Okay so yesterday we discussed the importance of selecting the right airline for the right destination. But there’s another thing that we have yet to learn in the art of air-travel. Do you know that guy/girl who knows EXACTLY what to do with themselves the moment they get to an airport? Do you have that person that you follow around when you travel?
Today I have my top tips on how you can be that guy. So on that note, off we go!
Edit: Since its so large, I”ll break this up into two parts: pre-airport and inflight.
Pre-airport Top 5
1. Always Always Make a List
Just about one out of every three people I talk to tell me that they always forget that ‘one’ thing during their initial packing, and then remember it by the time they get to the airport, or by the time they are in the car halfway to the airport. Some of my friends have it dawn on them halfway through the flight, which I coin the “Home Alone” moment.
Avoid this by simply making a list (keep it small, mind you) on what you want to bring. Passports and money should always be on top, or left on top of your suitcase, or put near your wallet and phone. Make this list about 3-4 days before your flight day and you’ll be surprised to see what you did and did not remember during your packing moments and most especially during your frantic packing moments, just 2-3 hours before you need to leave for the airport.
2. Pack Light, Pack Heavy, Pack However you want to pack
This can be a dangerous advice for some but just bear in mind what you need for the trip and then pack accordingly. Your list of NEEDS should always be packed prior to your list of WANTS. I know sometimes its hard to differentiate between the two but bear in mind the shopping that you are going to do there, or the foodstuff that you are going to buy, or that unexpected annoying relative/parent’s friends that wants you to bring something back with you for them, hoping that you’ll magically stuff it somewhere inside your ten-dimensional warpgate of a suitcase.
All in all, the best advice is to consider your trip and pack accordingly. Remember, when emergencies happen, chances are that there is that person who has overpacked and will lend their hair straightener/curler/t-shirt for you. Keep in mind you storage, which brings me to my next point:
3. Bag Space!
Your usual airline would allow a passenger to bring around 3-4 bags. 2 bags for the cabin totally perhaps between 20-27 kilos, 1 bag for the cabin and a handcarry bag/purse/backpack for the journey. In all my journeys and travels, airlines always check the weights of my check-in bag but they NEVER weigh my cabin bag or my handcarry bag. Use this to your advantage!
My most recent trip from Perth to Sydney included all of my room fitting into a small, black wheelie cabin bag that actually weighed more than my check-in bag (awesome!). To top it all off, I also had my handcarry CRAMMED with stuff like books and novels and my bible, and they never knew.
4. Invest in Fast-Forward Items
Some airlines would let you bypass this point, but for me who travels mostly on budget airlines, this is a must. Fast-Forward Items are substances, be it non-durable or durable (or edible and non-edible), that has the affinity of fast-forwarding your time in a flight. Believe me, 4-5 hours of flicking through the same inflight magazine can have devastating effects on your mental psyche.
For me, I have my personal kit of FFI’s listed below:
Fluffy Pillow/Neck Pillow: Basic creature comfort.
– Cup of Instant Noodles: try surviving a flight without any grub and you’ll see how long it’ll last you.
– 500mL bottle of Water: Nowadays airports allow water bottles to come in, even if they are full of water. Seems like they’ve upgraded their hardware somewhat.
– iPod: Or any other listening device would do. Some airlines just have majorly bad entertainment.
– Book/Magazine: I prefer a nice crime fiction novel or a book by one of my favorite authors. Song prefers a nice magazine. Whatever tickles your fancy really.
– Medication: If you hate ear depressurisations, headaches, or even if you just wanna get knocked out for the duration of the entire flight.
– Laptop/gaming device/other: This I put last only because it largely depends on how much space you have left on you. By all means bring a laptop and a charger so that you can watch movies to your heart’s content if space and the airline allows you to. Some airline even have inflight wi-fi equipped as well.
I strongly suggest you buy a couple of magazines or drinks or food outside of the airport, but in a pinch, convenience stores and newsagents inside should have ample supply of what you need. Bear in mind that they’ll use the opportunity to squander a few extra dollars off you.
5. Web Check-ins are AWESOME!
Most airlines nowadays give you the option of checking in on the web. This allows for very fun things to happen in your journey. No longer will you have to wait those arduous lines at the airport, wasting the time you can use to say goodbye to your friend or even enjoy a pre-flight latte. No longer will you have to be at the mercy of the check-in hostess who has the power to give you your desired window/aisle seat, when there were 20 other people asking for the same thing. And No longer will you have to scamper off and panic because once you are checked in, airlines by law are required to call you personally several times before listing you off as a ‘no-show’.
Oh, just make sure that when you are in your honeymoon or you are in other cases eligible for an upgrade, you check-in IN PERSON. This will give you a possibility, I repeat, a possibility, that you’ll be upgraded to a business class.
Quick note on airplane seat choosing:
– It is better to sit in the front of the wings than sit in the back. That way you get out of the plane faster. The only exception to this rule is when you are travelling on a small plane. Usually the seats cut off at row 14. Anything past Row 14 gets to exit from the back of the plane.
– If you hate noise from the engine, sit either in front or behind the wings. There is less noise pollution this way.
– With regards to aisle vs. window seats. Both have their pros and cons. Being a tall person, I love having the aisle seat, but this leaves me vulnerable to resting my head on stranger’s shoulders when I sleep. Also, one time during one of my flights to Brisbane-Sydney, we went past a thunderstorm, just when I was sitting on a window seat on the right side of the plane. It was beautiful. So its your call, really.
Tune in for more tips tomorrow!