Travel is stressful, no bones about it. But with the right tricks up your sleeve, you can make things so much easier on yourself and anyone coming to see you. And that’s what I’m passing along right now.

So your trip isn’t a total suitcase-strophe

Little trackers use signals from other phones to determine where they are located. Toss one in your luggage and you can see whether it made it to your destination or point out to the airlines where they lost it.

Insider secret: AirTags are worthless when your luggage goes through the airport’s inner conveyor belt system. There typically aren’t enough iPhones nearby for them to work. 

  • Apple’s AirTags are ideal if you have an iPhone, Mac or iPad. 
  • The Tile 2-pack is Android compatible and has a tracker for your luggage and one to slide into your wallet.

And you can track your luggage using the airline’s official app, too.

3 more reasons to use your airline’s app

  1. Book on the fly: Search, book and manage your flights right from your smartphone. Pro tip: In the case of a canceled flight, don’t follow the folks standing in a huge line or waiting on hold for 30 minutes. Rebook through the app to shortcut those lines.
  2. Get your boarding pass: Ditch the paper. Store your boarding pass in the app and simply scan your phone at the gate. You can check in for your flight, too.
  3. Real-time updates: Get instant updates on gate changes, delays, cancellations and where to grab your bags.

Make the worst-case a little less bad

You know what I’m talking about, right? A canceled or delayed flight. Before I leave for the airport, I look up my trip on FlightAware. If your plane is stuck in a different city, you’ll see that here before your airline updates its app.

In the case of a canceled flight, don’t follow the folks standing in a huge line or waiting on hold for 30 minutes. The trick is to rebook through the app. You’ll shortcut those lines.

See if the credit card you booked with offers trip insurance. Coverage varies and it can be hard to understand all the intricacies, so call your card company to discuss options. They might pay for a hotel room when the airline won’t.

‘Hi, I landed’

Before you take off, text your airline and flight number, such as “Southwest Airlines 1175,” to the person picking you up. They can tap on the message to open a flight tracker if they have an iPhone. It shows the flight’s progress and estimated arrival time.

If your ride uses an Android, they can do a web search for the airline and flight number to see the same info. Still easy!

And don’t forget, traveler

When something goes wrong, there’s probably a jerk ready to make it worse. If you run into any problems with your flight — you overslept, missed your connection, booked the wrong ticket, left your laptop on the plane — do not Google “(airline) phone number.”

It’s easier than you’d think for someone to buy a top spot in the search results to push a scam phone number. That’ll make a bad day downright terrible.

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