For a child who may experience discomfort on takeoff or landing in air travel, take along a small plastic bag of Cheerios, trail mix, raisins, and or small nuts or candies (depending on allergies, age of the child and health issues, of course). Feed them one at a time to your child. This tricks them into swallowing frequently, which clears their ears. It works like magic and they don't arrive cranky and scared of air travel.
Harry and Jean Pope
Besides carrying a flashlight (keep it on the nightstand), take a night light (and extra bulbs) and plug it into a hotel or cruise ship bathroom. Great when getting up during the night in different surroundings. I always write a big note to myself to be sure to take it on the last morning. I've been doing this for at least 25 years and have never forgotten.
Keep a small cloth with a drop of eucalyptus oil in an easily accessible zip-lock bag. If you're seated next to someone radiating an odor that you find offensive, unobtrusively hold the cloth under your nose. Works better than perfume.
When traveling outside cities in many parts of Europe, note that many places close during lunchtime for several hours, so if you're going to do a picnic, buy lunch supplies in the morning.
Mary Jane Bagby
If you plan on doing any shopping on any foreign trip, take a business-size envelope and a small spiral notebook. Jot down your purchase and its cost and put the receipts in the envelope each night before bed. Safely store this information in a carry-on bag so that when you get your Customs declaration form on your return flight, you will have all the information you need. It's far better than trying to compile this from memory after a couple of weeks' shopping.
Upon disembarking from your cruise ship and before you check in at the airline counter, don't forget to transfer your overnight toiletry bag to your suitcase that you retrieve dockside. If you forget, its contents may be confiscated if containers are larger than 3 ounces. I learned this expensive lesson the hard way at the airport in Athens.
Take a metal Starbucks coffee mug (empty). That's become my favorite thing. It keeps things hot or cold for ages and I'm never without my favorite hot green tea (I take my tea bags). There are Starbucks seemingly everywhere, and they are always willing to fill it with hot water.
Relax. You know you are going to have to wait in line at the airport, so make the best of it. I people-watch. You would be surprised how quickly minutes go by when you watch those around you. Wear slip-on shoes for ease. Most things, including my purse, fit inside my carry-on, so I have only one item to deal with. And while you're at it, feel lucky that you have the ability to stand in line and you have the money to fly somewhere. How great is that?
How do you make travel less stressful? Send your trips to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your full name and city of residence. To see previous reader tips, go to latimes.com/readertips.