It’s that time of the year again. As a new set of students graduate and enter the real world, traveling tends to be unavoidable. Whether you’re headed to college, work, fun or family, you’ll likely find yourself back in a airtight pod hurtling through the sky at 30,000 feet. Here are seven rules that will ease your journey:
- Be prepared. When you get to the airport, you are going to be put in security lines and treated like cattle, so you might as well prepare for it. Wear shoes you can slip off easily. Have your ID out and your boarding pass in hand. Put your cellphone, watch, and other metal items in your bag or ready to place in a bin. Have your laptop ready to pull out and place in a bin by itself. This is not a time where you can sit down and repack, so arrange your belongings accordingly before you arrive.
- Arrive early. It’s the worst feeling ever to miss a flight and not make it to your meeting or event. Getting to the airport 40 minutes before boarding will allow you enough time to chill out and get some food after making it through security.
- If you can’t lift it over your head, it is NOT a carry-on. When you board the plane everyone is rushing to get seated and settled. No one has time for you to attempt to pick up your 100-pound bag and place it in the overhead bin. Plus, doing so is simply unsafe, since when you land you’ll have to pull it and could hit someone with it.
- If you’re likely to use the restroom, take the aisle seat. Climbing over other passengers or asking them to stand up so you can get out is always awkward. And the aisle seat isn’t so bad. I always sit on the outside so I can get a full view of what’s happening on the plane.
- Be observant. If the person(s) sitting next to you or around you has a book, earphones, or looks busy, don’t try to force a conversation. I get that this can be difficult; I like to talk when I’m nervous. But it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself so you don’t drive the people around you crazy.
- Be patient. Things don’t always go as planned. I have had to board and get off the same plane three times because of bad weather. Complaining and yelling at customer service won’t speed up things. When you land, don’t jump up and think you are in some kind of race. Everyone will get off eventually. So, for the love of god, don’t push.
- Respect personal space. Keep your feet and knees off the seat in front of you. Only recline your seat if you know the person behind you won’t get crushed or annoyed. It is a good thing to sometimes ask for permission.
Following these seven rules will help ensure a breezy travel experience — both for yourself and for those around you. Below are a few more tips to save you time and keep you happy.
- Bring an empty water bottle. TSA will make you throw away any water you have because of security. But you can still take an empty Nalgene with you! After you get through security, find a water fountain to fill it up. This will keep you hydrated — and save you from purchasing an overpriced bottle of water.
- Pack an extra set of clothes and some wipes. I have had someone spill an entire bottle of Sprite on me during a flight. Luckily, I had an extra set of clothes and baby wipes packed.
- Bring a personal bag. This is separate from your carry on and should fit under your seat. A personal bag is ideal for holding items you might need in-flight, such as your laptop, ear buds, gum, or a book. Choose something with a lot of pockets as this will help you stay organized.
- During the flight, don’t try to get your giant carry-on out if it’s in the overhead bin above someone’s head. Pull whatever you will need for the flight out before takeoff — or, see the above point and bring a personal bag that can fit under your seat!
- Bring noise-canceling headphones. I cannot fly without my Bose QuietComfort 25, which helps block out the loud engine and other noises.
- Apply for TSA-pre. Even though it costs extra, the time you’ll save with a quick, convenient security check is worth it.
- Once you use your ID and wallet/purse, immediately put it back into your bag and zip it away. The worst thing while traveling is to lose your credentials and money. It’s also a good idea to have $20 to $100 in cash somewhere on you in case of an emergency.
- Bring a jacket. It gets cold when you are up in the air, so make sure you have a light jacket with you so you can stay warm and happy.
- Bring a battery pack, charging block, and wire and place it in your backpack. This will ensure you have enough power to get that Uber or make that phone call when you land.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.