Everyone loves the idea of a nice, relaxing vacation. However, the reality of traveling is often a bit different than we’d like to envision; the costs, planning, and especially the traveling itself can quickly turn a pleasant getaway into a stressful ordeal.
Booking your flight and boarding that plane (not to mention actually having to be on the plane) shouldn’t take away from the excitement of your vacation, which is why I’ve gathered five of my favorite flying tips as an experienced air traveler to share with you.
1. Don’t check a bag
You might be gasping as you read this, but seriously, checking a bag is way more hassle than it’s worth. Most airlines allow you to bring two carry-on items (within certain weight limits). I always bring a backpack that can be stowed away under my seat, as well as a medium-sized suitcase that can be put in the overhead compartment (check with your airline to see their specific carry-on size requirements).
This way, when you embark and disembark, you know you have all your luggage right there with you. There’s no need to wait in the baggage claim or stress about whether or not your luggage has been lost.
2. Go liquid free
This definitely does not mean don’t drink water (you should always drink a ton of water while traveling). Rather, when packing, try not to bring any liquids along. This means opting for a shampoo bar rather than that travel-sized bottle or bringing bar soap and toothpaste tablets rather than the typical liquid-based options.
This will make TSA much faster and easier, and you won’t have to toss anything out if goes a but over the ounce limit. Also, make sure to empty your water bottles before security; I’ve had to throw away a couple of very nice water bottles due to this mistake…
3. Use headphones (not earbuds)
Most people nowadays opt for AirPods or other Bluetooth earbuds over bulky headphones. However, when you’re on a plane, headphones are far superior. It can get pretty loud on your flight, and headphones help block out noise much better than earbuds do.
Also, earbuds can get a bit uncomfortable on a long flight; headphones tend to be more pleasant and cushy for your ears when you’re flying overnight. I’ve personally found that while earbuds are my go-to for everyday wear, I just can’t board a flight without my headphones, too.
4. Use your airline app
No matter which airline you use, I can almost guarantee that they have an app. You have to download that app before arriving at the airport; I promise it will make your travel day much simpler.
Before you even get to the airport, you can check in and sometimes even get a TSA pre-check. Most apps also allow you to track your flight status, boarding time, view a map of the airport, and sometimes even locate and enter lounges while you wait.
5. Pack snacks
Pack as many snacks as you can fit! You are absolutely allowed to bring food on an airplane (if flying internationally, just no fruit). By bringing snacks from home, you save money and end up eating better than you would at the airport or on the plane.
In-flight meals are rarely high quality, and often pretty unappetizing. And airport food is ridiculously expensive, so just save yourself the trouble and bring your own.
6. Bring an inflatable neck pillow
After various flights around the globe, ranging from 3-12 hours, I would never go anywhere without my inflatable neck pillow. Neck pillows are a staple for many during airline travel, but they can be big and bulky and take up way too much space.
By using an inflatable one, you can save a ton of room in your bag. And trust me, they’re just as comfortable as the regular ones, if not more so. This is one of my absolute favorite flying tips, and I don’t often hear people mention this!
7. Dress in layers
Dressing comfortably is obviously very important when traveling, but dressing in layers will also make your journey that much more enjoyable. It’s hard to know how warm or cold it will be in the airport or on the plane itself, as the temperature seems to fluctuate quite a bit.
I would suggest wearing lightweight exercise pants or bike shorts, a tank top or t-shirt, and a sweater or hoodie. You’ll be comfy and you’ll be able to adjust to whatever temperature it is no matter where you’re departing from or arriving at.
8. Avoid jetlag
Especially when you’re flying internationally, jet lag is one of the worst things about traveling. Before you board your flight, though, you can get a jump on this and avoid being tired for your whole trip!
The app Timeshifter will help you gradually adjust your body’s clock before you go on your vacation. This way, over time, you’ll change your sleep schedule to be right on track for wherever you’re headed if the time difference is an entire day!
9. Stay hydrated
This is one of those flying tips that might seem pretty obvious, but it’s so important to drink water when you’re traveling. It’s easy to get dehydrated on a long travel day, but it will make you feel extra exhausted and sometimes even a bit sick.
This also means you should be keeping your skin hydrated, too. One of my favorite flying tips is to pack along a little face moisturizer to reapply throughout the day; it can get really dry on airplanes, and the air will be different in every part of the world. Drinking water and hydrating your skin will help you feel so much more refreshed for your vacation!
10. Utilize airport lounges
This one can be a bit of a splurge, but it’s one of the best flying tips I can give. Frequent flyers can get access to the airline lounge that they’re a member of, but for those who don’t fly very often, you can still take advantage of this!
Day passes at almost every airline lounge are around $50 or less, and while this might seem a little expensive, this is a must for when you have a long layover. Airline lounge amenities typically include free, high-speed internet, food, drinks, and snacks, and full bathrooms with showers. If your layover is more than a couple hours, this is totally worth it!