Probably the most beneficial thing you can do is to rank up the Astrophysics skill. Rank 4 unlocks the following:
You can scan any planet or moon within 30 Light Years. You have a 50% chance to discover a trait when scanning.
Having a 50% chance to reveal a trait simply by scanning a planet should make this quite a bit faster. And being able to scan from lightyears away (i.e. nearby star systems) also helps, since you don't have to travel to a system each time. The first three ranks also have some useful benefits:
- Ability to scan moons of the current plan (rank 1)
- Ability to scan any moon or planet in the system you are in (rank 2)
- Ability to scan any moon or planet within 16 light years (rank 3)
Each rank also has a percent chance of discovering a trait (10%, 20% and 30% respectively), but rank 4 caps out at the highest of 50%.
In my experience however, I don't have this skill ranked up at all! Perhaps I didn't do a ton of exploring, but I did 100% at least 10-15 planets I'd say. For getting the traits, I would land my ship somewhere, open my scanner, and look for any "Life Signs", "Natural", or "Gravitational Anomaly" indicators on the HUD. Those are the ones that traits can be found at. If anything was within maybe ~700 meters, I'd make the journey to it. Essentially, I'd run to a location, scan it, fast travel somewhere else on the planet, and repeat. I personally didn't think it was a bad method for trying to find traits fast.
I would also use a skip boost pack to make horizontal movement faster when running to the locations (pro tip: unsure if this is a bug or not, but if you add a secondary key binding to your jump action, when you use the secondary key for your boost pack, you move significantly faster as I learned in this Twitch clip - this makes traversing planets much faster).