Because I'm a professional traveler, I'm often asked about my strategies to make any trip smoother. Here are four things I always do to ensure all goes well.

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1. Notify credit card companies and cellphone carriers about travel plans.

It can be a pain if you don't. Cards may be denied because they're being used in a place that doesn't fit your spending patterns. For foreign travel, I get a special international plan from my cellphone service provider that discounts data and roaming charges.

2. Pack light.

Using carry-on bags means no lost luggage or waiting at the carousel. One way to do it: Don't pack more than three pairs of footwear — something comfy, something dressy and sneakers if you run.

3. Choose early-bird flights.

Yes, that 6 a.m. plane can be a bear to get up for, but it probably came in last night and will be clean and ready to go. 

4. Photocopy or use your phone to photograph your ID or passport information page.

If your identification is lost or stolen, this easy act could mean you can still fly at a U.S. airport (subject to a more intensive TSA check) or get a passport replacement faster.  

Watch: Samantha Brown's travel survival tips