Traveling to a new place is exciting, and you have probably been waiting months or even years to go on a great vacation. But the experience of going on an airplane is sometimes a huge nightmare, and it’s easy to forget how to be prepared. Before you go on your next flight, be sure to check out these 50 tips to make your journey far more enjoyable.
50. Download the MyTSA App
The MyTSA app will give you estimated wait times, so that you can be prepared before you show up to the airport. They also give you some great tips about how to arrive prepared for your check-in process. As an added bonus, check out the TSA account on Instagram to see some of the ridiculous things people have tried to sneak on airplanes!
49. Exercise Before You Go
Sitting through a long flight can be brutal, especially if you are used to getting a lot of physical activity in your day. This is why it’s a great idea to workout before you go to the airport. You will get a boost of endorphins to help keep your mood high, and it also might help you fall asleep faster once your flight begins.
48. Wing Seats Have Less Turbulence
If you book your flight early, you may have your choice of where to sit on the plane. If you get travel sickness or major anxiety when there is turbulence, choose a seat that sits next to the wings of the plane. This is where the weight of the plane is the most evenly distributed. The back of the plane gets the worst turbulence.
47. Choose an Early Morning Flight
Going on an early morning flight has multiple benefits. You might find that there are fewer crowds, and it is easier to check into your flight. Plus, rough weather is less likely to happen in the morning. So you will be less likely to deal with turbulence.
46. You Can Find Peace and Quiet in the Airport Chapel
Most airports have a chapel available for people to pray, if they choose to. This is almost never actually used by guests, so you might actually be able to go inside and discover that there is absolutely no one there. This is perfect for anyone who feels anxious around crowds.
45. Bring a Portable Charger
You may find yourself in a situation where your phone is dying, and there is no plug in sight. You can buy portable chargers for roughly $10, which should be enough to help keep your devices alive until you arrive to your next destination.
44. Bring a Surge Protector
You know those long surge protectors that you can use to plug in multiple items? Nowadays, many of them are even made with built-in USB slots. If you have one of those in a crowded airport seating area, you will automatically become the hero of the hour. This can help multiple people charge their phones at once, instead of waiting in line.
43. Be Nice To The Flight Attendants
This may sound like common sense to some people. But flight attendants work very hard, and they truly appreciate travelers who are polite and smile at them. If you are nice to them, they will most likely return the favor in some way.
42. The Best Air Quality
Since the air on a plane is filtered during a flight, having the ability to stay cool and breathe easily may be a top priority for you, especially if you suffer from asthma. If this is the case, you should try to book a seat on the front of the plane. However, if you get chilly and you want somewhere that is warm, choose the back of the plane.
41. Bring Your Own Tea Bags
Depending on your flight, you may have to pay for all of your beverages and snacks. However, if you bring your own tea bag, the flight attendants will be happy to bring you a cup of hot water. This way, you can have a free cup of tea!
40. Get Into An Airport Lounge
Every airport has business and executive class lounges. Many people assume that these are exclusive for people flying first class, but you can usually gain access to the lounges by paying a one-day fee. This can cost anywhere from $30 to $50, but for some people, that is totally worth it. You get a comfortable place to sit, charge your devices, and get some work done. There is also usually food and alcohol included in your entrance fee.
39. Where to Find Free Wifi
In many airports, the only place where you can find free wifi is in those lounges. However, if you hang out just outside the door, you may be able to pick up the signal on your phone. This might come in handy in case of an emergency!
38. If A Flight Gets Canceled, Call Customer Service
If you are waiting for a flight, and you learn that it’s cancelled, you will see a mad rush of people running to the service counter. A little-known secret is that if you call the customer service phone number, you can get your flight rebooked in just a few minutes, instead of standing in line for an hour.
37. Sign Up For TSA Precheck
Last but not least is to sign up for TSA precheck. Frequent flyers will benefit from signing up for TSA Precheck. This is a process where you are entered into a global network of travelers who have gone through security checks ahead of time. If you do this, your process will go by a lot faster. If you are interested to learn more, visit the US Customs and Border Protection website.
36. Never Pay For A Cancellation Fee
If you call and cancel a flight the night before you are supposed to go on vacation, you will have to pay an expensive fee. But if you call to reschedule to a week or two ahead of time, they will let you do this without any hassle. So, the next day, you can call and cancel that flight without paying for the last-minute cancellation fee.
35. Download Movies From Netflix
If you have an iPad or a laptop with Windows 10, you can download movies and TV show episodes from the Netflix app directly on your device. This way, you can watch your favorite content without having to use the WiFi or data. Of course, this is limited to how much hard drive space you have available. Be sure to delete older videos that you don’t need before you go, so that you can stock up on free in-flight entertainment.
