Traveling the world is an exciting undertaking. That’s probably why over 3 billion people travel a year.
However, dealing with flights and airlines…isn’t. But you have to take the bad with the good, right?
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make your experience a bit more pleasant. Check out these 8 must-know tips for frequent fliers!
1. Don’t Check Luggage
If you can at all avoid it, don’t check luggage. It’s just an all-around bad idea. Let’s look at all the reasons why.
- One more line to stand in
- The airline could lose it
- The airline could break it (or something inside)
- You have to wait around and fight for your bag at the carousel
And that’s just at the airport. Once you arrive at your destination, you’re going to have to haul that big, heavy bag around.
This might not be too bad if you’ll be staying in one place. But if you’ll be moving from hotel to hotel during your trip, you’ll thank yourself for packing light. Besides, you’d be amazed at what you can fit into a bag if you pack it right.
2. Keep a Bag of Essentials Handy
But what about those pesky TSA rules? They won’t let you take liquids. What about your shampoo? Sunscreen? Toothpaste? All the essentials of your routine?
One of the best time-saving hacks for frequent flyers is to keep a bag of essentials packed. You can bring little bottles of up to 3.4 ounces in a quart size plastic bag. Set up your essential liquids in little bottles to always have on hand.
Wondering where to get little bottles? You can reuse trial size sample bottles or you can buy a set of bottles specifically made for passing TSA checkpoints.
In addition to your liquids, have the rest of what you’ll always need on a trip at the ready.
3. Pack TSA-Approved Snacks
Airport food is notoriously expensive. Plus, whatever they offer on the plane might not be the most appetizing thing you’ve ever seen. Depending on flight duration, they might not even offer anything.
Plus, eating heavily processed meals (like airplane food) contributes to dehydration which can make jetlag worse. It’s better to bring along a few protein-rich snacks to stave off hunger during your flight.
Just don’t pack a peanut butter sandwich. The TSA considers peanut butter a liquid and you won’t make it through security.
4. Water After Security
Staying hydrated is your friend when it comes to dealing with jetlag and fatigue. However, it can be hard on a plane. They usually only pass out a couple little cups of water throughout the flight. Not to mention how dry the recirculated air is in the cabin.
You can’t bring a bottle of water through security (even a sealed one), but there’s nothing that says you can’t bring an empty bottle. Fill it up after you get through security and before boarding your plane. Some airports even have handy water bottle filling stations.
Alternatively, you can buy a bottle of water once you’ve passed security. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it, though.
4. Sleep Essentials
Long flights can get rather boring. A good way to pass the time is by sleeping if you can. It will also ensure that you arrive at your destination rested (relatively) and ready to go.
Bring along a few things that will help you feel comfortable enough to sleep. A small travel pillow, headphones or earplugs, and an eye mask may all come in handy. That goes for at the hotel, too. You never know what the sleeping conditions may be like at your destination.
5. Take the Flight Bump
If your schedule permits, giving up your seat on an overbooked flight is a nice way to make some extra cash. Make sure you know what you’re entitled to, though.
Ask for cash. If you do have to take a voucher, be sure to read all the fine print. Sometimes, the vouchers have so many blackout dates and restrictions that they’re basically worthless.
If your flight is cancelled altogether, you want to ensure that you get the proper cancelled flight compensation. Know your rights and don’t let the airline trick you (or bully you) into agreeing to less than what is appropriate.
6. Review Your Credit Card Perks
A lot of credit cards these days offer some pretty sweet travel perks. For example, some may offer rental car insurance, hotel upgrades, or even access to restricted airport lounges.
Be sure to review the fine print on any cards you already have to see what perks you have that you didn’t even know about.
For frequent flyers, it can make sense to do a little credit card shopping. Take a look at what you qualify for and decide which perks are most important to you. Then choose a new card accordingly.
7. Use an Outside Seating Chart
If you’re like most people, you probably pick your seat according to the airline’s chart that comes up during booking. However, there are benefits to using a third party seating chart like Seat Guru.
This site will not only give you up-to-date info on what’s available but also gives extra handy information. For example, how close it is to the bathroom, if the seat reclines, and how much leg room is available.
You can even read what other passengers have to say about the seat they picked.
More Tips for Frequent Flyers
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of everything that will make your flight more pleasant. But if you follow these tips you’ll definitely see an improvement.
What other things should frequent flyers know? Check out these tips for flying in first class for the first time.