For most, the notion of being 30,000 feet above ground in a vehicle with less leg-room than a Smart Car and more seat-kicking than a minivan full of pre-schoolers is a daunting one. And while many travelers subscribe to the journey-not-destination philosophy, planes are the inferred exception. After all, watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory while a stranger drools onto your shoulder feels more like a catastrophic date than an exhilarating voyage. But air travel doesn’t have to be grueling. Below are five tips to ensure that your experience is an affable one:
1. Does watching your luggage trundle away on the conveyor belt fill you with frigid dread? Most airlines have surprisingly modest carry-on restrictions; if you’re only going away for a few days, consider packing a bag small enough to be stowed in the overhead compartment. Not only will you guarantee the arrival of your belongings, you will also avoid the ensuing scrimmage when half of the passengers discover that they’ve marked their identical black suitcases with identical red ribbons. Purses are generally allowed in addition to the carry-on, although micro-dogs must be checked.
2. While airport food is notoriously expensive, that cute pack-lunch your mother prepared may prove more disastrous than foreseen (and not just because the “Love, Mom” note will inevitably manifest just as the striking flight attendant struts past). A cluster of suspicious spherical objects appearing on the x-ray could result in your detention and interrogation—and who wants to miss their flight because of grapes? Although pre-packaged, non-liquid food is typically safe, it’s often easier to just eat beforehand.
3. Like death and taxes, air travel delays are unavoidable—and even the smoothest trip can take upward of 40 hours depending on connection times. A travel-sized toothbrush and tube of toothpaste will maintain personal freshness and prevent the sensation of having been intimate with a Muppet. Furthermore, regardless of your daily habits, deodorant is a must; if not for your sake, then for those around you.
4. It’s every traveler’s fantasy to spend a trans-oceanic flight seated beside a bitingly witty, beguilingly attractive individual who forgot to book a hotel and who is in desperate need of a bunk-mate… but that never happens. Therefore, it is prudent to forgo the flattering yet impractical outfit for something that won’t bunch, dig, or wedge as you strive to get comfortable. When you’re catwalking down the plane’s aisle, pajamas are the new black.
5. Even though “hear no evil, see no evil” is commonly associated with the three wise monkeys, the phrase could’ve just as plausibly been coined by a frequent flyer. Unless the kettle-like screeches of a perturbed infant or the thunderous snores of a congested businessman have a soporific effect on you, earplugs are the only way to guarantee a peaceful flight. Likewise, an eye-mask will offer solace when your neighbor decides to self-test for epilepsy by watching that banned episode of Pokémon. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always dimenhydrinate (Gravol) to knock you out.
Author: S. Bedford is the newest addition to the growing ranks of Vagabond Travel writers. Ms. Bedford is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada resident and an avid traveler, having already backpacked through 50 countries. In fact, to call her a resident of anywhere is misleading. It would be more accurate to describe Ms. Bedford as someone returning from somewhere, on her way to somewhere else. Not only will Susan be contributing articles to Vagabond-Travel.com, but she will be the Vagabond Travel on camera spokesperson, touring the planet to share her experiences via video posts on this website. Connect with Ms. Bedford on Twitter: @SBedford86
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