Flying can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but budget travel presents its own set of discomforts. Here are ten things to help you minimize the challenges of budget flights.
1. Find the most comfortable seats on SeatGuru. They have color-coded seating maps for most major airlines. They include seat widths and pitches, which seats have no windows, which have limited legroom and proximity to the restroom.
2. Register with TSA PreCheck and sail through screening. Save the hassle of taking off your belt, shoes, and jackets. You also don’t have to remove your laptop from its bag. To fill out the form go here. It’s $85 for 5-years and will also require an interview at one of their centers.
3. Check in early. There is nothing more stressful than rushing to catch a flight.
4. If your layover is going to be more than three or four hours, spring for access to a lounge. You can charge your phone and laptop. It is less crowded, and you can get a free drink and snack without the usual lines. Many of the airport clubs sell a day pass even if you are not traveling with them.
5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring a jacket to stay warm on chilly flights. You can even bring a small pillow for a more extended flight. Carry an extra pair of socks in case your feet get cold. The floor can be drafty on planes.
6. Bring an eye mask and noise canceling headphones. Minimizing visual and audio noise can reduce flight stress and unwanted conversation. Play your favorite song or podcast.
7. Planes are gross. A lot of germy people file through an airplane. The seatback tray table and seat pocket and the overhead air vent have the most cooties. Use antibacterial wipes to clean the areas you touch the most. Wash your hands with hot water and soap everytime you use the lavatory.
8. Get up from time to time. Sitting for more than four hours can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Stroll down the aisle once an hour on a long flight. Stretch in your seat when possible.
9. Stay hydrated. Water is the key to combating jetlag. Skip the coffee, soda, and alcohol. Pack a few extra snacks for the trip too. That way you aren’t at the mercy of 10 salty peanuts.
10. Buy trip insurance. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to cover your expenses if your trip is canceled because you fell ill, there was a death in the family, or a killer storm shut everything down. Trip insurance will also often cover the cost of a lost or stolen suitcase or medical emergency. If you are traveling overseas make sure to consult with your insurance agent to purchase the appropriate coverage.
What are your budget flight tips? Please leave your comments below.
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