1. Get a Priority Pass Card. I am currently writing this post from the 1st class lounge in Qatar, even though I only fly economy. Why? Because I splurged on a Priority Pass before I left for my travels, and it gives me access to over 600 first class lounges worldwide. I do not always make use of the card; when travelling with others, when I don't have much time before boarding or when I want to sit back and people watch I keep it in my wallet. However, these lounges translate into an endless supply of free food, magazines, newspapers, coffee, WiFi, spotless bathrooms and sometimes even a shower. And when you have 8 hours to kill in an airport with little amenities, all of the foregoing will be extremely exciting to you.

At $99-$350 per year (depending on the membership you choose) the card is certainly not cheap. However, everyone has a splurge - be it a night in a fancy hotel after months of hostels, expensive dinners or drinks, or clothes - and this one is mine. I've found that it has paid its way and then some over the course of my long haul flights, and has provided an oasis of calm and quiet during those times where I was too exhausted to think straight. An extra bonus: being the small trailrunner-clad backpacker in a sea of business suits.

Please let the record reflect that the hummus and lentil soup at Qatar's lounge are delicious.

2. Pack Your Clothes in Compression Sacks.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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