Hubs and I travel well together. I'm usually spastic and unraveled and he's calm and laid-back, which makes for a perfectly balanced pair. Over the years, we have made "rules" to live by when we are on the road.
Being in a generation where smartphones have run rampant, it's hard not to flip that "satellite dish" out and check emails, Facebook, and whatnot. I'm married to an IT guy, it's expected that he has a relationship with his gadgets. But when we are out to dinner, our phones stay in our handbag/pocket. So we've also adapted that to when we travel. Laptops stay locked away at home. We are mostly "offline". And it's worked marvelously. It feels great to shut out the world and focus on us and our new surroundings. To be "in the moment".
2) No flights earlier than 8AM
From experience, I just don't do well in the mornings. At all. Even with a full night' sleep. With the added travel stress, I am affectionately called "the dragon lady". I get too ramped up to sleep the night before any trip. It's like Christmas morning for a kid, for me. It even makes me more upset when I look over and see Hubs soundly asleep and the time glowing on the alarm clock in the dark - making me more stressed. It doesn't help that Hubs is so chipper and won't shut up once it's time to be up and at it. Lesson learned: NO EARLY FLIGHTS for our sanity's sake.
3) Clean House
Nothing like coming home from vacation to a clean house and fresh sheets that were changed right before we left. I can't tell you how good it feels after traveling long distances to lay down on crisp clean sheets and blankets. I believe it helps with jet lag (even if it's just a little bit).
4) Pack a carry-on like you would for a long weekend
Our carry-on bags are always equipped with at least FOUR outfits. You never know these days with airlines. For instance, you remember that "snowmageddon" storm the Mid-Atlantic was pummeled with in December 2009? Well, we were suppose to leave THAT very day for our honeymoon. We finally got on our way two days later, but the airlines lost our luggage on a flight that NEVER LEFT the terminal. Thank god for our carry-on bags. Although, when we were getting ready to get on our second leg, the airline threatened to check our carry-on bags, because they wouldn't fit into the overhead compartments. After all we'd been through, I really had a "Meet the Parents" moment with the airline staff and Hubs had to calm me down so we didn't get kicked off that flight for causing a scene. And yes, I did say almost all the same things as Ben Stiller's character, minus the bomb part ;)
5) Not being sucked into tourist traps!
Research the places that you will be staying and where to eat when you're visiting an unfamiliar vacation destination. I can't stress this enough. Many times you run into places where there are people outside the restaurants hailing to "come eat here" and "we have the best ______". Strike up conversations with locals for suggestions. Usually you're not steered the wrong direction. We've gotten many of our best travel meals just from that!