Most frequent flyers will tell you, the key to making travel efficient is all in the planning. From making reservations well in advance, allowing yourself plenty of time to navigate through security, to packing smart, the best way to take some of the stress out of traveling is to plan ahead as much as possible. Here is a series of expert tips to ensure your travel experience is first class all the way, no matter where you’re headed.
- Avoid extra fees. Plan ahead if you are checking a bag, or ensure your carry on meets FAA and airline requirements and size restrictions. Use your smartphone as your boarding pass to avoid printing fees (and save trees), pay in advance and find coupons to save on Wi-Fi. Generally, if you purchase Wi-Fi before you board your flight, it can cost significantly less than if you wait until you reach your seat.
- B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Food!). Nothing puts a damper on the thrill of a getaway faster than a soggy sandwich that costs $12. For the sake of convenience and cost effectiveness, bring along your favorite snacks to avoid becoming “hangry” and/or poor. A great combo is a homemade salad to nosh on while waiting at the gate, and then a bag of almonds and some fancy chocolates to enjoy in-flight. Think of it this way, if you’re bringing something healthy from home, you won’t feel so bad splurging on an airport treat like fro-yo, a smoothie, or a gigantic cinnamon roll with that amazing gooey glaze that you can’t get at home. It’s okay to indulge; you’re on vacation, after all.
- Drink up. Bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at a drinking fountain on the way to your gate. Not only is it better for the environment, but you will be happy and hydrated while wait to board the aircraft, take off, reach your cruising altitude, and wait again until the beverage cart finally reaches you. Plus, staying hydrated helps fight off jet lag so you’re ready to start the fun as soon as you touch down at your destination.
- Invest in a good travel pillow. You can get some quality shut eye in those economy seats, but only with the right gear. If you want to avoid neck pain, a quality neck pillow is key. Pro-tip: an eye mask makes a great compliment to a neck pillow for the most restful sleep. It’s a wearable do not disturb sign.
- Don’t leave home without earphones. Earphones are right up there on the list with your wallet and your kid. If you inadvertently leave on of those behind, the rest of your trip will surely be a disaster. Seriously, you need earphones for air travel for a variety of reasons: to drown out noise that may interfere with your travel zen, to send the message to your seat neighbor that you’re not interested in hearing why they were in Memphis, and of course to catch a movie or some in-flight TV. The possibilities are endless, but only if you have earphones!
- Be strategic when selecting a seat. Whether you’re a nervous flyer, someone with a tiny bladder, or just looking for some peace and quiet, there’s a seat that’s perfect for you. If you are a person who will need to get up a few times during the flight, or you’re tall, then an aisle seat will allow you to get up as much as possible without disrupting other passengers. Travel and Leisure recommends choosing a seat forward on the wings, for a quieter ride with less jet noise. If you have a connection to make, a seat closest to the front is your best bet for quickly getting off a flight and on to the next.
- Get Cozy. Don’t forget to bring a scarf, sweater or cozy sweatshirt (style tip: pairs well with eye-mask for chic travel affect) or even a blanket to keep warm, particularly at higher altitudes. Socks are nice to have, too and can make all the difference.
- Bring along some toiletries. The recycled air and lack of ventilation can really take a toll on your skin. Be sure to bring along a small spray bottle of water, some light moisturizer, lip balm, and gum. This is the perfect combination to keep you looking and feeling fresh.
Travel is about exploration, expansion, and experience. Get out there and enjoy yourself in comfort and style, ready for anything – because you live life on the go!