Let’s face that at this point nearly everyone participates in the taxing process of airplane rides. Last year alone, the U.S. scrounged up over 1 billion passengers on all U.S. bound flights, with something in the ballpark of 10 million total flights. The U.S. only has a population of about 327 million people, so it’s undoubtedly true that we are reliant on air travel for our vacations, work, and global travel in general.
Let’s also face that a disproportionate amount of time spent suspended in the air isn’t exactly comfortable. Learning that the average non-stop flight length this last year was just shy of 1000 miles, just instantly reminds me of all the cramps, missed sleep, and unpleasantness. Frankly, if you ask me, that’s too much time away from the bliss that is comfort and relaxation.
So thankfully, we’re here to help provide some insight on travel tips, and products that can help you go from first flight, to vip travel pro, without having to spend extraneous funds.
1) Benefit from Planning Ahead
The first and best step you can take for a seamless transition into flight is to do almost everything in advance. Try and book your flights at least a few months prior to departure. This allows you to find cheaper tickets, choose your preferred airline, and get a better gauge of how your traveling schedule is going to play out.
Also if you’ve never flown before, or even if you have, try and get an idea of what the airports you’ll be spending time in look like. Find the map online, or do some scouting on google maps. Getting the lay of the land will only streamline the entire process and will easily help alleviate some stress.
2) Packing Tips for Air Travel
Before you even begin packing, measure out your luggage and make sure they will either fit in the overhead compartments, or underneath your seats. Also compile a quick list of what you need and check off each item as you pack.
When you’re packing your stuff, do it all in advance. It’s been said before, and we’ve all heard it before, but conversely we’ve all been guilty of packing uncomfortably close to our flight. So pack well ahead of time, and pack smartly.
After you’ve finished packing, go ahead and weigh your luggage and compare to your airlines weight limits. The last thing you want to do while you’re going through the process is to try and shuffle your items around and end up carrying 3 pairs of shoes to avoid the additional fees.
3) Getting Through Security
The first thing you should know about flights, regardless of if this truly is your first solo flight or if you’re a work and travel pro, is that it’s an arduous process with rigorous process and a lot of steps. But despite all that, you don’t actually have to spend indiscriminately for a comfortable, and almost luxurious journey.
When booking a flight and setting up a vacation, or work related event, or what have you, the amount you prepare in advance will produce dividends through and through. Spending the additional 20 minutes utilizing some of these practices will undoubtedly benefit you.
Don’t wear anything with metal in or on it. Seems simple enough but really it slows the whole process down for everyone if you’re needing to take off your belt, watch, jacket, shirt, and socks each time.
Get a thorough understanding of the current liquid restrictions. It has to fit in that quart bag if you’re hoping to take it in your carry on.
Pack all your electronics together. This allows for you to remove your laptop, your charging cables, everything, all in one fell swoop.
Clothing. What you wear is very important, not only for going through TSA without issue, but also for the flight(s) as well. Wear comfortable and quick clothing. For shoes find some slip-ons, and if you’re able, avoid the 3 piece suit. If you can’t, secure yourself a carbon fiber belt.
4) Smart Tips to Help with Layovers and Delays
The best tip that anyone could give you in regards to plane onboarding are to be aware of your surroundings. If you find that your flight is delayed or cancelled, being more aware of other flights or other delays might make the process of finding that new way home that much easier.
Travel conditions are rough, and oftentimes stressful. Make sure that while you’re packing efficiently, you’re also packing effectively. Only take what you need, and what could keep you going should anything happen to your luggage. I learned this the hard way when I found myself in the streets of Dublin without a luggage, and without a change of clothes. Don’t be me.
- Don’t forget to pack with your layovers and potential delays in mind. A solid book, notebook, or phone charger can make those few hours more manageable.
- Bring your necessities with you in your carry-on. Toothbrush, wallet, a change of clothes, and you travel information to name a few things.
5) First Plane Flight Tips
Your first flight, whether intercontinental or domestic, is pretty nerve wracking to say the least. So when you’re traveling for the first time by airplane, the important things to remember are to stay calm, and don’t be afraid of asking questions.
If you’re able to have a travel buddy, or even join in on a travel club, make sure to communicate and don’t shy away from the first time flight jitters. Everyone that’s ever flown, has flown for the first time as well.
