7 things every traveler should start doing in 2018

Let's start the New Year right!

— -- I fly a lot but still have my share of travel snafus.

The good news is you can usually learn a little something from mistakes so let me share seven things all travelers should start doing (or remember to do) in the coming year.

1. Make the appointment

2. Do not pack anything you ‘might’ wear

3. Do not rile up the baggage police

4. Ditch your valuables

5. Save your surprises

Don’t do what an Anchorage flyer did recently; that traveler’s bag contained a surprise for the TSA in the form of a “live smoke and illumination signal flare”; then there was the flyer at Raleigh-Durham’s airport whose cane concealed a hidden sword. Security people do not like surprises, nor do they allow flares on planes or swords in cabins. You can also run into problems with less radical surprises such as wrapped presents – and the gifts will likely be unwrapped for you so the contents can be verified. Please, no surprises.

6. Add 15 minutes to airport arrival time

New security regulations actually loosen some of the rules concerning electronics on planes but the TSA can also subject travelers to short interviews that can mean longer lines at security. Be smart, get to the airport early.

7. You lost your wallet; don’t lose your head

Wallets can get lost or stolen so before you begin any trip, be sure someone back home has copies of your credit cards and other important info (or your traveling companion does). As for getting through security without ID, you will have to submit to an interview with a TSA officer so get to the airport early. I know people who’ve gone through this; they said it was no big deal. Nevertheless, this is another case where getting to the airport earlier than usual will be helpful.

Rick Seaney is the CEO of FareCompare, a website that curates the best deals on flights from around the world. Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.