It’s a necessity when traveling, but I hate to do it. What is it?
I won’t lie, flying is one of my least favorite things. Remove the fun of getting to your destination and you have an experience that most people would probably love to avoid. And I am definitely one of those people. If I need to fly, I dwell on it for days upon days before I actually have to get on that plane. Just about everything related to flying gets me worked up. But I suck it up and do it because I love traveling so much that I have to endure a bit of torture to make it worthwhile I guess.
So how the heck do I survive?
Well, I have been to my fair share of airports and flown on my fair share of airlines. So I want to share all the ways in which I make the experience from gate to gate a little better. I want to help you fly comfortable.
Today I will talk about departure, because the airport is step one in the mayhem that is air travel.
This is probably all very straightforward for a lot of you. But I know that it has taken me years to finally feel like a boss when I stroll into an airport. When I follow my own set of guidelines I am usually sitting pretty with a latte in my hand long before I need to board the aircraft.
1. The first step is having both your passport and booking reference easily accessible so you can waltz up to the auto check in and print your boarding passes. Try to check in the night before if possible, just in case you are on an overbooked flight. This happens more than you know. Who wants to start a vacation rearranging flights? I also carry my passport in an RFID sleeve because after having my Visa card compromised, I am not taking any chances. These things probably make me sound completely paranoid. Maybe I am.
2. Pack properly. There is nothing worse than rummaging through your bags at security with one hundred people behind you. In your carry on pack your electronics in a large Ziploc or similar, and all of your liquids in the proper 1 litre size (1 quart US). Carry on liquids should stay under 100ml each. Trust me, compartmentalizing these things will make your life easier when you go through security. And not just for you, for your fellow passengers as well.
3. Know the weight restrictions of your specific airline. These vary wildly from airline to airline so you may have to do some homework. Also make sure you know the limits for both the checked and carry on luggage. Repacking in the airport is horrible and stressful.
4. Arrive at the airport with plenty of time. Usually I give myself about 2 – 2 ½ hours for an international flight, and if I’m nervous sometimes 3. Don’t stress too much, even if you arrive way too early a lot of airports have nice restaurants or pubs where you can fill up on food before you get on your flight.
5. Water yourself. Buy a big big water. Or alternatively have an empty refillable bottle with you and fill it up somewhere. You will be happy to have it once you are onboard.
6. Relax. If you have your stuff organized and arrive on time there is no reason to panic. Bring enough to read. Have a snack. Listen to some soft rock. And then board that plane.