Traveling by air is more of a hassle than it ever was. TSA recently raised its fees, airlines have consolidated flights and raised their rates, and parking at some airports is pitifully limited as well as expensive. Even so, airline travel is often the only option for faraway trips. You may not be able to avoid every inconvenience, but you can reduce the hassles for at least those situations that are under your control.
Determine what you absolutely must bring with you and leave the excess behind. Most airlines permit one carry-on luggage and will allow you to check bags for a fee. If you must check a bag, you may be able to avoid the fee if you have a credit card affiliated with that airline. If so, typically the first bag is checked for free.
Review Your Documents
If you are traveling beyond the 50 states, then you need an up-to-date passport. You may also need a visa. Your other documentation should also be current too, including your driver’s license. Photocopy your important documents leaving one copy behind and keeping another copy in a bag that you will take with you. Lose the originals and your copies can save you.
Book Your Flight Early
The sooner you book your flight the more likely you will get the flight times that you want. Waiting until the last minute can mean a whole host of inconveniences, including a much too early departure time or begin wait-listed for an overbooked flight. Once you book your flight, print your boarding pass and bring that with you. You will have one less line to wait on at the airport.
Dress For the Flight
You may be tempted to overdress on the flight to lighten your luggage load. This can backfire especially if the aircraft is too warm. The tighter your clothing the more uncomfortable you will feel. Dress for the flight and not for the work that you will do when you arrive at your destination. You can always change from casual to business attire while at the airport.
Bring Your Comfort
If your flight will be taking you clear across the country or abroad, you will be flying for many hours. Likely, you will get tired and will either take a nap or seek extended sleep. Bring with you your own pillow and blanket and don’t forget a much-needed sleeping pill that can help knock you out.
Shop at the Airport
Current security rules forbid you from bringing food and snack items with you. Medicines can be included, but should be kept in your carry-on bag for easy access. Anything else that you may need can be bought in the airport stores. Know that you will pay a huge markup, but at least you’ll have those convenience items with you that will make your trip bearable. Stay hydrated too!
If at all possible avoid a window seat. An aisle seat will enable you to get up and down with ease. If possible, upgrade to a better seat with generous legroom. Your airline perks and credit card may put you into first class for no extra charge.
See Also — Carry-on Liquids for Airline Travel