Most people dread the airport. It’s a stark, stale building, usually overflowing with hurried people scurrying every which way. For some, the crowding is overwhelming and scary. Some dread the irritating security checks, where guards politely ask you to undo all of your precise packing, just so they can check your quart sized bag of 99 cent shampoos.
Some folks hate being in airplanes. Again, there is some sort of staleness in the air, which does not pair well with the uncomfortable cabin pressure and loud humming noises. Flying certainly isn’t the glamorous event that it was in the past. However, thankfully there are a few things you can do to make your experience with air travel much more pleasant.
1. GET INFORMED.
There’s nothing more disappointing than buying a new bottle of perfume for your vacation and having it get thrown away at a security checkpoint. If you aren’t planning on checking a bag, then make sure all of your liquid items (makeup, shampoo, etc) follow the TSA’s guidelines for carry on items. My carry-on mantra is “If you aren’t sure, leave it at home.” Security is a little more lenient these days toward these rules, but you can never be too safe. Make sure you only bring liquids that are 3 oz or less, and zip them all up in a clear, quart sized bag before you leave so nothing gets thrown away because you didn’t realize you couldn’t have it!
2. BREEZE THROUGH SECURITY
When you’re traveling, you might feel some sort of pressure to look attractive at the airport. To that I say, screw it. Comfort is key when traveling, and wearing the right clothes can help you make your way through security quickly. Keep your bag of liquids *see above* in a place where you can easily grab it in line. You don’t want to have to open your suitcase in the middle of the airport. Also, if you wear shoes that you can easily slip on and off, you can speed up the process of loading up those big gray bins. You’ll have to remove all jackets, belts, and sweaters, so make sure you don’t forget to throw those in. If you brought a laptop for your flight, you’ll have to take it out of it’s case as well so it’s best not to pack it up in your carry on bag ahead of time.
3. DRESS IN LAYERS
You never know how the temperature will be in the airport, so I always dress in layers. I usually throw on some comfy pants, a tank top, and a sweater. If you get hot, you can take of the sweater, and if it’s chilly you can throw it back on with a comfy scarf. For guys I would suggest a t-shirt and some sort of fleece-y jacket to zip up.
4. KEEP YOURSELF ENTERTAINED
I always throw a few magazines and a book into my bag before I travel because the airport and the airplane are the perfect places to catch up on your reading. If you cant focus, bring an iPod or mP3 player so you can listen to some music or an audio book. I find that headphones really help to block out that irritating cabin noise on the plane, especially if you’re trying to nap.
5. STAY HYDRATED
The air in the plane is super dry, so make sure you keep drinking water during your flight. You may not feel a difference but when you get off the plane, you will look refreshed as opposed to dry and dreary. Just be sure not to bring any water through security, buy it near your gate!
6. FIGHT THE PRESSURE
I have extremely sensitive ears, so taking off and landing feel awful for me. The change in pressure affects the internal pressure of your body, which cause the “popping” in your ears, as well as any pain you may feel. There are a few things that I’ve found really help me. Chewing gum or candy helps me to neutralize the pressure, and alleviate some of the pain and popping. If you forget gum, you can just move your jaw up and down like you’re chewing. Another thing that really helps me is to throw in my headphones and listen to some loud music. I’m not sure if there’s any science behind this one, but it really helps to distract me from the pain in my ears.
7. PEE FIRST
This is a little bit blunt here, but really. If you have to go, go on land. No one wants to use the 4 square foot bathroom on a plane. Even if you don’t think you have to, you do. That’s the rule with that one.
8. EAT LIGHT
No one wants to be bent over the yucky toilet in an airplane bathroom. Don’t eat anything that you might vomit back up before you fly. Dried fruit, granola bars, crackers, PB&J, and pretzels are all good munchies before you fly. If you’re starving, think about what you’re shoveling, and eat at your own risk. There are plenty so safe things to eat that don’t risk your stomach being unhappy. Sitting on a plane with an upset stomach is one of the worst feelings in the world, trust me.
9. DON’T SUFFER IF YOU’RE SICK
I have flown a few times when I had a cold. I have sat next to flyers who have had a cold. Neither situation is ideal, but they are both bearable. Bring some tissues and cough drops so you don’t feel too miserable, and take a few (insert drug of your choice here), and you should be just fine!
10. DON’T FREAK OUT.
Promptness is important at the airport and you should arrive about two hours before your plane is scheduled to leave. Make sure you’re on time, but don’t freak out. Stay calm and organized and you wont have any airport mishaps.
These are a few of the things that really help me to have a pleasant air travel experience. Let me know if there’s anything else you do to have a nice flight! I hope these tips helped!