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Travel Hacks 101: Anne’s Travel Tips for a Flawless Flight

by Anne Assassi | 1 year ago

Whether you have an upcoming vacation, business trip, or flight to see your family for a 2018 reunion, it’s important to make your way there as flawless as possible. There is no question that stress-free travel is the best way to secure your sanity!  If you need tips on packing for your flights, you can see my Top 10 Favorite Packing Tips in my previous post here.

Between traveling abroad to locations like Thailand, Jamaica, Panama, and Portugal over the last few years to traveling even more domestically, I have taken trips that were absolutely incredible. But flawless flights? Not always. From being guilty of slowing down security lines to fetch my buried laptop in my carry-on to raw hunger that kicked in right as my flight was boarding, I have had plenty of reasons to take notes to make future flights run smoother.

If it’s been a while since you last traveled and you can’t quite put your finger on what changes would make your next trip a little easier, don’t worry. I have you covered.

Here are some of my favorite travel hacks that will hopefully get you from point A to point B with little worry and your nerves in tact!

Booking your Flight 

Book your Trip in Advance

Long before you start packing, you might want to consider how far in advance to book your plane ticket to save a little extra cash for your trip.

According to a study by CheapAir.com, domestic flights within the United States and internationally between the US, Canada, Mexico, and Central America are cheapest about two months in advance.

Looking to sip cocktails on the stunning beaches of the Caribbean or Brazil? Top shelf spirits will sound much more reasonable if you book flights to those locations about two and a half months out.

If you can think even further ahead than that, you’re in luck for your cheapest fare between the United States, Europe, and Asia. These flights are best booked about three months out.

Where do you need the most time to book ahead? Africa and the Middle East are best booked about four months before your trip to get the best bang for your buck.

Don’t Forget to Select your Seat!

Want to sit next to your significant other, family members, or BFF on a long flight? Then remember to select your seats after you book your ticket. This includes connecting flights as well. Sitting next to strangers can be fun on occasion, but you may not like that option if you were planning to sleep on your spouse’s shoulder for the bulk of the trip!

Word to the wise: be mindful about booking your seat next to an emergency exit. You may be up for the challenge in case of an emergency, but if you don’t speak the language of the country in which you’re arriving or you’re less than 15 years old, you will be bumped from those seats faster than you can say “hasta la vista, Baby!”

Before the Trip

Use a Checklist App to Organize What to Pack and Errands You Need to Run

I use an app that organizes my packing checklist and the errands I need to run before the trip all in one list. My go-to app is AnyList, which you can download to your phone or MacBook or use in a web browser. Every time I think of an item to bring or a last-minute errand in the days and hours before I leave – like handing off spare keys to my house sitter or charging my electronics before the flight – I add it to the checklist. There is no better peace of mind than knowing I won’t forget anything important before I leave.

My Travel List includes the following categories:

  • Clothing
  • Personal Care/Health
  • Electronics
  • Travel Documents
  • Errands Before the Trip
  • General Reminders

Keep Your Luggage Light

Even if your airline allows you to check a bag, I recommend that you only bring the following:

One carry-on: If you’re traveling for two weeks or less, there’s no reason to pack more than a carry-on. While spending less time at the baggage claim is always a plus after a long trip, you also won’t run the risk of the airline losing your luggage. Arriving at your destination without your pajamas can be a major bummer!

One personal item: My favorite personal item is a backpack because it is the best way to organize what I’ll need for the flight and is also large enough to fit anything I couldn’t fit into my carry-on bag. You’ll benefit from a backpack that has space for a laptop and several other compartments for what you might need on the plane, ranging from your toothbrush to a portable phone charger to convenient pockets that keep your travel documents at arm’s reach when you need them.

What to wear 

Comfortable Closed-Toed Shoes: I skated by injury-free for years just wearing sandals on flights to get through TSA quickly. But I learned my lesson last year after seriously scraping my foot on a sharp corner next to my window seat. Ouch! Keep your feet safe by wearing closed-toed shoes. Lace-free shoes work just as well as flip-flops through TSA anyway.

Layered Clothing: Unless you’re a frequent flyer on a specific flight or airline and you can expect a consistent temperature, layering can really help regulate your body’s thermostat. It’s better to not find out that the temperature is too hot, too cold, or just right, Goldilocks-style, after you board the flight and realize you wore the wrong clothes!

Bulky, Heavy or Awkward-Fitting Clothing Items: Weather permitting and considering my layered clothing tip above, wear bulkier items like heavy jackets or boots to save on space in your carry-on.

Health and Wellness

If you usually feel tired or out-of-it after a flight, below are a few tips to keep you feeling better than usual:

Bring Snacks and a Reusable Water Bottle

Traveling can be stressful enough without going hungry or thirsty! Save yourself some stress and pack a couple hundred calories between now and when the flight attendants give you a snack. Ideally the snack will be high in protein to keep you satiated longer. A reusable water bottle will come in handy because you can drink or toss the water when you reach security, but you won’t have to toss the entire container and will be able to refill later.

Avoid salty foods

If you’re prone to swelling after a flight, eating foods lower in salt can help prevent the swelling in the first place. Eating foods or drinking beverages high in potassium, like bananas, yogurt, or coconut water can help to prevent swelling as well.

Yoga Breathe

Mindful breathing can help to keep you calm in stressful airport situations. If you find out that your security line is longer than expected, utilize some yoga breathing! I tend to opt for sama vritti, or “equal breathing,” as much as possible when the unexpected arises. Simply inhale in through your nose for four seconds and then exhale through your nose for four seconds. Continue this breathing pattern until your nerves feel less frazzled, which may take several minutes.

Bring Hand Sanitizer

You don’t have to be a germophobe to know that hand sanitizer can go a long way to prevent you from getting sick during and after your trip. So bring it! You can never be too careful.

Long Flight? Pack your Sleep Gear

My favorite flights are red-eyes because I can sleep like a baby even if I’m sitting up straight. That doesn’t mean I don’t need additional protections to stay asleep, however! A sleep mask, earplugs, and a travel pillow can definitely keep the jet lag at bay if you’re flying through multiple time zones.

At the airport

My last tip is enough to make the last moments of your flight prep a breeze:

Arrive early

If you follow all of the tips above and arrive to the airport with plenty of time to spare (ideally 2-3 hours for international flights or 90 minutes for domestic flights), you will likely achieve the ultimate travel reward: A Flawless Flight.

After achieving this award, you can officially sit back and relax in the boarding area and look forward to your arrival!