When I mention to folks how much I love travel, most of them look at me like I came from another planet – this is beyond anything they can fathom! Many find travel, especially air travel, extremely stressful and taxing, and in fact, avoid travel entirely just so they don’t have to tolerate flying to their destination. That, to me, would be a death sentence! I haven’t traveled anywhere in a while and I am itching to head out on the get go so here are my 7 secrets to stress-free flying that I hope will help you!
Searching for Seats: Apparently a lot of people find this pure torture. I say, don’t look for seats soon as you book. Search for seats 24-36 hours before you are flying because a lot of people cancel, change plans, upgrade and what not around that time and the airline is able to release available seats so you get a more recent seat map to choose options from and you don’t even have to pay for it. I have scored seats with extra legroom for no fee because they magically reappeared as available closer to my travel date and time.
Save on Fees: I am talking about baggage fees here. If you travel on an airline that does not charge for bags then you are in luck. If you have a credit card that is co-branded with an airline then you might get your bags free as well. Also works if you are a member with specific status per that airline’s point system. But if not, simply travel light and avoid baggage fees altogether. Make do with a carry-on and you won’t have to pay a penny. For local flights or short duration trips, I usually carry a backpack, travel purse and carry-on apart from a few personal items I am allowed to have outside of these.
Which means you can now zip on through Security: Lighter bags and simple packing easily makes the experience through Security a breeze quite frankly. You know exactly where everything is, and can quickly clear the lines. I have also noticed where sometimes TSA has a staff member guiding people to different lines and you might not realize but there is a method to the madness – they try to send large families, parties with many members and people with lots of luggage on them to a different line, families with infants and dependents on wheel chairs get another line, and, trust me on this, folks like me that travel light/for business or work and look like they got this are usually guided to the one I like to call the ‘Fast-track Freeway :) Even better if you have TSA PreCheck – now you can simply speed through minus any stress.
Save for Sanity: If there is one thing I would save my money for and splurge on in an airport, it’s the access to one of the airline club lounges. This is especially soothing if you’ve had a long flight, have crazy wait durations between connections, or simply want to get away from the crowds, particularly if you are flying or transiting during heavy traffic times. Sometimes your points and/or credit card privileges might provide access but most times, purchasing a day pass to enjoy this luxury helps relieve travel tension. And you don’t have to be traveling by that specific airline either!
Swing to the side: Of the wait line at the door to board the aircraft. I still cannot comprehend why people do this really. You have your seat allotment so why the rush to get in? I always wait until they are making their first of three final calls to board before I get on the aircraft. I am not standing in line fidgeting for space, and bonus – if the flight is packed, they do check-in your bag for free by the door!
Seek soothing and comfort: On a plane? You gotta be kidding me! That’s how most people react anyways but it is possible. I do it every. single. time. Take along a beverage or snack you enjoy – your travel comfort food so to speak. Carry reading material, music or podcasts to listen to, and something to make your flight comfortable – a blanket, sweater, inflatable pillow (which I carry all the time for my back issues) – these count as personal items and can be easily placed in your carry on too. For longer flights, consider eye masks, refreshing cream and towelettes to keep your face and hands moist and clean, and your personal water bottle to fill-up on as frequently as you like.
Sometimes you must move though: And this is the one that a lot of folks forget and end up feeling like they were boxed in a sardine can. No doubt some of the coach class seats are antiquated but use that to your advantage for a chance to get up and move, particularly on longer flights – do some stretches, walk around, chat up the cabin crew – you never know what gems they might have to share about your new destination. I time myself to get out of my seat every two hours – that’s as long as a movie usually, decent amount of reading or a short nap so I feel energized getting out of my seat, walking around a bit and stretching too if that’s an option and space allows. This also means no deep vein thrombosis when you get to your destination!
I understand these might not apply to everyone but definitely think most solo travelers or couples can vouch for it. I hope that was helpful for you, and if you have some tips to share with me on how you travel stress-free by air, I’d love to read your comments. Bon Voyage!
Sharing a few products that I love. Some are affiliate links, some are not, some I was introduced to and some I happened to chance upon. Enjoy!