Image result for laura griffin authorNew York Times and USA Today bestseller LAURA GRIFFIN is the author of more than 20 romance books and novellas. Below, she offers tips on how to avoid disaster while traveling. Her work includes the popular Alpha Crew series, featuring aid worker Emma Wright, who faces the ultimate travel disaster when her plane goes down in the Philippine jungle. Emma is forced to survive by her wits before being found by a team of super-sexy Navy SEALs in ALPHA CREW: THE MISSION BEGINS, out now!

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Do you have bad travel karma? You are not alone. For years, every time I left town for a wedding, vacation, or family reunion, I found myself hit with some sort of travel disaster—canceled flights, lost luggage, cruise ship plagues—you name it. Without going into all the drama (I’ll spare you the story of being a dress-less bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding), I would love to share some clever travel tips I’ve picked up over the years. These ideas come from personal experience, online research, and numerous interviews with some of the smartest travelers on the planet—flight attendants.

  • Don’t check bags. Like, never ever! Countless travel catastrophes could be avoided by keeping your stuff with you. I know, I know, it’s hard to go away for a long time with only a carry-on and a personal item, but losing luggage is not worth it. So, how could you possibly limit your luggage to fit the ever-shrinking carry-on restrictions? Read on…
  • Pack a duffel, not a hard suitcase. I know we all love the roll on, but no matter how small it is, you run the risk of being flagged at the gate and told to check your bag because those overhead bins are full. And although your bag is more likely to make it to your destination if you check it at the gate, you might still face delays at your destination, or worse, lost luggage if you have a close connection and your bag doesn’t make it to the next plane. A gym-size duffel fits all that you need and can squeeze right under the seat in front of you.
  • Avoid wrinkles by using dry-cleaner bags. This fabulous tip comes courtesy of a business traveler I know who always has to look fresh and stylish in her meetings. Friction causes wrinkles, so pack each clothing item in a separate dry cleaner bag to keep clothes from rubbing together and getting creases.
  • Roll it! But not in a suitcase. First, create a bundle of small items, such as T-shirts, socks, and underwear. Lay out your nice clothes—in dry cleaner bags—flat on a bed. Then roll those larger items around the smaller bundle of clothes to create one large bundle, which you then slide into your duffel. When you reach your destination, unroll your clothes, hang them, and they should be ready to go.
  • Get double duty out of your straightening iron. For a quick touch-up in your hotel room, use your hair straightening iron on clothes and avoid having to find and hassle with an ironing board.
  • Flip-flops, never leave home without them! Flip-flops take up no space and are the perfect remedy for blistered feet, plus they double as house shoes in the hotel.
  • Be prepared for a snack attack. Always travel with a stash of protein bars or mixed nuts—anything to fight off starvation when your trip takes longer than expected or you check into your hotel room at oh-dark-hundred.
  • Dodge the bump. Minimize your chances of getting bumped from your flight by purchasing your ticket directly from the airline, versus a third-party site, and by checking in for your flight exactly twenty-four hours ahead to get a seat assignment.
  • When all else fails, escape into reading! Remember to download a few good books to your e-reader or smartphone before you leave on a trip. You never know when you’ll be delayed, canceled, or stranded on a tarmac, and reading is a great way to pass the time, PLUS you’ll be in a brighter mood when you finally get where you’re going!