- Bring some lotion with you. Airplane cabins are typically pretty dry so making sure to moisturize is never a bad idea.
- Don’t remove your shoes on the plane, or anywhere in the terminal outside of security. Yes traveling is rough on your feet and all other extremities, but it’s easier and more accommodating to invest in some comfortable shoes.
- Always ask questions if you’re unsure. It’s better to ask where your terminal is, than to miss your flight.
- If you find your tickets are in the exit row, and you’re not comfortable taking action in the event of emergency, notify your flight attendants either before boarding, or when you arrive at your seat.
6) Long Plane Ride Tips
The average flight time in the U.S. is increasing, and as it does, we need to make sure we don’t lose sleep or comfort during that extra time in the air.
Finding the right back or neck support pillow can really do wonders in providing you with the at-home comforts that you will be missing during your travels. It’s no mystery that the seats alloted aren’t the most comfortable in the world, so bringing in some of that comfort is the best, and most likely cheapest, way of maintaining a comfortable flight.
- Bring snacks that don’t violate any of the TSA’s food policies as you will have to discard it at security.
- Bring a pillow and/or blanket to really give yourself the best shot at getting some shuteye.
- If you suffer from motion sickness, try and get seating that is closer to the middle of the plane as it’ll move in less often than either the front or the back.
7) Tips for Sleeping on a plane
When it comes to sleeping on a plane, the best thing to do is know how you sleep at home. If you find that it takes you quite some time to finally fall asleep, bringing along some benadryl or other drowsy pills might help you get there.
If you’re someone that needs to rest up against something and are too tall to simply bend over onto the fold-out trays, try and snag a window seat to rest your head against. There are also pillows and other accessories that you can grab to make this possible even in a middle seat.
The best thing you can do to transition into luxury travel is to invest in comfort. Some flights provide you with a blanket and a pillow, however the odds of you getting the clean iteration of those blankets is slim to nil. Some airlines have admitted that they might not wash the blankets and pillows for most 30 days. So no matter how much Emergen-c you down pre and post flight, you’ll still be in direct contact with those germs.
There are also lumbar support cushions that you can spend the money on once, and rely on each separate instance of travel. Most of the time, the cushions and blankets come in travel compression bags, so they’re perfect for taking up as little space but providing you with optimal travel comfort.
- Clothing, pillows and blankets, and comfortable shoes are among the most worthwhile investments for travelers of all kinds, no matter the frequency.
- If you are able to, take note after your flight of what is sore or uncomfortable due to your previous flight and look up what might aid you for next time.
9) Tips to travel with a toddler or taking a newborn on a plane
Yes even parents of toddlers and newborns have to travel, and often they’ll want to have said toddler or newborn with them when they do. Before evening boarding the flight or going through security, try and recreate the flying environment for your child. The more they get used to it, and used to what is acceptable flying manners, the better your flight will be.
When flying with a toddler, or traveling with kids in general, the best thing you can do is to be reassuring with your child and provide them with something to entertain themselves or each other. Disposable cameras are perfect for providing some entertainment while also encouraging your child to take note of what’s going on and not focus on the flight itself.
- Provide comfort from home for your child, especially if they are rather young.
- Speak softly and calmly with your children as they can very easily pick up on your emotions.
- Bring something new and exciting with you when you fly for your children to use, that way they will focus on that rather than on how uncomfortable they may feel.
10) Air Travel Health Tips
The only thing worse than spending hours on a flight and missing your connecting flights, is finally getting to your destination and falling ill. The best way to stay healthy while flying are the same as when you’re not flying.
You aren’t able to predict or alter what other people do and what traveling conditions your fellow passengers are in, but you can limit and prevent yourself from catching illnesses while in the air.
- Always wash your hands. Before and after boarding especially.
- Practice safe coughs and sneezing by doing so into your elbow.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Lastely, avoid touching your face as much as possible during a flight.
The End of the Tarmac:
Regardless of all that you’ve read and we’re written, there’s no way for a flight to be perfectly comfortable.
However, if you’re able to use all that we’ve shared with you, it’s possible that you’d make it at the very least comfortable.
Did we miss something? Let us know of your great tips and tricks for air travel, including something you learned through unfortunate circumstance.