via [Swiss Miss]
Your TSA-friendly 1-quart clear plastic baggie is all zipped up and ready to go. Your business card is tucked into your luggage tags (because you'd rather have lost luggage returned to your job than have stolen luggage "returned" by a friendly stalker to your house). Sunglasses are on and you're headed out the door when you pause in the doorway...Did I remember everything? Here are 10 things to think about when aiming for a comfortable, hassle-free flight.
1) Leave Your Wallet at Home: Ostensibly you're going on vacation...do you REALLY need to travel with your Metrocard, CVS card, Macy's card, Office ID, pics of your seventeen nephews, etc.? Lighten up by taking out only the wallet contents you'll actually need on your trip and leaving the rest at home. I only travel with a pre-budgeted cash vacation allowance, my driver's license, 1 credit card and 1 debit card (for places that don't take AmEx, my CC of choice). Make sure to call your bank/CC company ahead of time and let them know what cards you'll be using in a different state/country so the cards don't get blocked due to unusual purchases. I use an old Coach wristlet that I got for Christmas a few years back to hold everything so I'm not actually emptying out my wallet. The wristlet easy to keep close in the airport and abroad, but if (God Forbid) anything is lost or stolen, it won't be my entire plastic life that I have to account for, just those three pieces. If you have a wristlet or wallet-alternative big enough to hold your phone and passport as well, that's even better!
2) Take Charge: You may be sitting in the airport for up to 3 hours and on a plane for much longer. You might not have planned ahead for the different electrical outlets overseas. Make sure that the day or night before you leave, you fully charge the batteries of all the electronics you intend to use and bring extra batteries if you have them (including for your digital CAMERA!!). That way, your Kindle won't die mid-flight and you won't have to worry about your phone being dead when you land and need to call your ride.
3) Don't Get Cold Feet: It's an awkward dilemma. Instinctively, you want to travel in footwear that's easy to slip on and off during the security checkpoint (yay flip-flops! But bring socks or nylon footies to slip on if the idea of walking barefoot in the airport skeeves you out) but then you're on the plane and your tootsies are FREEZING! Some people advocate bringing socks or slippers for the plane, which I've tried but I always find it awkward to actually put them on and take them off on the plane, especially if I'm sitting next to strangers or in the middle seat. I tend to just do flip-flops when going on beach vacays (easier to pack flat) and suck up either the cold feet or awkward sock maneuvering, but if you're traveling to winter/fall or to a colder locale, I recommend wearing ballet flats (a trend I hope NEVER dies) or UGGs (yes, I was a hater too...and then I put on a pair). Easy-on, easy-off and keep in enough heat for a flight. Plus you can run to the gate in them if you're late- in flip-flops, wedges or heels this becomes a slightly more precarious feat.
4) Keep Your Friends Close and TSA's Enemies Closer: Even though I've been living in NYC for years now, I still have Mid-Atlantic tendencies so I try to be forgiving of the person who waits until she gets to the cashier to hunt for exact change. However, the airport is NOT the place to be the lady holding up the line. Keep your passport and any carry-on items the TSA is likely to want to inspect (make-up, medications, your 3 fl.oz. collection etc.) easily accessible. I like to put the plastic quart baggie in one of the outside zippered compartments of my carry-on so I can pull it out quickly if there's a concern, rather than having to open up the entire bag in the middle of the airport and then go through the shoving it closed and attempting to force the zipper shut routine (yes, I'm working on my overpacking issues!) with annoyed strangers giving me the side-eye and wondering if I REALLY need that sequin and tafetta number wherever I'm going (who knows, I MIGHT!). Instead of a purse, I typically travel with a zippered tote bag that's big enough to hold my plane essentials and tuck under the seat in front of me. It won me over because it has an inside zippered hanging pocket that happens to be the PERFECT size for securing my passport and keeping it easy to find. You'll see alot of these bags embroidered with Greek-organization lettering, but many corporate organizations give them out or you can buy one that's blank or customized. I also love that it's 100% cotton so I can throw it in the wash when I get back from my trip.
6) Get Ready For Bed: If you plan to sleep on the plane, don't forget to bring everything you need to make it as cozy as possible. Some airlines provide blankets and pillows for in-flight use but to the extent they're reused, I recommend relying on your own (bedbugs much?). Other airlines, including JetBlue, offer them for sale in-flight and of course the airport travel-marts are bursting at the seams with overpriced versions. I'm not a fan of the notion of stuffing a pillow and separate blanket into my tote, nor do I advocate the wearing of Snuggies in public so I currently have my eye on this number, a 3-in-1 Travel blanket that clips to your carry-on and has a pocket for your feet-thereby solving the footwear issue! Don't forget to bring earplugs (or earmuffs) and a sleep mask as well if you're serious about your slumber!
7) Give Yourself Room (to Bring Back!): Don't stuff your purse to the gills with items you think you'll want handy during the flight to your vacation because I promise that you'll pick up items in the airport or fragile souvenirs that you want to keep close on your way back and need room for those too. Leave yourself some extra space for those additional items so you're not trying to condense them into your already stuffed suitcase later on or having to put things into the bag of your travel buddy (who did leave herself some room) and then remember to get them from her when you land.
|Via [Shannon Green]|
If you're determined to carry-on your luggage and keep it with you both ways, keep that in mind when shopping for souvenirs. Buy gifts that don't meet carry-on restrictions in the airport and consider whether your flight back is a direct international flight or if it will require you to go through security again.
10) Confirm Your Ground Transport: The last thing I do before making my "I'm on the plane now, call you when I land loveyouloveyouloveyou!" calls and sending up a pre-takeoff prayer is either call or text the person I expect to pick me up from the airport to make sure that a) they remember, b) they have my flight information in case of a delay or emergency. I hate waiting to be picked up and like to make sure that everybody's on the same page.
For more things to think about pre-travel, check out these posts from Pretty Whimsy and Gorgeoise on traveling in style and looking beautiful when you land!