Air travel is exciting, exhausting, exasperating.
Here are some tips to make it a little easier for you when you are navigating airports, and flying in general.
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- You may lose your water bottle, or at least your water. Some airport security services are obsessed with taking everyone’s water. In your liquids bag, take 100ml bottle of water. It’s enough to take a tablet with, or to have a sip of water. Sometimes you can’t get replacement water until long after take-off.
- Try to get an idea of where your gate will be, even if it isn’t posted yet. Ask some questions of those in the know. Certain flights tend to leave from certain parts of the airport and you may have a long trip to your gate.
- Airports might have free bus tours or other benefits for longer transits.
- If you have time, hunt down massage chairs, recliner chairs and showers even if they aren’t in your section of the airport. Bring a travel towel for showers as they can make you feel a million dollars.
- While it isn’t ideal, if you have a very early flight and wee hours transport isn’t good, you might consider spending the night at the airport. If you go to a hotel, knowing you have to wake at 3am can ruin your night’s sleep and it’s hardly worth the trouble. Weigh up the benefits and disadvantages.
- Take your own eye mask, earplugs, headphones, socks etc. You can’t rely on the airline giving you anything in cattle class as the ‘survival kit’ changes all the time.
- Compare the cost and advantages of more expensive seats with the cost of sleeping tablets, and/or travel sick tablets that cause drowsiness. Make you own decision.
- Then compare the cost of better seats where you might be able to sleep with the days of your holiday/business trip that you will lose recovering from the flight. Do the comparisons and make an informed decision.
- For shorter flights, compare with a good train or ferry service if there is one. Getting to the airport and waiting at the airport might negate the time-saving benefits of flying.
- Socks or compression stockings are good to wear but the bathroom floors will probably have questionable wetness on them. Shoes you can put on quickly are great for bathroom visits.
- The lighter the entertainment the better. Heavy or complex movies never seem to work with the distractions, engine noise and so on.
- Check if there is an entertainment app that you have to download before you board the plane.
- Carry and use hand sanitizer.
- A money belt or pouch is a good idea. Organize your valuables in there so that you can sleep without worrying about your passport in overhead locker, your phone in seat pocket etc.
- If you have coins put them somewhere you can easily put them in the trays for x-ray. They will set the metal detectors off and you’ll be hauled aside for extra scrutiny.
- Take a good look and a quick inventory of your laptop, phone, ipad, passport etc before they go in the scanner. When they all come out the other end, everyone has the same laptop, you’ve forgotten how many devices you had, how many trays you had, and so on.
- Be twice as alert as usual. You will be tired, jetlagged, disorientated, dehydrated and dopey from sleeping tablets. Check and double check that you are at the correct gate at the right time.
- If you suffer from motion sickness, ask for a sick bag or two. If you aren’t well, Murphy’s Law will apply to your seat pocket and there won’t be one there.
- Treat a plane as a bus – it gets you from A to B. Endure it and it will eventually be over.