- Smart packing is essential for seamless travel. Before you arrive at the airport, research your airline's baggage limits and fee policy on the airline website. Many US carriers, for instance, charge for all bags checked on domestic flights. Some discount airlines charge as much as $100 for carry-on bags. Most charge more at the airport during check-in than online in advance.
- Print hard copies of flight details and hotel booking confirmations - as well as directions to the hotel - and carry them in your hand luggage. Mobile phones and tablets can run out of battery just when you need to retrieve essential information. Always carry other essentials and valuables, such as medications, jewellery and chargers, in hand luggage as well.
- If you're travelling outside of Australia, chances are you'll need to pack an adaptor plug (or several) for items that need electricity. Check the Korjo website for a guide to adaptors used around the world, or choose a multi-purpose international adaptor that works in most countries. Some older devices, such as hair dryers and irons, need a voltage converter.
- Avoid arriving at your destination with a suitcase full of wrinkled garments by rolling, rather than folding, clothes. Firmly rolled clothes will take up much less space than folded ones, as well as being less likely to crumple. Professional travellers wouldn't leave home without Ziploc bags of varying sizes for separating suitcase contents.
- Most international airports offer complimentary wireless internet access, as do many hotels. If you need to get connected while you're out and about, look for cafes or public libraries where wifi is free. A new initiative in New York City, LinkNYC, will re-purpose 7,500 payphones citywide into kiosks to provide free internet access and phone-charging stations.
- Landing in a foreign city after a long flight then navigating the local transport system can be tricky. Sometimes it pays to organise a car and driver to meet you at arrivals: most hotel concierges can arrange this service. Shared-ride airport shuttle services such as SuperShuttle can be booked in advance and are popular in busy destinations like Los Angeles.
- If you're an American Express Card Member, make the most of your Membership Rewards**points** by transferring them to partner airlines where you can redeem them for flights and upgrades. American Express Platinum Card Members also enjoy the benefit of complimentary access to over 900 airport lounges around the world so if you're not a Card Member, it's worth becoming one before you take a trip.
- Need to get from Melbourne to Marseilles and not sure of the best route? Check out smart travel appRome2rio with its impressively fast and accurate calculations for the best way to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, ferry and automobile. Helpful for planning long-distance travel (South Africa to Seoul, for example), as well as shorter jaunts around your favourite city.
- It's hard to resist Paris in the springtime, when the city's beautiful parks bloom with fresh flowers and temperatures finally thaw. Timing your travel to coincide with optimal weather and unmissable scheduled events and festivals is an art. It's worth checking out fest300.com, a guide to the world's best festivals.
This article is presented by American Express. Go the distance with Membership Rewards.