So we’ve talked about how to avoid being a pain in other people’s butts, how to keep yourself entertained, and briefly about skincare. This is the post that deals with all the other aspects of air travel.
1. The Carry On
Keep it light. You don’t need as much as you think you do. People bring these massive suitcases onto planes and it’s just a nuisance to everyone. There’s also the fact that the bigger the suitcase, the more space it needs. Duh. If a lot of people bring large carry ons, that means that those overhead compartments will fill up really really quickly. You might also want to consider using a sports bag instead of a suitcase if you’re not bringing a lot of things since it is easier to squish it together.
So what should you actually put in it? This is assuming you don’t carry a handbag, so this is pretty much everything you should bring onto the plane itself.
One-two changes of clothes – If your luggage gets lost then you at least have clean underwear for a few days.
Any in-flight entertainment as mentioned in my previous post.
Valuables – things go missing from checked in bags all the time. Don’t put your expensive camera or computer in there, carry it with you.
Travel documents – Same reason as most other things on the list, you really don’t want these to go missing. This includes passport, visa, etc. I’ll count wallet and credit cards here too, same thing with keys.
Small kit of beauty related products – even if you never use moisturiser on your face, do it today. Try to find a free sample given out at the duty free shops. Bring a deodorant or antiperspirant of some kind. Avoid liquid ones and aerosols, try the stick kind (you know, the ones where you can do the prank of replacing it with cream cheese). Why? Security hates liquid and aerosols. Consider a chapstick as well. Those are the three basic things you need. I don’t tend to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste onto the plane, instead I brush my teeth just before I leave home. It’s just one more liquid, you can’t be certain of the water quality, and there’s a high chance of the toothbrush getting dirty. Buy some mints or something at the airport if you’re concerned about your breath.
Sleep aids – no, don’t take sleep pills. But do bring a travel pillow (especially good are the inflatable ones), ensure your headphones minimise outside noise, and consider wearing a sleeping mask.
2. What to wear
No, this isn’t fashion advice. However, the clothes you wear on the plane will play a huge role in how comfortable you are. No, I’m still not letting you get away with PJs.
Guidelines: decently covered (knee length or longer, that includes shorts), nothing too constricting (skinny jeans is a bad idea, especially if your legs are prone to swelling), avoid itchy materials. No thongs, wear covered shoes or proper sandals. Leave the stilettos at home (remember, your feet can swell and you’ll need to wear them for the flight + hours at the airport etc). If you do wear heels, try to have the same rule as you would for a job interview: nothing too high. Wear shoes with rounded toes and not the pointy kind. Bring a sweater, planes get really cold.
If you wear dresses, they are the optimal travel garment. Maxi dresses are perfect, knee length dresses work really well too. Otherwise, go with a pair of slacks or comfortable jeans. Again, nothing too constricting. For shirts, wear a colour that doesn’t stain easily. No one wants to see just how badly your armpits sweat.
Again, wear something clean.
The single greatest advice I can give to people who are about to get on a plane is to wear comfortable underwear. I am not joking. A bra with a wire that digs into your armpit becomes pure torture after 20+ hours. Underwear that cuts into your butt is not something you should be adjusting in public (and take that lesson into your daily life too), the last thing you want to do is make frequent trips to the bathroom to adjust your clothes.
3. Before you leave.
A day or two before your long flight, go for a massage. Airplanes are horrible to the muscles and having given them some love before will make it less painful. This is especially true if you know you get sore easily.
Have a late flight? Wear something else during the day and get changed before you leave, makes your travel clothes less rank.
Have a fucking shower within reasonable time of your flight. Also, use some sort of body butter or moisturiser even if you usually don’t.
Before leaving for 1+ week, try to empty your fridge of things that will smell when they expire. You want to make your return pain-free. Eat it, give it to your flatmates, or throw it out.
Change sheets, especially if you’re going away for a while. You want to return to a clean bed. Make sure your room/house is reasonably clean so that it will not feel unpleasant upon return. Put dirty laundry in the laundry basket, pick things up and put them in their right place.
Double check that you have everything you need. If there’s something you need to buy at the airport (travel adapters is a common thing to forget), note it down. Have you brought your chargers? Do you really have your passport?
If you use a handbag, clean it out before you leave. You’ll be dragging that thing around the world, that receipt from last week’s grocery shopping doesn’t need to come with you. Leave coins at home, beyond anything you’ll use at the airport.
4. Generic travel tips.
Have a designated place for your passport and tickets. Never put it anywhere else. Every time you think you’ve lost your passport, you’ll feel like you’re having a heart attack. Minimise the risk of that by being organised.
Put liquids into a see through bag long before you reach security. You don’t want to be holding everyone up because you’re an airhead.
Be quick about putting everything back on after security, if it is going to take a while then move away from the line. Be considerate. Know what contains metal and don’t wear jewellery. Put your watch in your bag, there’s clocks everywhere in airports.
Time your food intake to suit both the time zone transition and use the bathroom at the airport. They’re usually 500 times cleaner than the ones on the plane and the line will be shorter.
Have more than one flight to get to your final destination? Take the chance to walk around between flights, your legs will thank you.
If you have allergies, a large airport is usually where you’ll be able to eat compared to on the plane. Oh, and don’t buy more shit than you can carry.