Simple travel tip: USPS flat rate large box

When I travel on business, I occasionally do pick up things from my travels, such as interesting trade show giveaways, the random souvenir, client materials, etc. After a few trips, you learn to minimize what you pack and travel with. Going on the road is easy – you have total control over what you pack. Coming back after travel? You can get some interesting wildcards in your luggage.

Consider then, what it costs to bring some extra stuff back:


Depending on what you’re carrying, the checked baggage fee may cost more than the items are worth.

For less stress, less heavy lifting, and less money, this has become my new best friend:


The USPS charges $18 for half a cubic foot of space. Granted, that’s not as large as a checked bag, but I don’t have to carry it with me. On my most recent business trip, I had a half cubic foot of extra stuff, and this did the trick. $18 later, my luggage was about 15 pounds lighter and I didn’t have to worry about fitting into an overhead compartment nearly as much. In fact, for future trips, I may be able to even ship basics and avoid the larger bag entirely.

Next time you’ve got some business travel and a little more cargo than you anticipated, don’t forget about the $18 box from the Post Office.

Disclosure: I was not compensated or asked to write about the Post Office’s large box.

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How to pack a suit in a roller bag

One of the banes of travel for me has traditionally been the garment bag, which has been a royal pain in the butt. It’s large and unwieldy, it fits poorly in overhead compartments, and it gets jostled and crushed so much in the travel process that the garments inside don’t arrive any less wrinkled. I figured there had to be another way to get your clothing from point A to point B without arriving looking like a refugee from Wrinklestan, and I found one after asking YouTube from the folks at Check out this method! I managed to get 4 days of business clothes (including 2 suits and 3 dress shirts) to San Francisco and needed almost no straightening or ironing when I arrived.

How to pack a bag with a lot of clothing:

How to add a suit on top and make it arrive in decent condition:

Give it a try – I did and I’m sold on the method now.

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9 amusing travel hacks


As someone who travels more often than I’d like, I do occasionally pick up useful little tips and tricks for making life on the road more tolerable. Here are a random assortment.

1. Hotel coffee. Treat it like a teabag. Read this post for the full details!

2. Forgot toothpaste? Or, if you’re cheap like me and refuse to pay (at some hotels) $9 for a wafer-thin packet of toothpaste, take a hefty pinch of salt or 2 paper salt packets from a fast food restaurant and dissolve them in 1/8th cup of warm water. Brush with this heavy saltwater solution in your mouth and it will clean your teeth and reduce bad breath surprisingly well. It’s not a substitute for proper dental care at home, but on the road it works in a pinch.

3. Shower with the bathroom door open if privacy permits. Most hotels use a forced air system of some kind for heating and cooling, which tends to dry out the room air quickly. In the humid summer, this is wonderful, but at other times of the year, this can lead to nosebleeds. If privacy and decency permit, shower with the bathroom door open so that the moist vapor gets into the room. If you can’t do that, then soak a large bath towel with water and drape it over one of the metal luggage racks for the evening, ideally placed near where the air blows into the room. If you’re really desperate for some humidity, run the in-room coffee maker with the lid off and with just plain water a few times.

4. Sign up for every frequent traveler program available. Even if you don’t have a ton of points, just having a membership number can get you an occasional upgrade if the hotel is far below capacity.

5. Always, always, ALWAYS travel with good manners and etiquette. Treating the hotel staff with kindness is not only the right thing to do, but occasionally you benefit from it, too.

6. If you’re concerned about safety, aim to book for the second floor. The first floor/ground level is too easy to break into. Above the third floor and you might not survive if you jump. From the second floor, you’re probably going to sprain or break something when you land, but you’ll likely survive and you’ll get out quickly in case of a fire with exits blocked. And for goodness sake, know where the fire exits are on your floor.

7. Got lousy water at your hotel? Get some ice from the ice machine. In addition to cooling down the water (thus reducing its apparent taste, because cold numbs the tongue), many ice machines have a water filter built into them, so if you load up a glass packed full of ice with some warm tap water, you should get a nice, balanced glass of water that’s cool to drink and cleaner than straight tap.

8. Suck at ironing? If you’ve got at least 4 hours between arrival and when you’re supposed to be presentable, load up the in-room iron with water. Unless it’s a super cheap model, it has a spray function that works like a mister, even if the iron isn’t plugged in. Mist down your suit or formal clothes with a fine mist all over to relax the fabric, then hang to dry. Works even better if you can hang clothes near where the air vent is blowing.

9. Have to practice your talk? Bring an HDMI cable. Many rooms have nice flat screen TVs that you can hook your laptop into and practice your presentations as though you were on-stage.

What are your favorite travel hacks? Leave them in the comments!

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