Here are 13 tips to help you travel like a pro!
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
As a general rule of thumb, give yourself at least 2 hours, both before an international departure and for any connections you need to make. Plan for 1 1/2 hour at a large airport for domestic travel and 1 hour for a smaller domestic airport. Don’t expect the plane to wait for you, it won’t. If your flight is important, build in extra time for mishaps.
2. Use the Airline App to Check-In
Check-in online, the line for online check-in/bag drop only is usually shorter than the regular check-in line. That means less time is needed prior to going through security, as you’ll already have your boarding pass on your phone.
3. Portable Power Bank
There have been so many times where I did not have an outlet available to charge my phone. A portable power bank has been a life saver. If you are relying on your electronics for work, comfort or entertainment, a power bank is a must. There are lots of options out there at various price points. This is the one I use.
4. Use a TSA Approved Lock
Lock your checked bag. It won’t always stop things from getting stolen, but it will help deter thieves. Airport security does have the right to open your bag for inspection though, so to avoid them damaging your bag make sure you use a TSA approved lock. Airport security has a ‘master key’ to open the lock safely. They should lock it for you again once their check is complete.
5. Photograph Your Stuff
There has been plenty of times my bag did not make it to my destination on the same flight as me. If your bag does not meet you at your destination airport luggage carousel go to the lost luggage counter and file a claim.
If you’ve taken a picture of your checked luggage it will help the courtesy clerk easily identify the type of bag they need to be looking for. Keep track of the luggage receipts that you get at check-in it will make it much easier to track your bag if you have your identifying luggage number!
For list of documents you will want to photograph or email yourself click here.
6. Spring for the Pay-For-Use Lounge Access
Most airports have paid-access lounges, so when you are stuck on a 8-hour layover, it can be worth the extra fee. Having a bite to eat, a shower, and a place to change your clothes during an extra long layover is priceless. However, avoid paying full price; buy your pass in advance. Flight “warehouses” like Expedia sell lounge passes at discounted prices.
7. Be Smart About Seat Selection
Personally, I like the aisle seat. I like to get up without disturbing my fellow passengers. If you’re travelling as a pair, book the window and aisle seat. Solo travellers are much less likely to pick a middle seat between two other passengers. If you really want to sit next to each other I’m pretty sure the other passenger would be delighted to swap seats with one of you so you can sit together.
How to avoid being the person everyone hates on a flight.
First of all bring a snack. You never know when you’ll be served the in flight snack or meal. Having a snack on hand can help avoid a “hangry incident”.
Secondly, order a special meal before you fly. My daughter is a vegan, I am a vegetarian. I order our meals when I book our tickets. The best part is usually, those with special meals are served first.
9. Drink Water
The number one cause of jet lag is dehydration. Bring an empty drink bottle with you to fill it up after security. Most airports will have a drinking fountain specifically for filling water bottles. Of course, they will offer you water on the plane, but now you won’t be at the mercy of the flight attendant. If you have a double walled stainless steel container it can make that cup of tea stay warmer longer. I just don’t recommend using it for coffee or your hot coffee will make your cold water taste aweful later on.
I’m all for enjoying a glass of wine but alcohol can contribute to jet lag and the sodium in soda will make you blow up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float.
10. Wear Comfy Clothes
I do not believe in looking pretty at the expense of comfort. I see some people traveling in high-fashion outfits, including stiletto heels. Why?
I often travel in a pair of leggings, an oversized short sleeve t-shirt and a cozy cardigan, paired with slip-on flats. Nearly everyone bloats on a plane and there is nothing more uncomfortable than feeling like a sausage in a casing too tight. Wearing layers makes it so much easier to get comfortable. Just add or remove a layer to adjust regulate your temperature.
11. Walk, Stretch, Walk
On long flights make sure you walk around from time to time – both on the plane and the airport. Keeping your blood circulating is important to keep your blood from clotting in your legs on a long flight.
12. Travel Wallet
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be functional. Keep all your travel documents together in a travel wallet. This includes your passport, flight details, itinerary, travel insurance details. (Don’t forget to pack your own pen!) Keeping everything all together will prevent you from digging through pockets and holding up the line looking for your documents.
13. Mobile Internet
While there is a lot you can do offline these days, getting online is still a priority for most of us. Letting loved ones know you arrived safely or booking your next hostel is important. There are a few options for digital nomads, check out your options here.