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Podcast 180: Very Special Episode with a Round-Up of Travel Hacks.


Preview: For Labor Day, we're going to focus on using Labor Day (September 3 in the United States) as a prompt to ask, "How could I be happier at work?" Call +1 (774) 277-9336 or email with your ideas, or post to #HappierLaborDay.

This week is a Very Special Episode! All about travel hacks—how to make travel easier, more fun, and less hassle.

We got so many great suggestions from listeners; we could do many episodes of nothing but travel hacks. I've used several of these ideas already.

In brief:

  • Make a packing list.
  • Create a travel toiletry kit that you never unpack.
  • Pack a "fun bag" for little kids.
  • Re-use a Ziploc bag as a toiletry bag. (That's my well-worn Ziploc bag, pictured.)
  • Pack a trash bag and use it as a dirty clothes hamper to separate your dirty and clean clothes.
  • Listen to audiobooks.
  • Fold clothes in plastic dry-cleaner bags to prevent wrinkles.
  • Pack Downy Wrinkle Releaser to fight wrinkles.
  • Before you go for a run, ask at the hotel desk for recommended routes.
  • Create a diaper-changing station in your car, so you don't have to use the often nasty gas-station restroom.
  • Use a white-noise app to drown out sounds. Also works for dogs!
  • Pack a power strip.
  • Pack a "hotel bag" with the things you need for one night's stay, so you don't have to bring in every suitcase.
  • Pack your own snacks—have an airplane picnic.
  • Pack an external battery for your smartphone.
  • If you're traveling with a pet and need to stop for a restroom, go to Petsmart or Petco. They have clean restrooms and will allow you to bring your pet.
  • Order your groceries ahead of time, at your destination, so you don't have to go shopping when you arrive.
  • Find a new scent to associate with a destination, and that scent will always bring back happy memories.
  • Research your destination online ahead of time, for ideas.
  • For couples on long trips, play cribbage. Or Uno, the only card game I love.
  • To decide what activities to do, have each person make a list of "must-do" ideas so that those suggestions can be achieved; or use the "three choices game," where one person suggests three choices, and one person makes the final selection from those three.
  • Check the weather at your destination. Obvious but helpful!
  • Put colorful duct tape on your luggage, to make it easier to spot.
  • Leave some room in the suitcase.
  • Always pack warm socks. (Elizabeth and I also always travel with our beloved Uniqlo jackets.)
  • Plan a mystery trip to surprise your sweetheart.
  • If you forget your phone charger, ask as the hotel's front desk; they can often led one overnight.
  • If you're an anxious flyer, look for thirty opportunities to be kind before the flight takes off; it's a great way to minimize anxiety.

Elizabeth's Demerit: She promised Jack a trip to Legoland, but she's so afraid that it will be all booked up, she can't bring herself to try to plan it.

Gretchen's Gold Star: A friend gave me the idea to bring Eliza with me on my business trip to Los Angeles, and we had a great time there.


  1. My book Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness is now available for pre-order. An important milestone for any writer!
  2. If you'd like me to send you a bookmark with my "Habits Manifesto”—the twelve principles that I think are most important to keep in mind if you’re trying to master a habit—email me a request here. Be sure to include your mailing address, because this is a physical item that I will mail to you. Alas, because of mailing costs, I can send bookmarks to U.S. and Canada only.
  3. If you'd like to get the daily "Moment of Happiness" newsletter, where I send a great daily quotation about happiness and human nature, sign up here.

I do a weekly live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.” To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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