Majority of travelers can say that vacations, holidays or adventures are always something to look forward too, but sometimes the process of it all is one to look away from.
This includes flying.
Does the thought of getting on a plane stress you out? Do you strategically procrastinate and pack at the last minute? Toss and turn the night before you leave? Choose to sit in the window isle to make sure you are able to look out the window to know that the plane is moving? Are you that person that is the last to board the plane and first to get off?
If you said yes to majority of the above and you’re looking to avoid the pre-plane turbulence, preparation is key. So here are some tips to make flying an better experience!
1. The less connections, the better.
Direct flights to anywhere generally cost more, but layovers in airports add time and stress. The extra dollars for a direct flight is always worth it.
2. Book upgraded flights.
This may not be an option for many, but if it is in the realm of the travel piggy bank of possibility, it could be the answer to your comfort.
First, have your travel adviser check on seats that are not a large upgrade cost.
Many international flights have the option of premium economy, which is essentially a business class seat with economy class service. The meals are upgraded in premium economy as well. Due the premium economy’s popularity and only being available on select airlines, this service sells out quick, so it is best is to book long-haul flights earlier to secure this.
What is the cost? As a general example, an economy ticket is $2000, premium economy might be $2600 per person. If you are flying to Australia on a 14 hr flight from Canada, is that worth it? I say most definitely!
3. Pre-book your seats, add meals in advance, check-in and check flight status online, and advance pay for checked-in baggage.
Remember the days when the cost of your airline ticket used to include all meals, seat selection and free baggage allowance? Nowadays it is all about low cost fares with the ability to add on ‘extras’ if you would like to pay for them in advance, which could potentially add on unnecessary stress.
To avoid that stress, I first suggest paying for the advance seat selection especially if you are traveling with others, need to sit near the front, or don’t want to worry about what seat you will have without advance selection. Note: Just because you book together, that does not mean you will be seated together on the flight. Always double check!
Next, some airlines allow to pay for meals ahead of time and the best time to do so is if you have a particular request. If not, make sure to have a credit card available to pay for in-flight meals.
Once you’ve done that, if the airline charges a fee for baggage, check the airline website to see if you can pay for your baggage ahead of time. Some airlines offer discounts on their fees if you purchase this ahead of time (especially low cost charter flights that you find in Europe!)
And last but not least, 3 days prior to departure, check your flight status to see if any flight time changes. At 24 hours prior, check-in online to print your boarding passes and take them to the airport with you.
4. Remember all the steps in tip #2? What if there is a delay or sudden change in your flight, or your flight is cancelled and you are at the airport already?
As said from the brilliant mind of Dr. Seuss, “ I’m sorry to say so, but, sadly it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. And then you are in The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.”
This is the perfect time to take a long deep breath and do the best you can. I always pack extra books, items for the kids, or anything to help pass time just in case there is the chance that you will find yourself in a situation like this. Try your best to keep your calm and be polite when talking to the front line agents will help in resolving the issue quicker. If you are rude, you will be flagged, noted in the system and probably be the last one to be helped.
And as always, you can call your travel adviser/travel insurance provider for assistance with the trip interruption! Keep all receipts if you are delayed a day (food, transport, accommodation, proof of flight delay) so you can make a claim for trip interruption.
With that in mind, this leads us to tip number five…
5. NEVER travel without travel insurance.
This includes trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage and out-of-country medical insurance, all of which can be easily added to your vacation cost at the time of booking or anytime before you depart. It is usually 7-10% of your vacation cost and gives you 100% peace of mind.
6. Pack early and arrive at the airport early.
We have all been there. The day or even hours before your flight, last minute errands are being done, and you’re trying to pack and get everything in order before you leave. Then you find yourself rushing to the airport in your pajamas and a blazer!
In reality, sometimes the busy in our lives cannot be avoided. To work around the busy right before a trip, try to pack small amounts every night and do those errands a few days prior. When the day comes to pack up the car and drive to the airport, chaos is minimal.
Get a good nights sleep and be ready to take on the airport, flight, and trip!
7. Skip the party the night before your flight and any of the processed food that may go with it.
Try to eat light (salads, fruit, vegetables, crackers, mixed nuts) during the time you travel, stay away from heavy foods (meat, cheese, pastas) and drink plenty of water. When you’re in the state of “morning after”, flights and airports add another element to your discomfort in addition to the hangover and bloated tummy. Your body is going to react to skipped time zones, so it needs to adjust accordingly! With that in mind, when you arrive at your final destination, remember to jump smack dab into the middle of the new time zone. For example, avoid going for the overnight sleep if you arrive in the morning at your final destination. You will adjust to the time difference much quicker.
8. Take the time to relax
When was the last time you were able to sit down and curl up with a good book or watch a funny movie without interruption? Did you know that you have the time to do so on your flight? YOU DO! Unwind, relax, have a sleep, glass of wine, and let the next 12 hours focus on you.
What are your thoughts about stress and traveling? Do you have any? If so, what are they? Do you have tips that help keep your flight experience the best it can be?
Please share, I would love to know!