34. Remember To Stay Hydrated
Even if you don’t like drinking water, make sure you stay hydrated during your journey. Drink a glass of water before you leave home, and ask your flight attendant for water, instead of something dehydrating like soda or coffee. This will help you feel much better.
33. Make Sure you Have Pockets
There will be so many times where you need your hands free during the check-in process. You will also be giving your luggage away. By wearing a coat or jeans that have pockets, you have a place to put your phone, wallet, passport, etc. So don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing.
32. No ice, Please.
Even if you like freezing cold drinks, you should probably skip on getting ice when you are on a plane. This is for two reasons. First, you will get more beverage for the money you are paying. Secondly, you really can’t trust how clean those ice cubes are, since they have been sitting in the airplane for so long.
31. Try To Avoid Drinking Alcohol
If you can get free drinks in the airport lounge or on a first class seat, it’s almost impossible to say “no” to booze. However, if you really want to make sure you can avoid jet lag, it’s best to stay sober during your flight.
30. Go to the Left
The vast majority of people are right-handed. This matters, because in most cases, people tend to veer to the right, if they have the option to go either direction. So, make sure you check to your left, and go there first, because you are far less likely to run into crowds.
29. Remove Your Batteries
If something starts vibrating or making noise inside of your luggage, that can be a very embarrassing experience. By leaving your batteries in your items, it could also drain the power if something accidently gets switched on. If you want to avoid this problem, just get a little plastic sandwich bag, and hold your batteries separately.
28. Skip the Blankets
Airplane blankets will get washed, but sometimes, they may have been used by someone else before going to you. This means that there might be tons of someone else’s germs. Instead of asking for a blanket, try to bring a hoodie or wear layered clothing.
27. Skip The Carbonation
Drinking soda or any other carbonated beverage can lead to becoming gassy. No one wants to sit next to someone who is farting the whole flight! It could also potentially give you a stomach ache once you’re up in the air. So, if you have a history of stomach issues, it’s best to skip bubbly beverages.
26. Check the Lost and Found
If you have lost something in the airport, quickly go to the Lost and Found. Items are being periodically brought there for their original owners to find. As an added bonus, most airports have a policy that if something is not claimed within 90 days, it’s free to take. So if you forgot to bring a phone charger, the Lost and Found will most likely have one for you to take.
25. Pick a Comfortable Travel Outfit
Years ago, people loved to dress up in their Sunday best when they went on a flight. Today, it’s more about feeling comfortable. Some people even go as far as to wear pajamas on the plane. If you can’t do that, you should at least wear sweatpants, yoga pants, or anything else that you feel comfortable in.
24. Snag Rogue Luggage Carts
If costs a couple dollars to rent a luggage cart. They try to create a built-in incentive to return the cart yourself, because you can get your money back. However, plenty of people are in a hurry, or too lazy to return the cart. So, if you want to save some money, find a rogue empty cart and use it yourself.
23. Bring Hand Sanitizer
So many people get sick when they go on an airplane. This is because you are touching things all day long that hundreds of other people have touched. If there is a work trip, or people have booked a vacation months ahead of time, they are still going, even if they have some kind of contagious illness. If you want to make sure you kill the germs on your hands, pack that hand sanitizer! Also make sure to bring wipes, so that you can clean your arm rest, trays, etc.
22. Avoid the Middle Seat
No one likes being in the middle seat. But if you don’t make sure to specifically book an aisle or window seat, you are likely to be stuck in-between two other passengers.
21. Bring An Empty Bottle
You cannot bring water bottles through security. Even if you freeze the bottle, some TSA agents will still deny you. There are usually water fountains throughout the airport, so you can actually bring an empty bottle with you to fill it up for free once you get inside.
20. Ask For The Soda Can
When you are on a flight, attendants usually give you a little plastic cup and pour you some soda. However, there are a lot of times when there is leftover liquid inside the can. If you want more for your money, ask if you can just take the can as-is.
19. Find an Empty Gate
Earlier in this list, we recommended paying for a lounge. However, if you are on a tight budget, a great alternative is to find a gate that is totally empty. This is especially great if you have a long layover. There is no requirement for you to wait at the gate that is directly in front of your flight. As long as you can hear the announcements, you’ll be fine. This is great for getting some peace and quiet, strong wifi, and empty plugs to charge your devices.
