body tend to burst open and ruin everything else in your suitcase after even a small amount of jostling. A plastic bag works to contain the mess, but it doesn’t save your lotion. Instead, seal the lotions at their source by placing a small piece of plastic wrap under the lid. Just unscrew the top, lay a piece of plastic over the opening, and re-screw. 

5. ROLL YOUR CLOTHES; DON’T FOLD THEM. 

This will save space in your suitcase and should help prevent wrinkles. Rolling has the added advantage of making it easier to see everything you’ve packed so you don’t have to dig through the top layer of clothing to get to what’s underneath. 

6. ADD A DRYER SHEET TO YOUR SUITCASE.

Before zipping your luggage, toss in a scented dryer sheet to keep your clothes smelling fresh, especially if you’ve packed shoes in there as well. 

7. TUCK YOUR SHOES INTO SHOWER CAPS. 

Speaking of shoes, you don’t want the dirty soles rubbing up against your clean clothes for the duration of your journey. For a quick fix, pick up some cheap shower caps to wrap around your shoes. 

8. PACK SMALL AMOUNTS OF LIQUIDS OR CREAMS IN EXTRA CONTACT LENS CASES. 

If you wear contacts, you likely have dozens of extra, perfectly clean contact lens cases floating around your home. For short trips that require only small amount of things like makeup or lotion, squeeze some into the little contact compartments for securely sealed, travel-sized amounts of your daily necessitates. 

9. DON’T PACK WRAPPED GIFTS IN CHECKED LUGGAGE. 

When heading home for the holidays, be wary of putting wrapped gifts into checked luggage. If your bag needs to be opened for inspection, the wrapping will likely get torn off. So stow your gifts in your carry-on, use gift bags, or wait until you arrive to wrap your presents. 

10. BE PREPARED FOR LOST LUGGAGE. 

Waiting at baggage claim for hours only to learn your suitcase missed your flight is every traveler’s worst nightmare. But you can ease the hassle by preparing for the worst: If you’re traveling with someone else, divide your belongings evenly between the two bags (rather than having a designated bag for each person). This way, if one bag gets lost, you both will have enough clothes and toiletries to tide you over until your bag makes its (fashionably late) appearance. Also, be sure to pack a change of clothes and some spare undies in your hand luggage. 

11. SECURE YOUR RAZOR BLADE. 

You can use a large black binder clip as a cover for your razor to keep your fingers safe while digging around in your toiletries bag. 

This one’s on us. And the next one, too. Now in Delta Comfort+™, you get free premium drinks. This, along with perks like plenty of legroom, Wi-Fi, and more. Explore more here

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11 Ways to Find the Perfect Souvenir
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When you’re off on an exotic vacation, you can’t forget about your friends and family back home. Show them you care with a thoughtful souvenir that reflects both your traveling experience and the recipient’s personality.

1. DO SOME RESEARCH.

No one really wants a novelty shot glass or keychain, so you’ll have to put some thought into your gifts. Do research about the location and culture of the area you’re visiting. A little background knowledge can go a long way when looking for a gift that reflects where you’ve been.

2. CONSIDER THE RECIPIENT.

Try to imagine your friend, family, or coworker taking the same trip. What would interest them? What would they buy? If you can figure out what they like, you can use that to drive your search.

3. DON'T BY PERISHABLES.

It’s okay to buy certain foods to take home, but make sure your gift isn't going to spoil. You need treats that can survive various extremes of temperature—there’s no fridge on the airplane.

4. THINK SMALL.

Every inch of space is precious when you're traveling, so try to find presents that say a lot while taking up very little room.

5. STAY AWAY FROM TOURIST STORES. 

Tourist traps often only sell gifts that can just as easily come from the airport. Your loved ones can get a mouse pad anywhere in the world; think outside the box and find a gift that shows you put in some effort.

6. SHOP WITH THE LOCALS. 

Whether you’re traveling to Paris, France, or Paris, Texas, the natives of the area will know the best places to shop. Ask around for popular non-tourist locations and look out for smaller street fairs and flea markets. With a little digging, you can find something really authentic. 

7. MORE EXPENSIVE GIFTS AREN'T NECESSARILY BETTER.

A high price tag doesn't guarantee a good souvenir. In fact, you might not have to spend any money at all. A trip to the beach can yield a good collection of sea shells or sea glass. And some people like to collect matchbooks, pens, hotel keys, coasters, and other knick-knacks from around the world. 

8. MAKE SURE IT'S WORTH KEEPING.

Souvenirs are often easily stashed in a drawer and forgotten about. Find something meaningful but also tasteful so it can be displayed with pride in the house. Each purchase should be a wanted addition to the home and not extra clutter.

