When you’re planning a trip, sometimes the most frustrating and exhausting part is getting there and back. Air travel in particular, brings its own set of headaches, from long lines at airport security to uncomfortable or cramped seating. Long flights set you up to be tired by the time you arrive at your destination when the fun and adventure can finally begin. Here are some tips to make your next air travel trip easier and smoother.
1. Pack light
It may seem like a simple suggestion, but if you can scale back on that extra outfit or pair of shoes, you could make the difference in whether or not you need a larger size bag that you then need to pack. Consider how many electronics you really need; many smartphones have built-in high-quality cameras and can double as an e-reader. Packing less will save you on baggage fees and carrying weight, leaving you less to haul around.
2. Invest in earplugs
If you travel frequently, you understand the plight of the traveler, facing snoring neighbors, talkative neighbors, and the dreaded crying baby. Earplugs can turn an unpleasant flight into a quieter ride, possibly even allowing you to get some shut-eye. In addition, earplugs can help eliminate ear discomfort due to air pressure changes during lift-off and landing.
3. Apply for TSA’s pre-check
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers a pre-check security process, which promises a shorter security line and you don’t have to remove items like laptops, liquids, shoes, or belts. There is an application process involving a short in-person appointment and background check, and it currently costs $85 and is good for five years. If you travel frequently, we highly recommend it.
4. Wear layers
When traveling, you never know what sort of temperatures you’re going to be dealing with. You may get overheated waiting in long lines at airport security, and airplanes can be freezing. Plan ahead and wear layered clothing, so you can add and remove and keep yourself comfortable.
5. Special needs? Don’t wait
If you or a member of your traveling party has special seating requirements, such as wheelchair accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact airline customer service to alert them of your needs. If you wait until you arrive at the gate, the airline might not be able to accommodate you as readily.
6. Plan ahead with duty-free customs
Traveling internationally has become synonymous with duty-free shops at the airport, letting you stock up on inexpensive luxury goods. But before you buy, check those prices; not everything duty-free is cheaper than at home. Also, if you have a domestic connecting flight, you still have to follow the 3.5oz rule, so you might have to check your purchase.
7. Splurge on the lounge
Airport lounges used to only be available to first and business-class travelers, but that’s a thing of the past. Now, for a reasonable fee, you can have access to airport lounges and enjoy comfortable chairs, snacks, and an overall lack of crowds. If you’re dealing with travel hiccups, on-site ticket agents can help you out. Travelers stuck with extra-long delays and layovers will appreciate a respite from the crowds of the airport.
8. Portable Bluetooth speaker
It can be immensely frustrating to find a nice accommodation with technology compatible with ten years ago. Some hotels don’t have updated music devices compatible with today’s smartphones. Ensure that you can always fill a room with music by investing in a Bluetooth-compatible portable stereo system. These speakers are often compact and lightweight and can play anywhere you go, be it the beach, the pool, or your room.
9. Noise-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones provide three points of comfort. One: finding a high-quality pair will allow you to listen to your tunes or e-book at audiophile-acceptable levels. Two: although pricey, these headphones will drown out the incessant noises of chattering children and overall noise. Three: nothing says “back off” quite like a good pair of headphones to keep away nosy neighbors.
10. Electrical adapter
This is a must if you plan on traveling internationally. Outlets and plugs are not universal, so you’ll need to invest in an electrical adapter if you plan on being able to charge any of your devices. Different regions of the world have different outlets, so an adapter plug will work in many situations, but some regions may require a voltage converter or transformer. Check out this helpful guide for determining what you need.
11. Slip-on shoes
We’ve talked to many travelers who have admitted to shoe remorse when traveling through airports. Going through airport security also means having to go through the process of removing half of your clothes (kidding). You do have to go through the challenge of removing your belt, shoes, jacket, and required items from your bags, all in just seconds. A comfortable pair of slip-on shoes can make a huge difference in making your travel day easier and comfier.
12. Extra long phone chargers
Many airports have outlets and charging stations in certain parts of the airport, but usually you’ll see travelers flock to these places like walkers go to the living on The Walking Dead. Investing in an extra long phone charger allows you to reach outlets that are farther away and make sure you don’t lose all of your juice. A long cable will give you and your power-mates some much needed space.
13. Conspicuous luggage
When choosing luggage, don’t go with a generic black roller-bag. Choose something that’s going to stand out, making it that much easier to grab your bag off of the baggage claim carousel and get to your destination. Some people choose to tie a colorful ribbon to your bag, but those can sometimes tear away in transit.Air travel can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. Outside of some of the basic necessities, like a roller bag and neck pillow, there are a lot of solutions that can make your travel experience better. Let us know if any of our solutions have worked for you!