Travel Survival Tips: Airports & Flights
I recently returned from a three-week trip to the Netherlands, United Kingdom, India, and Hong Kong. I was on 13 planes, moved lodging 11 times, and literally flew around the globe.
One day while on a flight I was thinking about all the little things I do that help make my trips a bit less stressful and more fun. I have been traveling for so long I don’t even think about these little tricks, but I thought you might find them useful.
- I used to always arrive at the airport at the last minute, and one day I realized how silly that was. Yes, I might get to spend a little extra time at home, but there is so much I need to do on my laptop or reading to catch up on that it makes more sense to arrive at the airport early. Now I arrive early, go through all the check-ins with no stress, and relax at the gate.
- If I am going to be on an overnight plane, I always pick a seat in the back of the plane. If you look at the seating charts on planes, most people pick seats in the front. They would rather share a row with someone to get closer to the front. I always book way in the back because the chance I will get a row to myself is significantly higher.
- I am almost always the last one to get on the plane. I literally wait for last call and try to get on last. Unless you have a carry-on that needs to go in an overhead bin, this is a great strategy. I don’t have to stand in line, I spend less time on the plane, and most importantly, if there is a better seat or an empty row, I slip into it. I have scored many rows all to myself by doing this, which can be a blessing on a long flight.
- I request special meals. Whether you have special requirements or not, it is smart to order a special meal. Those who order a special meal get them served long before anyone else. Special meals are also normally much better quality.
- Having a neck pillow is nice on long flights, but they are so bulky to carry. I never seem to use it the way it is intended, but it bends nicely to be used as a general pillow while I am leaning against the plane wall. Instead of the typical bulky pillows, I use an inflatable neck pillow, which is great because I can deflate it and easily tuck it away.
- Wherever I go, I carry one of those canvas shopping bags that rolls up into a little ball. I do this because I never know when I might find something to buy that doesn’t fit in my bag. Also, some foreign countries have lower weight restrictions. You never know when you may need to pull some things out to make into a second carry-on, and these tote bags can save the day.
- A few years ago I would not have suggested this, but I have learned one-way flights have become quite cheap. Lately, when I am unsure of an agenda, I book my first leg, then book the others as plans fall into place. On this last trip, I had a round trip in and out of Amsterdam, then booked everything else via one-way flights as I went.
Hope these tips help! Save and fun travels!