9. POSTCARDS ARE GREAT.

If you find yourself in a place where you can’t take photos, or your camera just isn’t doing the job, postcards will do the trick. The images are usually crisp, high quality, and often from a vantage point you might not have been able to get yourself.

10. MAKE SURE IT'S LEGAL.

Leave everything the way you found it and don’t take anything from monuments or historical places. Other contraband to reconsider includes certain produce, dairy, and products banned in your home country. These things could be confiscated and you could be hit with a pretty hefty fine. Counterfeit bags and accessories are also likely to be taken away, so be careful when buying luxury items that seem too cheap to be true.

11. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

Sometimes when you see the right thing, you just know. Don’t resist the feeling that an item is absolutely perfect.

 This one’s on us. And the next one, too. Now in Delta Comfort+™, you get free premium drinks. This, along with perks like plenty of legroom, Wi-Fi, and more. Explore more here.

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7 Tips for Timing the Perfect Mid-Flight Nap
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Whether you’ve got a 12-hour international flight or a quickie two-hour hop home for the holidays, timing mile-high naps can be tricky. Unless you’re the type who immediately passes out before the plane has left the jet bridge, these pointers can help you plan for a more restful flight. You likely know the obvious (wear comfortable clothes, bring earplugs, etc.), but sometimes quality naps need a strategy set in motion well in advance of the actual flight. 

1. BOOK A WINDOW SEAT.

Sure, the aisle seats have a bit more legroom, but if napping is your main objective, booking a window seat is key. Not only will you have somewhere more firm to rest your head (make sure to ask for a pillow or bring a sweatshirt to bunch into that corner space), but you won’t be interrupted mid-REM cycle because your neighbor needs to go to the restroom.

2. SIT NEAR THE FRONT OF THE PLANE.

Speaking of restrooms, they tend to be in the back of the plane, and the closer you are to them, the closer you are to the never-ending foot traffic of passengers who want to use them. If you can avoid getting jostled or interrupted by the constant small talk surrounding the restroom, it'll be easier to catch some shut-eye.

3. BOOK A NON-STOP FLIGHT.

Of course non-stops aren’t available for every destination, but if you have the choice between a non-stop three-hour flight, or two two-hour flights with a hurried 45-minute connection dash in between… which do you think will leave you more rested? It might be tempting to save $35 by booking the cheaper layover flight, but sometimes a solid siesta is worth the extra money upfront.

4. DON’T FIGHT YOUR REGULAR SLEEP PATTERNS.

The post-work, rush hour commute to the airport can make evening flights feel like a hassle; but, particularly for international flights, flying during your normal sleep cycle is actually ideal. Airlines already do most of the work for you—the vast majority of transatlantic flights take off from the States after 9:00 p.m., so as long as you don’t decide to spend the entire flight marathoning movies, you should be able to carve out a solid five to seven hours for sleep. 

5. FLY ON OFF-DAYS IF POSSIBLE.

Weekend flights (particularly on Fridays and Sundays) tend to be overbooked as everyone tries to get out of town for a three- or four-day weekend. But traditionally, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are less popular, which spells not only cheaper rates but also less crowded cabins. Your odds at scoring a row with a free seat next to you are much higher mid-week, meaning your odds for uninterrupted dozing go up too.

6. TAKE OUT YOUR CONTACTS.

You already know that napping with contacts in is ill-advised, but on a flight? The reduced oxygen, humidity, and air pressure in the cabin all contribute to eye and contact dehydration, which leads to uncomfortable, itchy eyes. Not only is this bad for eye health, but it makes for less restful napping as well. Optometrists generally recommend taking out your contacts for all flights, but for longer-distance ones, it’s a necessity. Also, plan to use lubricating drops before you actually need them—put a few in after removing your contacts, mid-flight if you’re awake, and again once you’re on the ground. Not only will you feel more rested, you’ll look it too.

7. PRE-LOAD YOUR IPOD.

Perhaps if you’re lucky, everyone else will want to snooze too. But since that likely won’t be the case, prep your playlist with a range of sleep-inducing podcasts to help drown out the chatter. Ambient “spa” music or relaxing instrumentals usually do the trick, but if meditation podcasts or White Noise apps are your thing, there are plenty of those you can download ahead of time too. But just as any runner knows not to test out a new pair of shoes on race day, don’t try out a new series when you know every precious moment of sleep counts. Namaste. 

This one’s on us. And the next one, too. Now in Delta Comfort+™, you get free premium drinks. This, along with perks like plenty of legroom, Wi-Fi, and more. Explore more here.

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