By Stacy Dreyfus

Dreading holiday flights? Use the Girl Scout motto and be prepared for Midway mayhem and OÕHare overload with these sound suggestions:

  1. Pick your seat wisely. If you drink a lot of water—or another $4 beverage of choice—booking an aisle seat is smart. Aisle seats are also a great idea if youÕre single, just in case you want to chat to that attractive guy across the aisle (guilty!). But, if youÕre a snoozer on flights, book a window seat to keep from being bothered in the midst of an Ambien-induced dream.
  2. One wordÉZIPLOC. ItÕs not even an option now, but IÕd advise packing toiletries in plastic baggies regardless of the new travel rules—keeps your Fekkai shampoo from opening and spilling on your suede Ferragamo boots.
  3. Do NOT wrap any gifts youÕre carrying onboard. Most online shopping sites and stores generally offer complimentary shipping for the holidays (Extra tipÉshipping often saves you money on paying tax). Try, or
  4. Ship your luggage in advance. The airlines are losing more bags than ever these days. If you have lots of bags, or are making several connecting flights, shipping is practically a necessity. Visit, or, if you prefer additional packing Ōhelp,Ķ
  5. Arrive at the airport early. At least two hours prior to domestic flights and three hours for international flights. (I know, you keep hearing this, but more than anything, arriving early keeps your stress level down.) Extra tip after you arrive early: Take the money you saved on shipping and paying no tax on tip #3 and treat yourself to a membership with Continental Airlines PresidentÕs Club, TheyÕre one of the few airline clubs that offer complimentary wines and spirits—cheers!
  6. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Or, at least stash it in your handbag so the alarms donÕt delay you. Plus, this way you wonÕt accidentally leave your jewels and baubles at the security machine (guilty again!) in your haste to catch your flight (should you have not followed tip # 5).
  7. Wear socks. Expect to remove your shoes - even flip-flops - so wear socks. Then your tootsies wonÕt have to touch the germy airport floor. Also a good idea if you didnÕt have time to get a pre-trip pedicure!
  8. Bring your own blanket. If you tend to get cold on flights and donÕt like using the blankets the airlines provide (understandably!) check out They make the perfect compact fleece wrap with a front pocket to hold your Ipod or MP3 player, and a foot pocket so you donÕt have to touch the carpeting on the airplane (a moot point if you followed my rule about socks in tip #7).

Hotel/travel expert Stacy Dreyfus is the president of Orchid, a sales, marketing & partnership agency. Working to promote and open new hotels, Stacy spends about 10 days a month jetting from Chicago, to New York, London, Miami and Los Angeles.