The days of luxurious airline travel may be over, but that doesn’t mean travelers must forfeit all comfort once they begin a trip. Having a pre-flight routine is crucial, as is keeping stress levels in check should the unexpected come up. Here are five ways to make a flight not only more comfortable, but easier on the bank account as well.
1. Arrive early. The last thing you want to encounter entering an airport is a long line at check-in, but it’s a reality that is becoming more and more frequent. The wait time at security can sometimes surpass an hour at busy airports, so it is best to arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight, three hours before an international one. Keep a good frame of mind. Remember that a hundred years ago, none of this was possible, and a horse-and-buggy trip was the only means available to travel long distances across open land. Some experienced travelers just accept long waits and show up more than three hours before any flight, with a book in hand and a relaxed state of mind.
2. Bring your own food. By spending 10 minutes preparing your own meal at home, you get to save money and eat what you want. Wrapping the food in aluminum foil works best to keep most things fresh for a few hours. Favorite sandwiches include peanut butter and jelly; bacon, lettuce, and tomato; ham and cheese; and turkey and Swiss. Add some fruit and protein to complete a solid meal. Good options are bananas, apples, oranges, peanuts, almonds, and cashews. The idea is not for it to be a feast, just enough to get you to your destination and avoid the overpriced airport food. Bringing a reusable water bottle also saves time and money; and staying hydrated during a flight is always a good idea.
3. Use the restroom just before boarding. Isn’t it strange how, as soon as the fasten-seat-belt sign has been turned off, at least one person gets up to use the toilet? You can make your flight more comfortable by planning beforehand and using the facilities near the boarding gate. Also, it’s wise not to drink too much water just before departure. Rather, keep a water bottle handy throughout the flight.
4. Have something to do. Use the duration of the flight to unplug. Take out a book or magazine to rest the eyes. Before the flight, write down a few important quotations or something else to study. Then use the time for reflection and deep thought. An hour or two of uninterrupted concentration can do wonders for a stressed-out mind, and flying gives you the perfect opportunity to zone out and do nothing. If you’re eyes need a break, try closing them and listening to music with an mP3 player.
5. Research your destination airport. What’s the best way to get to your hotel? Usually, the most reliable information can be found on the airport’s own website. Every airport has one, with practical advice on public transportation (if available) and taxi services. Some cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, offer such great public transportation connections that cabs may turn out to be a pricey hassle. Know before you go which option works best for you.
Airline fares will always fluctuate, but the way you travel doesn’t have to. Plan before your trip, pack a pre-made meal, arrive early, and do online research about the airport at which you’ll be arriving. After a few trips, anyone can fly like a pro.