I’m not a fan of flying but I love travelling too much to give it up as a bad job. I’ve clocked up air miles plus since we’ve been living down under and I’ve been making my annual pilgrimage to the Mother Country, with a my fair share of both international and domestic flights inbetween. We had an epic four-month-round-the-world honeymoon and racking up twenty flights in one trip is our personal best. I think that one will be hard to beat! I’ve done a lot of flying and I’ve learned a lot of lessons – 21 of them to be precise!
Before you go
1. Print off all your documents and travel itineraries because sometimes phones fail. True story.
2. Travel insurance – don’t leave home without it! If you’re a frequent traveller, it’s a good idea to invest in an annual policy, which covers both international and domestic travel. I had a huge trip planned and had taken out an annual policy prior to my cancer diagnosis and when I had to go to surgery, instead of on holiday, I was able to claim back every last cent. It didn’t ease the disappointment but it certainly eased the financial burden.
3. Casing the cases on the carousel is a tedious business. I always tie a bright ribbon and some wacky luggage tag on the handle to make it easier for me to find, and more to the point, more difficult for someone to mistakenly take away.
4. If you’re a serial over packer (like me,) then a portable digital case scale is a must have travel accessory. It saves a lot of stress and a whole heap of money at check in. Your case need never be overweight again!
5. Keep valuables, medication and a change of clothes (and undies!) in your hand luggage in the unhappy event that your luggage goes walkabout.
6. While we’re on the subject of medication, if you need to travel with meds that require refrigeration, you totally need one of these portable coolers.
7. It’s worth scoring some free samples of your favourite skin care products and popping them into the ziploc bag for liquids in you hand luggage, they won’t take up much space and your skin will love you for it.
8. Where possible, check in online and save your time and energy for your destination.
9. Choose your seats carefully. I will only sit on the aisle and my husband will only sit by the window which always brings us to a kind of seated stalemate. These days, we book an aisle and window and hope we get lucky with a free seat between us. It’s totally worth the gamble.
10. When it comes to flying, the early bird totally catches the worm. It pays to be on time, if not a little early for check in and at the gate. Experience shows that if you’re ready and waiting when your plane begins to board, you’re guaranteed space to safely stow your hand luggage.
11. I keep a little, light foldaway backpack in my hand luggage. Upon boarding, I decant all the things I want in flight into said backpack which means I don’t have to get out of my seat and open the overhead luggage compartment every 5 minutes. It’s a total game changer.
12. Electrical devices need to be charged to pass security but my portable power pack is my new best friend. It’s worth keeping out a USB lead to charge phones and tablets as on some airlines you can charge while you fly.
13. I’m not a fan of over processed airline food and snacks, and when I’m organised enough, prefer to take my own. Most airlines now cater for a wide range of dietary needs and the special meals are often tastier, healthier and you get served first too! Just remember to book ahead to avoid disappointment. If you’d rather sleep than eat, ask the cabin crew to slap a do not disturb sticker on your seat, and that way you can catch up on quality zzzs and save yourself some calories!
14. Even if your airline offers in-flight entertainment, prepare as if it doesn’t. Entertainment systems don’t always work and no one wants to twiddle their thumbs on a long journey. Have a loaded tablet, phone and laptop at the ready, and a good book or some adult colouring in won’t go astray either.
15. While, we’re on the subject of entertainment, noise reducing headphones are always a good idea!
16. The cabin crew are doing their job and the best job they can. Treat the staff in the air with the same courtesy that you would on the ground.
17. Steer clear of the free booze and drink the free water instead, you’ll feel a lot better for it!
18. Talking of water, I invested in one of those neat collapsible water bottles. It means I can stay hydrated as it’s easy to empty before security and easy to refill after. Best of all, it takes up no space in my bag and is super useful on any overseas adventure.
19. Travel pillows are a flyer’s best friend. I can barely step onto an aeroplane without them. With a range of colours, designs and price tags, there’s a cushion to suit every taste and budget. I got mine from Daiso for $2.80. Just saying!
Being a Savvy Traveller
20. Dress for comfort and a little bit of style. I like to layer up, wear comfortable shoes and go easy on the bling because I’m not a fan of lighting up the x-ray machine and I’m very good at losing ear rings.
21. If you have a long layover and don’t have enough Frequent Flyer points to access a free lounge, it’s definitely worth paying for one. The price usually includes a shower, food, drink, internet access, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a free massage.
I totally wrote this post as a long note to self next time I fly… and to enter this super cool competition, because you have to be in it to win it, right? And besides, there’s no such thing as too many Virgin velocity points!
What are your top tips for flying like a boss? Pray, do tell!