Do you enjoy or dread air travel? Contrary to most people, I find flying both productive and relaxing. Coming from someone who spent more nights in hotels in the first half of 2015 than in her apartment, I learned to adapt and thrive to a travel-heavy schedule. Life in the air is not all that bad – if you make just a few adjustments.
Think I’m crazy? Well, let me share a few things I’ve picked up over the years. Whether you have an upcoming business trip or vacation, these tips will help you have a more enjoyable flying experience.
1. Relax. Mindset is everything – it will make or break your trip. (And your life!) If you think your experience is going to be stressful, it likely will be! Most travelers stress out and get anxious for no reason. 98% of the time, you will get to where you need to go with no problems. GO WITH THE FLOW. Smile. Be nice to strangers, airline employees, and even the TSA employees. You would be amazed how a genuine, “How is your day going?” can affect someone’s demeanor and attitude.
2. Bring your own water bottle. Make sure it’s empty when you arrive at the airport, then fill up once you’re through security. Or you can chug it before you go through the scanner. (I may or may not be speaking from experience!) Regardless the tactic you choose, it’s always a good idea to hydrate when you travel.
3. Travel Clothing. These are not your Mom’s travel trips… you can leave your lame sneakers and fanny pack at home. Wear what you normally wear every day or when you run weekend errands. Important things to do: Make sure you have some pockets and layer! Wear pants with pockets or a jacket with pockets, this is for easy access to your phone and anything else you need to quickly stow. Layering is important because the temperature from outside, to the airport, to on the plane can be drastically different. Wear a sweater or jacket that you can easily put on/take off. Pro-tip: If you have a jacket/suit coat, here’s how to fold it.
4. Personal item. This is your bag in addition to your main luggage/suitcase. Be sure it can fit over your luggage handles so you can maneuver easily. You should be able to fit your wallet, laptop (if needed), essential chargers, and water bottle comfortably in this bag. And don’t be a dick, put it under your seat. Unless you are a giant and need ALL that room for your legs. Ladies: I love this laptop bag, so easy to put on the travel shell!
5. Suitcase. If your trip is less than ten days, pack everything in a carry-on. There are only a few reasons you (1) need a larger bag or (2) need to check a bag: it’s winter, you’re traveling for more than ten days (in this case, I would still argue a smaller bag is better), or you have special equipment. This one step is HUGE: you don’t have to get to the airport super early to check in, your luggage is with you, you can exit the airport quickly, fewer/no fees, etc.
6. Electronics. Have your phone and computer chargers easily accessible, leave with a full charge on both. Put your phone battery on low power mode. If you want any movies, music, or books, be sure to download for offline use before you get to the airport. Pro-tip: Your iPhone will charge the fastest when plugged into your computer!
7. Packing. This was a GAME CHANGER for me. Separate your clothes into 3 or 4 bags within your suitcase: work/play (these could be together or separate), workout, socks/underwear/sleep. This has completely changed my approach to packing and keeps me sane when I have a quick turn-around from trip-to-trip. Pro-tip: Before you start packing, make a list of what YOUR travel essentials/non-negotiables are. What do you HAVE to have? For me: wallet, laptop, phone, headphones, chargers, chapstick, jacket or sweater, workout clothes.
8. Liquids. Put your liquid items close to the top of your carry-on so you can grab easily for security. Yes, even if you have TSA pre-check, you never know when they may re-direct you and every airport is different.
9. Flight deets. Download the app of whatever airline you’re flying. Check in online 24 hours before. (Huge time saver.) Ditch the paper, you’ll get better and quicker travel updates online. And you can change your seat super easily. For most airlines, the database that customer service has is the same one you have access to, so it’s actually easier to make changes on your own.
10. Be a (travel) minimalist. Take less than you need, make sure you have extra space. This goes for clothes, books, electronics, and more. For some reason, when packing to come home, my suitcase always seems more full, even if I haven’t purchased anything new. Remember, most times, you can buy whatever you’ve forgotten!
Now it’s your turn – What did I forget? What tip is the most helpful? What don’t you agree with? What’s your favorite part about traveling? Let me know!