Top 10 things to do to make your travel on planes smoother
1Bring your travel neck pillow
If you can afford to travel in luxury in business class then this article is not for you. This step is for most of the unlucky travellers like me who must travel in a budget in economy class. Most of us have suffered many times travelling long flights with little to no planning at all and always wondered, only if I had been organised.
Although we cannot afford to travel in luxury, we can minimise the impacts and one of the ways is to buy a comfortable neck pillow. Invest a little on a travel pillow, this is a must-have travel companion. It helps you relax and fall asleep easily, making you ready for the trip when the plane lands. Trust me, your neck, shoulders and your body will thank you later.
2Buy a travel sleep mask and earplugs
Travel sleep mask and earplugs go hand in hand with the above step. When you have all three pieces of equipment, you can sleep in harmony. There is nothing worse than noisy plane sounds, noisy travellers and their noisy kids making it a hell for you to take a quick nap. In addition, the sleep mask can help you avoid unwanted light and gives you a relaxed feeling of a cosy night.
Taking the first TWO steps can help reduce your jet lag substantially. Try it for yourself next time you are travelling and let us know the difference.
3Bring your own headphones
If you can afford to buy a noise cancellation headphone or if you already own one, it is a very good news for you. However, if you don’t have them or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for it, don’t sweat it. You can bring your normal headphones or earphones that you get with the purchase of your smartphones.
- Primarily, you are used to it and will be comfortable using it
- Secondly, your own earphones or headphones will most likely be better that the ones they supply on a plan. REMEMBER, we are still on an economy class flight, don’t expect anything to be better.
4Pre-load your iPad/Tablet with entertainments
To be honest, the airlines are upping their game with technology and on flight entertainment. One of my recent flights with Cathay Pacific was amazing in that regard. However, there is nothing worse than ending up on a flight with old movies or the movies you have already watched a million times and so on. Don’t push your luck or you might end up regretting the next 8 – 20 hours of your flight not knowing what to do.
It is always wise to be prepared and load your tablet/iPad with music, movies and digital books you fancy.
5Get to the airport earlier or check-in online
If you are one of the lucky ones who get to choose their seats online when booking or get to book your seats 24 hours prior to travelling via mobile application or a website, you have hit the jackpot. Please do so as soon as you are able to, this allows you the opportunity to choose your preferred seating, from window seats to the seat with extra legroom. Please remember, the best seats won’t last.
In any case, get to the airport earlier, check-in and get your baggage checked. As soon as you are done with check-ins, you get to enjoy the relaxing lounge and explore the airport. There is no point of stressing over being late or wasting your time in a queue. Remember, you have the power to control your own stress and anxiety.
6Pack essentials in your carry-on
Essentials in carry-on essentially mean the items you must have with you at all times to successfully board a plane and travel. Some of the crucial lists are as follows:
- Passport and travel documents: You cannot possibly board a plane even if you are missing one of the items, especially the passport, without it, you cannot even check-in and get a boarding pass.
- Cash and ATM Card: Even if you board the plane and reach your destination, you will not be able to get anywhere without the money itself.
- Phone and the charger: In this day and age, it is very tough for us to get anywhere without our electronics. Our phones have all the information we need in one place, from contact number of the people we are meeting up, to quick access of information via web-browser and mobile applications. Without it, we will be lost.
And you must include all of the steps mentioned so far for a stress-free travel.
Essentially, you should be able to survive without your checked-in baggage even if they get lost or mixed up with someone else.
7Mark your bags
Marking your bags is very vital, as mentioned above; there are higher chances of it getting mixed up with someone else as many people have similar design bags. When the flight lands and everyone are impatient to get out and meet their loved ones, they do not pay close attention to bags, especially when they all look the same. They think it’s their own bag and without further diligence, they end up leaving with someone else’s belongings. Which is cumbersome for both parties and sometimes it can take weeks to get it fixed. It has happened to my girlfriend twice so far and trust me it’s not fun.
To avoid mix-ups, mark your bag in a unique way. Write your name on it in big letters or attach a colourful piece of clothing. Look at the image below, this is how I travel these days and it has made easier to spot my bag.
8Place a special meal request
This works best for people like me who are vegetarians or someone with dietary requirements as it gets served first than any other meals. Also, the meals are better quality, as there are only limited amount of such requests.
9Take an empty bottle and a pen
You cannot take liquids inside the airport if it’s not in your checked-in baggage. However, if you take an empty bottle with you, on the way to lounge/waiting areas, they have water fountains where you can fill up your empty bottle. Buying a mineral water is a waste of money as it is very expensive inside. Having water with you at all times and staying hydrated is very important and you can accomplish this by taking an empty bottle with you and filling up inside. This way, you do not have to walk back and forth to water fountain while waiting for the plane to board. Additionally, inside the plane itself, you don’t have to wait/call for the flight attendants for water.
Taking a pen with you is one of those little things that are worth putting extra effort. It can make your life easier when you have to fill in the immigration form at the airport or in-flight. Last time, I visited Nepal; I had to borrow a pen from a shop, as I could not find one near the tables.
10 Bring extra snacks
You will thank me ten fold for this piece of advice. You will be thrilled to find snacks in your carry-on backpack when the food on the plane sucks. As most of the fellow travellers already know, the standard of the food on the plane isn’t great and the portion is small. However, when the flight runs for about 8-20 hours long, we need to eat something, our body needs fuel to function properly. Without it, your trip can turn into the worst nightmare imaginable.
Bring some snacks with you just in case you need it and make sure you check with airlines on their policies regarding the types of food you can bring to the plane.