So it begins: The holidays are upon us, and with them, the crush of holiday travel.

Here, the best pearls of wisdom from Travel Genius, Bloomberg’s original podcast that delivers the cleverest solutions to your most common travel problems. Tips include our hosts’ original reporting, plus words of wisdom from Season 2’s guests, both recent and forthcoming. (Consider this your sneak peek to the weeks ahead.)

With their help, you’ll be well-armed to tackle any holiday travel stress—whether you’ve yet to solidify your plans, are stuck on your shopping list, or simply need to keep the peace amid airport chaos. It’s a holiday survival guide on supersmart steroids.

1.  Lexie Alford, recognized by Guinness World Records as the youngest person to visit every country in the world, says Skyscanner is “definitely the best for booking last-minute stuff. It’s the most reliable, and it shows many different options: the fastest route, the cheapest route. How many stops you want to make.” She says it also offers an alternative for greener choices. For example: “This flight emits 32% less CO₂ than average for your search.”

2. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If your dream hotel has rooms available, and the competitor down the street has better pricing, hop on the phone. Desk agents have a habit of giving in for the sake of a direct, guaranteed booking.

3. By the same token, ask what your hotel includes free of charge. Airport transfers, room service, non-motorized water sports equipment—Moti Ankari, a fashion influencer and co-creator of the menswear shoe brand, Ankari Floruss, has gotten all of these without adding a dime to the cost of his stays.

4. Skip the jewelry roll, and use a wine cork to stash your earrings, says venture capitalist Hitha Palepu, author of How to Pack. Chipping away bits of the cork also make for improvised backings, should one get lost.

5. Palepu’s other brilliant tip: Use a washed and dried prescription bottle to pack toiletries that don’t come in travel sizes. The shape of the bottles makes them easy to clean; tamper-proof lids mean they’ll never spill.

6. A tiny, tidy stain-removing kit will let you re-wear outfits with confidence. Include baby powder (for grease stains), dryer sheets (to keep everything smelling fresh—even your laundry compartment), and Shout wipes or a Tide pen. 

7. Don’t pack what a hotel can give you. Westins provides gym clothes on loan, points out Trevor Project Chief Executive Officer Amit Paley. Many hotels can offer up rain boots, hiking gear, dog beds, and other bulky goods your suitcase can do without.

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