Flying is uncomfortable and stressful on any occasion, but it’s even more anxiety-inducing when you also have to arrive at your business-ready best. Here are some tried and true tips to simplify your travel routine and save yourself steps.

Pro Packing

  1. An empty water bottle in your carry-on. You can’t bring large amounts of liquids through security, but you can fill an empty bottle on the other side and not pay marked-up bottled water prices.
  2. A designated pocket or envelope for receipts. If you’re tracking travel expenses for reimbursement later, have a ready spot where you’ll put all your documents.
  3. Skip the special travel gear. Tanja Hester, writer at Our Next Life early retirement blog, and expert traveler after “100+ flights a year and 80+ hotel nights,” says “Unless you’re traveling super long haul, you don’t need a $50 neck pillow or $300 noise canceling headphones. Bring some foam earplugs if you want to sleep on the plane, and roll up your jacket for a pillow. Same comfort for a lot less money.”
  4. Invest in luggage. If you are going to spend on travel gear, invest in a really great carry on, and a suitcase that will keep wrinkle-ables flat. There are tons of great entrepreneurs disrupting this industry right now with products like the Bento Bag.

Before you Board

  1. Sign up for the airline’s rewards or points program, even if you don’t travel much. It doesn’t cost anything, and you have more clout as a customer if you have a membership number.
  2. Check in online. If you can check in ahead of time and print your boarding pass, DO IT. Save yourself the line.
  3. Check out one-way tickets. Often you can save money and have a more convenient itinerary if you buy each ticket separately instead of buying round-trip.

In-Flight Insight

  1. Bring a little treat for the flight crew. Consultant and frequent traveler, Karl Sakas brought a bag of candy with him on flights for a year and offered them to the crew. “It puts everyone in a better mood, especially amidst delayed flights and packed planes,” Sakas says.
  2. Ship gifts home. If you pick up extra stuff in your travels, don’t try to fit them into your bag or carry them on your flight home. It’s just extra weight and worry you don’t need.