They say ‘getting there is half the fun’… Really? REALLY?? Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, let’s be honest: air travel no longer holds the exotic appeal that it once did. It really is to be endured, no matter how many bells, whistles, and in-flight entertainment packages airlines try to cram into increasingly shrinking seats. But seasoned travelers have their own air travel hacks to help make your sky ride a little less bumpy.
Here are a few of our favorites:
You never know what you’re going to need/want to bring back with you, and airlines can be pretty militant about luggage weight restrictions and will often charge if your checked baggage goes over the limit. So take less than you think you need. Chances are you won’t use half of what you bring anyway. And consider investing in a digital luggage scale. Just to be on the safe side.
Stick To Carry Ons
Carry on bags are pretty hefty themselves these days, so while you should always check with your airline what bag size is acceptable as a carry-on; make the most of the opportunity. If nothing else, it’ll save you stacks of valuable time. Because who enjoys waiting at luggage carousels?
Hustle (Nicely) For Upgrades
Always ask. It can’t hurt. And don’t wait until you arrive at the check-in desk. Request one when you book your ticket. Or even at the gate. Yup, you can leave it that late. If you’re dressed nicely, polite to staff, and there are spaces left, you’re in with a good chance of getting a decent seat.
Pick Your Meals Wisely
Want to get fed first during the flight? Request a special meal. Airlines will pretty much bend to any dietary requirement, and when it comes to doling them out, cabin crew tend to tackle these meals first. Keen to avoid in-flight meals altogether? There are usually stacks of options in the departure lounge, but if in doubt, check out where airline folks eat. Also, opt for protein over carbs (takes longer to digest, so you feel full for longer). And avoid fizzy drinks. Always choose bottled water.
Stay As Active As Possible
Being stuck in a cramped seat for hours at a time can stiffen up your joints, so every so often walk along the aisles to stretch your legs (avoiding drinks/meals/clean up/take off/landing). Rolling a tennis ball under your feet is another great way to keep those joints and muscles active. Just resist the urge to throw it at the guy in front of you when he reclines his seat just as you fire up the laptop…
Sanitize To The Point Of Insanity
Ever had a bad cold after a long haul flight? No, it wasn’t the air conditioning or temperature controls that did it — it was sharing the same recycled air as 140 other passengers for eight hours straight. It might seem like there’s not a lot you can do to remedy germ-sharing at 10,000 ft, but you’re wrong. Be sure to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a tube of over-the-counter antibiotic ointment: like Bacitracin. Sanitize your hands and coat the inside of both nostrils (!) lightly with a dab of ointment. Sounds weird, but it works really well.
Whether you’re in-flight for the long or short-haul, try to relax as much as humanly possible. What matters is that you’re suitably refreshed and rested when you reach your final destination.