18. Don’t Forget To Switch on Airplane Mode
When you go on a long flight, it is actually important to switch on “airplane mode”. This will help extend your battery life much longer, because your phone will not be constantly searching for service that does not exist.
17. Buy Unique Luggage or Tags
Many people have silver or black luggage, so when it’s time to claim your bag. If you want to make it easy to find your bag, try to pick luggage that is unique. Either choose a gaudy pattern, place bumper stickers all over, or at least find a luggage tag that will stand out from the crowd.
16. Pack Ziplock Bags
If you want to keep your luggage more organized, try using ziplock bags to separate your toiletries, cords, and any other small items that might slide around inside your luggage. This also comes in handy, because you never know when you might need a bag for some reason.
15. Download an Airport Map
It’s easy to get lost when you go to a new airport. Instead of wandering around aimlessly and potentially missing your flight, download a map of the airport online. This way, you can find your gate easily without asking employees for help.
14. Remember to Listen
A lot of people listen to a podcast, audiobook, or music while they are waiting for their flight. But if you are waiting to listen for your gate, remember to turn the volume down, or listen with just one ear. If it is difficult to listen, avoid using your headphones all together. It may be better to read a book, instead.
12. Ask About a Free Upgrade
Sometimes, if you are very lucky, you can get a free upgrade to first class. This is far more likely if you book a flight that is very empty, and the seat becomes available. It may be a long shot, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
11. Wear Your Glasses
If you wear contacts, you may find that they will become very dry during a long flight. This is because the recycled air can sometimes get really dry. If you want to avoid this issue, wear glasses, instead. Or, if contacts are totally necessary for you, bring a travel-size bottle of contact solution.
10. Clear Your Browser Cache
When you are shopping for flights or hotels online, it is important to delete your cookies and browser cache. This is because a website will charge you more if you do not book right away, and you have looked at competing airlines. You can also browse anonymously on Google Chrome by right-clicking on the icon and opening a new window.
9. Check For Extra Leg Room
If you are a very tall person taking an economy flight, you may want to call ahead to see if you can find a seat in the front of the plane, so that you have extra leg room. Or, you can check out websites like SeatGuru that will help you figure out what seats are going to help accommodate you.
8. Inform Your Car Rental Service
When you reserve a rental a car at your destination airport, be sure to include your flight number. This helps them know when to expect you to show up. This way, they should be ready for you as soon as you land.
7. Download Songs, Podcasts, and Audiobooks Ahead of Time
If watching a screen gives you travel sickness, you may prefer to listen to something on your headphones and close your eyes during a flight. But remember that there may be unexpected delays. Download multiple audiobooks, podcasts, or songs directly to your phone so that you can listen even when you switch over to “airplane mode”.
6. Organize Your Luggage
Even though your luggage is going to be checked in, try to organize it as much as possible, so that it’s easy to find things you need. The last thing you want is to suddenly remember you need something in your bag, but you can’t find it. Keep your passport in an easily accessible place, like an outside zipper pocket. Also keep your heavy items like hoodies and jackets on top. This way, if you find out that your bag is too heavy, you can remove your jacket and wear it, instead.
5. Prep Your Carry-On
Many airlines have now changed the requirements for the size of the carry-on bag to have specific dimensions. So, before you go on your trip, make sure it is the appropriate size. Also remember to double check your carry-on for everything you might need during the flight. This probably includes your Kindle or Ipad, eye drops, mints, or a book.
4. Don’t Forget Your Parking Spot
Airport parking lots are massive. And after your extended vacation, it may take you a very long time carrying heavy luggage to walk through the maze to find your vehicle. Take a photo of where you parked your car. Sometimes, there are signs with letters and numbers that designate what section of the parking lot you are on.
3. Check SkyScanner, Kayak, and Google For Cheap Flights
Kayak and Google Flights are two reliable sources for cheap flights. SkyScanner also has an amazing feature where you can choose any two airports, and find the cheapest flights at any time of the year. This is perfect for anyone who works from home and has the flexibility to travel and work wherever they want in the world, because you can just fly to the cheapest places.
2. Call Before Using Your Frequent Flyer Miles
It is possible to book a flight online using your frequent flyer miles without every speaking to anyone for help. However, if you call and speak to customer service, ask if they can get you a better deal with one of their partnering airlines. You just might be able to save some of your points for another trip, and still get to your destination. You should also check out ThePointsGuy to get some amazing tips on getting the most out of your miles.
1. Check Your Flight Status Online
If the weather has turned sour, if if you just want to double check that your flight is on time, you can check the status on the airline’s website. They usually also have a corresponding app where you can type in your flight number to get real-time updates.