Stressless Wonder

To Grandmother’s house we go. On hideously packed planes, in embarrassingly unglamorous flying conditions. Can anything ease the pain? Just a little?

Park It
Speeding down the airport ramp, way late for your flight, you read the death warrant: “LOT FULL.” You lost the game of parking-lot roulette. Next time, check AboutAirportParking.com before you go to find the best places to park at more than 100 airports, reserve ahead, get maps, and check for services like valet.

Carry It
Many airlines (American, Continental, Northwest, United, US Airways, Frontier, AirTran, and Spirit) now charge $15 each way for the first checked bag (the. nerve.), and Delta starts soon. (Funny, most still want a fuel surcharge though gas prices have dropped.) Southwest and Virgin America still offer free checked bags, but the smart call is to carry on only. Bulky coat and boots? Wear them on board.

carry on!Lug It
Which brings us to the incredible shrinking carry-on. Airlines are playing gotcha! with new restrictions, maxing out at 22 inches high. The solution? A sleek Bree in gray felt with yellow lining or a super-light silver Delsey rolly (anything but black).

Bottle It
Most airlines won’t offer you so much as a bottle of water. And forget the meal, not that you’ll miss it. Little did we know you can BYO empty water bottle through security and then fill it at a water fountain. (It worked at JFK, LAX, and Hartsfield Atlanta, among others.) Thanks, but no thanks, for that funky airplane tap water.

Switch It
Think you’re beating currency conversion charges by using your credit card? Ha. Visa and MasterCard charge a 1 percent fee; some banks tack on an extra 2 percent. Which means those darling $200 Italian boots really cost $206. With many major banks (that means you, Citibank, HSBC, and Bank of America), you’ll pay a total of 3 percent in fees. Capital One? Nada. It pays to shop for a no-fee card.

You’ve totally earned an extra helping of Gram’s apple crumble.