Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Travel Tips

Some of you may have noticed that I travel a lot. Well done you observant people you. There are definitely people out there that travel for work more than I, so I'm not claiming the most-traveled person award. And don't get me wrong, I'm lucky to be able to see family, travel for school things and when I was living in California, travel to see fiance. I know that I was and am fortunate to make these trips. But they can be tiring. I am not the biggest fan of flying. I'm not afraid of it, I'd just rather not. Especially because I get pretty bad motion sickness.

The last month I didn't fly was September I think? And I flew almost every month of last year and every month since October. I'm flying again next week for my brother's wedding and then I have two whole months off and I can't freaking wait. Two months without airports and airplanes and all that goes with it. Yippee.

However, since I have racked up quite the number of frequent flyer miles, I thought I'd share some of the tricks I've learned along the way. Some of these may not apply when you are taking a quick 50 minute flight, but when you are settled in for 5 plus hours, they will come in handy.

1. Dress comfortably. I've been on planes that have been so hot I thought I was going to pass out and planes so cold I shivered the whole flight. So I always dress in light layers. Scarves, cardigans, soft shirts, light jackets, etc. I always always always wear shoes with socks if I can help it. Doesn't matter where I'm coming from or where I'm going. My circulation in my feet is terrible (thanks mom), so I usually wear socks and short boots during the summer and tall boots in the winter. Not only does it make taking your shoes off in the security line more sanitary, it keeps your feet cozy and less prone to swelling. Here are my suggestions for perfect flight outfits. They are comfortable enough to sleep, but still look put together enough for wherever you are going.

I should also mention, don't wear crazy high heels. It looks stupid. Tottering down the aisles or struggling to reach your gate is never a good look. If you are really worried about it, pack your heels and change once you get to your destination.

Summer:

I actually own this skirt and it's my go-to for flights:


These t-shirts from Target are the very best. I bought two and want to go back and buy armfuls because I'm wearing them almost every day. I like the grey for flights because it's a little more forgiving than white:


Add a sweater for warmth:



Cover it all up with a jacket:


Add a pop of color with a fun scarf. I actually wore this one on a flight last week:

Keep your tootsies warm and comfortable with flat boots like these. I don't know why it won't let me save the picture. Oh well, on to winter.

Winter:

I like to start with a comfy pair of leggings:


A button-down is helpful because it still covers your tushy if you need to take off the sweater, but also looks great layered:


Add a sweater for warmth:


Top it with a trench in the fall or a longer, heavier coat in the winter:


A thicker scarf is necessary during the winter. This scarf is white, but I think your accessories are a great place to add interest. So choose as bold a color as your dare. (Side note: I like to keep my basics, like the shoes and coat, neutral, so I can wear them again and again on the trip with different outfits and can reduce the amount I pack):



And finally, good boots. I like riding boots because they are comfortable to walk in, provide good structure, and bring your outfit some elegance:


2. Bring snacks. I don't know about you guys, but I get so hungry on airplanes. I always try and pack way more food than I think I'll need. Usually, I have extras, but there is nothing worse than being on a plane that doesn't sell food and being starving. Watch out for grumpy passenger in 10D.

3. Bring multiple activities. The only thing worse than being hungry is being bored. Some flights have tv's with movies or shows. Some don't. So I always bring work (if I am lucky and feeling productive), books, shows, music, etc. If I'm feeling sick, certain activities aren't an option, so I have to plan ahead.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! No I don't mean alcohol or coffee. In fact, try and keep the caffeine to a minimum. If you need to, have a coffee right before you land to perk up. Try and stick to other beverages until then. The altitude tends to dehydrate you and makes your limbs swell. Nothing combats these side effects better than water.

4. Get there early. Three hours isn't necessary, but if you are checking bags, give yourself at least 1.5 hours. It probably won't take that long, but you don't want to be in security checking your watch every thirty seconds to see if your flight has left.

5. Check in and pay for bags ahead of time. It's easier, saves you time at the airport, and gives you a chance to see if there are any announcements/notices online. If you aren't checking bags and you are in a rush on the landing side, try and get a window seat or a seat at the back. This advice may sound odd, but if you are carrying bags on a full flight and don't want to gate check them, you want to board early. Window seats and seats in the rear tend to board first.

6. Don't be that person in the security line. No you can't bring entire tubs of toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc. If it's your first time on a plane, or the first time in a really long time, I get it. But there are websites for a reason. You can easily read what is allowed and what isn't. Don't try and walk through the security scanners with belts, wallets, coins, etc. You can't do it. You will have to go through again. It's really annoying to the person behind you. Similarly, while you are waiting in line, get prepared. Take off your belt and shoes and put them in a bin or hold them until you can. Take your laptop out. I am a well-oiled machine in line and it makes my trip smoother.

7. Try to keep your calm. Airline workers are not trying to piss you off. They don't want delays either, they want to go home and be done with their shift. If you yell unnecessarily, you will only earn yourself spit in your coffee or the embarrassment of other passengers on your behalf. I'm a firm believer that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and I have the experience to back it up. I've gotten upgrades and free stuff by smiling and being polite after a passenger screamed at an attendant.

8. Know the rules and don't try and break them. This one is in the same family as number 6. Don't try and bring eight bags on to the plane. You probably won't get away with it. Then you will hold up the line and cause yourself a ton of stress while you try and jam your bags together.

For those of you with motion sickness, here are my extras:

9. Stay away from dairy for at least an hour before the flight. It generally doesn't sit well.

10. Eat at least 1.5 hours before the flight and eat something with protein. It will give you time to digest and the protein tends to help combat nausea.

11. I don't like to do anything during take off and landing because those are my trouble spots. I try and close my eyes and relax or stare out the window.

12. If you are taking an early morning flight, first, I'm sorry. Second, these are always my worst flights. I try and grab afternoon flights when I can. If it's not possible, you can take half a pill of Bonine the night before. Although fair warning, it will make you super tired and loopy. But you won't get sick.

13. If you are still getting sick, ask your doctor for a prescription for behind-the-ear patches. They can give you dry mouth and I'm always super ridiculous when I take them off, but they work for three days at a time. They are a great option for quick turn around weekends.

14. Be prepared. I always travel with water, paper towels and a plastic bag just in case there aren't motion sickness bags in the seat-back pocket. Yes it's gross. But better than having no where else to go. If there aren't bags, I always try and ask the stewardess, but some airlines (tiny planes usually) don't offer them anymore.

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