Veteran travel journalist Laura Powell of The Daily Suitcase joined us with a brand-new series of summer vacation tips just in time for the first long weekend of the season.

Whether you’re leaving town for a Memorial Day cookout or preparing for that destination cruise in July, here are her strategies to ensure smooth sailing on all trips.

1. Plan together

Powell says all travelers should participate in the planning of their vacation time. Couples, families and groups should pick the destination and plan the itinerary together. This way, uncomfortable feelings and conversations can occur well in advance.

2. Do a test run

If you’re planning an extensive getaway with a new friend or significant other, Powell encourages trying out a ‘test run’ before booking it. A quick weekend trip could provide some insights into your travel partner’s habits and preferences that you may find insufferable over longer stretches.

3. Save money

If you’re planning on flying this season, consider registering for an airline-branded credit card. These earn you rewards and points toward your flights with every purchase. Powell says this can also shrink baggage fees and help you board earlier.

4. Pack practically

Instead of cramming all your clothes into one suitcase, Powell suggests distributing clothes among one or more bags to avoid an all-too-common disaster. If you do this, losing your luggage won’t be nearly as consequential.

For more expert travel tips and news, check out Powell’s blog at or her luxury vacations coverage for Skift at Want more articles like this? Follow Great Day Washington on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for more! Watch everyday at 9am on WUSA9.