After taking my first international plane ride at 1 year old, I’ve racked up a lifetime of travel in all different styles.
My travel experience ranges from first class and 5-star hotels that were almost uncomfortably extravagant, to economy in a rickety airplane and “hotels” that shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves that.
Here are a few tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way.
- Put an email address on all of your luggage tags to make it easier for any good Samaritan to find you. It also protects your privacy, since you can avoid listing your home address. I set up the account plsreturnmybag[at]gmail.com.
- If you have a long stop over (10+ hours), find a lounge with refreshments and WiFi. Your back will thank you, plus you can get some work/reading done.
- Research how you’ll connect to the Internet before you get on the plane. Otherwise, know exactly how you’ll get to your hotel beforehand.
- Planning to travel often? Fast passes (ie. Nexus, e-pass, TSA pre-check, etc.) are worth it, sooner or later.
Ie. Frequent travelers can skip this section
- Pack an extra outfit in your carry on. If you lose your luggage, side A/B of your undies may not be enough.
- Bring a snack, but don’t eat too much unless there’s water available somewhere in the airport.
- Always keep your passport and boarding pass somewhere easy to access.
- Remember where you put your bag claim tabs! You need those stickers to get your luggage.
- If you’re bringing a laptop in your hand-carry, place it near the top because you may need to run it through security separate.
- Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.
- On long flights, figure out a hairstyle that you can sleep on that will still contain your hair so it doesn’t look like 1,000 furbees died on your head with all the static. I’m a big fan of the half side ponytail.
- If they offer free wine, take it. Wine will put you to sleep on a plane, beer will make you pee every 15 minutes.
- Bring a toothbrush on all flights longer than 5 hours (translates to roughly 2 meals).
- Dress comfortably but look your best, because you never know who you will be traveling with.
- Wear an appropriate outfit for your destination. Flying from the tropics to Canada in the winter? Dress warm.
- Smiles are a human language. Smile at people, especially the people helping you.
A note about airports
Airports are strange things. Being in transit is a strange thing. You’re sad because you just left something and excited because you’re still going somewhere. For anyone who feels this way when you travel, get excited for the things you’re walking into, because all the stages of our lives have an entrance and an exit. You’ll be walking out of whatever you’re walking into before you know it, and just like now, it will be too soon.