So if you didn’t know I am a seasoned traveler. I used to travel for work and I was on an airplane almost weekly. So when you are lugging heavy suitcases for what seems like miles, you learn a few tricks here and there to make your life easier. So I will share some of those with y’all while they are fresh in my mind.
Get yourself a passport badge carrier. I just found a better one and linked it for you. I bought 2. One for me and one for my partner. I got mine from Viking Cruises, but you can easily buy one on Amazon or in the gift shop at the airport. Put your smartphone, drivers license, boarding pass, AirPods and regular earphones in there. Now you won’t forget where you put one of those items. Seriously, you will panic when you lose your phone in some irregular pocket. And I actually recommend getting the paper boarding pass and putting that in there too. That way you aren’t taking off your mask to unlock your phone or put in your passcode. Or you can screenshot the boarding pass if it isn’t in your apple wallet.
Use a bag/string backpack that folds up easily. Keep your coat(s) and extra clothes in there. When you are on the plane, you can put your coats in there and make it a pillow. The straps will hang nicely on your headrest. Take an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up with ice and your favorite beverage before you get on the plane. That goes for water, juice or alcohol. Mimosa anyone? If you aren’t driving and you are flying, chug a lug pooh bear. Keep it folded and flat in your pocket or carry-on until you get on the plane.
Wear boots. They are easy on easy off. No laces or metal. They are more comfortable. Bring an extra pair of running shoes and sandals. People spend so much time taking their shoes on and off at TSA. Although if you get TSA Pre check, you can skip that step all together. I’ll just wear boots. They also make me taller. They are loud on tile and command attention when walking through a silent hallway or room.
If you are an apple person, then your AirPods have noise cancellation feature. Go into bluetooth in the settings, and go into the options. It makes a big difference when the plane is in the air. And you can block out crying kids. Keep those AirPods in your passport carrier when not in use. It is super easy to lose them or misplace them and then you are freaking out you just lost your $250 buds. Or just use your 3.5mm corded headphones with the airlines video screens. Delta will sell you a pair for $2 if you forgot, so don’t buy them in the airport.
Depending on how much you travel, and how much you can withstand standing in lines, you may want to invest in a CLEAR membership. It lets you jump the TSA line. And when there is a thousand people waiting to go through the rat maze, it is super handy.
Do you check a bag or do you carry on? It depends on your airline, your budget, and your level of tolerance, … meaning, how much patience do you have to wait in another long line for your luggage. I have discovered the power of a very well packed carry on bag, thus eliminating the need to drag around another heavy bag, especially if you have a long ways to go. Suitcases through NYC is very common, as is it in Las Vegas.
I traveled with a friend once who said she didn’t want to have to wait for her luggage, so only do carry on. It was difficult at first, but I was able to make it work by not packing too much. You could always buy more clothes and go shopping. That is another strategy. Only pack clean socks and underwear, one shirt, one pair of work out pants. Voila, now you are packed so light you HAVE to go get something to wear, or be forced to just wear the same jacket every day. I accidentally left all my hanging shirts and had to buy new shirts, while on vacation. It actually was a fun break from the normal stuff. Keep in mind, in pictures, if you are outside it is usually the same coat/jacket in every picture — unless you are going somewhere warm. For me personally, tank tops are super easy to pack and take up no room at all. And when you are on the plane, it gets super cold a few thousand miles in the air, so wear layers so you can shed and put them back on. Also think about what sunglasses you like best and the ones that you look good in photos. There is nothing worse than forgetting your sunglasses and then buying a cheap pair that look and feel not so good. Glasses and sunglasses are a part of your identity.
Remember that the world is opening up again, and people are starting to travel more. There are still staffing issues, and as a result, less planes that fly, and less options for cancelled flights, delays, stand-bys, and …. long, long lines everywhere. Most people are considerate and there wasn’t any issues with masks. Sure in the airport, no one is policing you if you take your mask down. Just don’t take it off. Obviously with food and drink you don’t have to wear one. But everyone I talked to said they all had the shot and booster.
My advice is to pick your favorite airline and fly exclusively. I choose Delta. I wasn’t even in their little club but they treated me like a king. Of course it also helps to tell the flight attendants/gate agents, “OMG, I LOVE YOU GUYS! DELTA is my BITCH!” They laugh and tell me they love me too! Works like a charm every time. Hey — free upgrades don’t just happen magically on their own. It sometimes takes a little nudge of happiness for someone to make your wish come true.