9 Tips to Fly like a Pro

30 March 2015

I hated flying. In fact, I loathed it, mostly because I had a fear of flying. But today, take-offs and landings are something that I actually look forward to for every trip. There is something uniquely exhilarating about defying gravity or watching the twinkling lights of what looks like a toy village expand and grow as you descend toward your destination. 

A lot of my traveling friends say that airports and air travel stresses them out, but for me, it's a breeze. So, here are a few tips to make your flight experience a little more manageable -- or maybe even more enjoyable!
Source: Andrei Dimofte
Start tracking your transit time
Never know when to leave your house to get to the airport? Our older sister who travels constantly for work taught us this one, and it's a trick that will blow your mind. Build a really simple spreadsheet where you can start tracking time stamps for checkpoints from home to your boarding gate. Make sure you record the following:
  • What time did you leave for the airport?
  • What time did you arrive at the airport?
  • How long did it take you to check in and check your luggage (if applicable)?
  • How long did it take to get through security?
  • What time did your flight board (this should be on your boarding pass)?
  • How much free time did you have in the concourse area?
If you keep track of this information, you can start to use it as a guide to decide when to leave for the airport. Just jot these down quickly somewhere on your smartphone, and take the time to track it in your spreadsheet whenever you can. 

You can also use this to track transit times for destinations that you frequently travel from, but I use it most to track from home. Or really, I just text my sister and have her tell me. 

Go mobile
People underestimate how much time it takes them to check in at the airport. You can't control the amount of other people that will be doing this at the same time, which can cause delays. If you're only carrying-on -- which I always recommend -- just send your boarding pass to your mobile device. If you have an iPhone, I recommend saving it to Passbook, which is much quicker to pull up than digging through your mobile inbox. 

Pack light
Try to avoid checking a bag whenever possible. Caileigh and I are packing pros, so check back for a new series on how to do this, which is coming soon. By not having to check your bag and opting for a mobile boarding pass, you can go straight to security right when you get to the airport. 
Source: HKmPUA
Prep for security while waiting in line
I'm not going to lie -- you might get some strange looks. If you're wearing a jacket, take it off. Get out your passport or Driver's License. Take your laptop and toiletries out of your bag. By doing this, you won't hold up the line behind you once you approach the security scanners. You can quickly drop your items into bins, take off your shoes and start pushing everything down to the conveyor belt. 

Skip the accessories
That cute scarf might look great with your outfit when you arrive, but it will only hold you up at security check. Wear something simple and avoid things like belts and watches. If you really want to land with jewelry and other accessories on, pack them away in your carry-on and wait to put them until you're ready to board or you arrive at your destination.

Keep your toiletries close
This is a mistake that I see many people make. They arrive at security, get all of their accessories into plastic bins, and then they can't find their quart-sized bag of toiletries. Don't bother packing them in your carry-on until you're through security. Instead, put them in your purse or in an outside pocket. Keep them where you can quickly pull them out and be on your way. 
Source: Dave Heuts
Wear slip-on shoes
My favorite shoes to travel with are my TOMS or my Converse low-tops, because I can easily slip these on and off. I don't have to step aside at security and untie them, and they're still comfortable enough to get me through my trip. They're definitely not fancy, but I usually travel in leggings and a t-shirt anyway. 

Re-pack before you board
My least favorite part of flying is boarding and getting off the plane. Why? Because too often, other travelers haven't planned ahead. Take the time at the gate to make sure you have the things you will want for your flight in whatever bag you'll be stowing under the seat in front of you. And, since you've taken a lot of items out for security, make sure you put them all back in the appropriate places. You don't want to be carrying and arm-load of items on to the plane, and frankly, the flight attendants won't let you!

Pick a window seat
I love having the opportunity to watch as we take off and land. Sometimes I'll entertain myself by taking pictures out my window! I'm also not very skilled at sleeping on flights, so picking a window seat allows me to have a place to rest my head and makes it just a bit easier. 

Are there any other tips you use? Comment below!

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