Air travel seems to get more and more annoying these days. Even aside from the ever-increasing security line hassles, just sitting on the plane can be tough. The seats are small and cramped, the air is dry, and the food is unappealing. Unfortunately there are certain places you just can’t get to in a reasonable amount of time without flying. Here are some simple preparations for your flight that will maximize your comfort level.
What to Wear on the Flight
Even on a short flight, you will be sitting in your small and not-so-cushioned seat in mostly the same position for quite some time. A trip or two to the bathroom might be your only chance to stretch your legs and move around. That’s why it’s important to wear comfortable clothes and shoes on a long flight. I can handle jeans for a shorter flight, but if I’m crossing an ocean or taking a red-eye flight, I like to wear comfortable, loose fitting pants. Basically anything that isn’t as constricting as jeans, but not so far as to be confused with pajama pants.
Bring a sweater or sweatshirt. Even if it’s warm outside, airplanes tend to be cold, and they rarely give out blankets anymore. Having a sweatshirt will save you from shivering for hours.
Aside from being cold, the air in airplanes is also extremely dry. If you wear contact lenses, a long flight will dry them out leaving your eyes irritated. Consider skipping the contacts, especially if the flight is more than a few hours.
Food and Water on the Flight
Before you even leave your house, check to see if your flight will be providing meals. Almost all US domestic flights have discontinued in-flight food, and those that still have it often charge high prices for it. However, international flights still feed you, even if the food isn’t so great.
Either way, it’s a good idea to bring a snack in case you get hungry. And because the dry air can dehydrate you, bring a bottle of water on the flight. Just remember that you’ll have to purchase the water after you’ve gone through security or bring an empty bottle from home to fill up once you pass security.
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Items to Take in Your Carry-On Bag
Anything valuable, such as money, jewelry, ID, or other important documents should always remain in your carry-on. Also, your electronics, like your laptop, Kindle or other e-reader, and camera (as well as the batteries and chargers), should never go in your checked luggage.
If at all possible, keep fragile items with you in your carry-on bag. Don’t trust that big flashy “fragile” sticker the airlines will give you for a breakable item that’s going into the luggage hold. I’m sure it works out most of the time, but I’ve heard too many stories of baggage being thrown around and things breaking.
Since there’s always a chance your checked baggage could go missing, all medications should be in your carry-on. It’s also a good idea to pack in your carry-on a change of clothes, your toothbrush, and any other toiletries you might need to get through a day or two. This will help you relax while waiting for your bags to show up, or at the very least it will give you time to buy new things if your bags don’t show up.
Also, make sure the items you are likely to use during the flight are packed in the bag you’re putting under the seat in front of you. Even if you have an aisle seat, you don’t want to be pulling things out of the overhead compartment throughout the flight.
Bring Tissues on the Flight
This one might seem a little random, but tissues come in handy on flights. That dry air can irritate your nose. Unexpected turbulence can cause you to spill your drink, and a flight attendant with napkins might be far away. And on a long flight, if I’m going to the bathroom towards the end of the flight, I like to bring tissues with me just in case they’ve run out of toilet paper. This is definitely one of the things I must have when I fly.
This simple list of preparations for your flight will make traveling much more manageable. Dressing comfortably, having some snacks and water, and keeping your valuable and fragile items with you will make for a smooth flight and calm arrival in your destination. And don’t forget the tissues!
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