There is no doubt that air travel can be a little stressful. Long airport lines and crowded planes are hardly anyone’s definition of a great time, but flying is indisputably the quickest and most convenient way to travel anywhere in the world. Whether you are a frequent flyer or an occasional traveler, following a few simple tips can help you stay calm, safe and comfortable on every flight.
Booking Your Flight
• Use price predictors to figure out when you should buy your tickets to save the most money. Ticket prices fluctuate from month to month, so it’s impossible to know if you are getting a good deal when you buy tickets too far in advance. In most cases, the best time to buy tickets is anywhere between six and 24 weeks before the flight date. If you think tickets are too expensive and are willing to wait, you can sign up for price alerts from discount travel websites.
• Think about purchasing a package deal that includes plane tickets and accommodations. Travel bundles are becoming increasingly popular because they make the planning process affordable and simple. Just remember to research what the package includes before purchasing it to make sure that you really are getting a good deal. While most travel packages offer discounts, some are actually more expensive than if you were to book the same trip independently.
• Most airlines allow passengers to print their own boarding passes at home or at the airport. After printing out your tickets, put your passport and anything else you need to bring with you in one place. Getting all of your paperwork ready before you even get to the airport can help you feel more organized and less stressed out. Make sure that you put everything in a place where you won’t forget to grab it on the way out.
• Read the airport’s security rules and guidelines. Know what you can and can’t bring on the plane. If you need to bring medication or liquids on the plane, use leak-proof containers that are in compliance with standard carry-on regulations. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a helpful online guide you can use to figure out what you can include in your carry-on bag.
• Pack wisely. Research the weather patterns where you are going to figure out what you need to bring. Plan your outfits ahead of time to avoid bringing extra clothes that won’t even make it out of your suitcase. Bring your prescriptions in your carry-on bag. You don’t want to end up without your medication if there is an unexpected delay or if your luggage gets misplaced.
At the Airport and on the Plane
• If you are taking a taxi to the airport, make your appointment in advance instead of calling when you are ready to go. Make sure that you are ready to leave when the car arrives because most drivers charge extra when their passengers are running late. If you plan to take your own car to the airport, write down where you park it. Airport parking lots are usually enormous, and the last thing you want to do when you land back at home is trying to figure out where you parked your car when you left.
• Metal detectors can sometimes go off because of jewelry or keys, so be conscious of what you wear to the airport. It’s a good idea to throw on slip-on shoes if you have a pair to get through the security line quicker.
• Bring some headphones with you to drown out noise, listen to music or watch television. Some airlines offer headphones on board, but they tend to be cheap and uncomfortable.
• Call the flight attendant if you are unhappy with your seat. You might be able to get a new seat if the plane isn’t full.
• Take good care of your health. Some common germ zones in airplanes include trays, seat pockets, pillows and blankets. Bring your own neck pillow, extra sweatshirt and a package of anti-bacterial wipes. Try to get as much rest as possible if you are on a long flight. If you are a light sleeper, bring a sleeping mask and a pair of ear plugs. Remember to stand up and stretch to keep your muscles relaxed and prevent blood clots. If you have ongoing health problems, discuss your upcoming trip with your doctor to make sure that you stay healthy and safe throughout your flight.