Friday, July 9

My Top Ten Tips for Traveling by Air

I thought I would participate and provide you my top 10 travel tips, because although I do not travel often anymore (except roadtrips, yobo seems to love road trips), I have already traveled a lot by plane in my life time so I think of myself as a pro now. My tips will mostly be for you lucky airplane fliers out there, and are mostly based on flying through Europe or to Asia, so ignore me if you're flying domestic XD!
1. Dress well, but comfortably.  I don't believe in wearing Juicy couture sweat pants in the airport at all. And honestly adding sunglasses and a cap to look like a celebrity-in-hiding is a little tacky to me.  I think Duty Free salespeople would agree, I imagine they see a ton of people dressed the same way.  I also don't opt for my mom's full professional outfit + make up, but something in between where I look put together and my hair is pulled back and my make up is light but noticeable.  I usually go for comfortable jeans and layered clothing (cold in the airplane) and a scarf (regardless of season).
(Image from StyleBakery)
2. Do wear make up. A little make up goes a long way while traveling. You look so much better, you look like you care about how you are perceived, and you will feel more confident when you get that extra cup of coffee in the airport.  I have actually tested the theory that if you don't wear make up in the airport you get poorer service (my mom's theory), and have concluded that it must be true.  A little foundation and eyeshadow (I go for neutrals) make you look less tired, and more respectable. You'll get better service and a few extra head turns.
(Image from Zimbio)
3. Bring a big purse. You know there's no limitation on how big your purse is? I've seen guys carry ridiculously large bags that go under "purse". Unfortunately this last time I flew the US decided to lessen our hand luggage from two pieces to just one piece, which means that we have to fit more in that one piece OR bring a really large purse in addition (if you don't carry a purse I understood that you could carry a laptop bag, a guitar, a baby bag, etc.).  What I do is that I bring a purse that can fit my netbook (which is in a separate bag), that way if I don't have any hand luggage I can just carry my purse. Also if you pass by airports where you have to remove your shoes and practically undress (belt, jacket, scarf, jewelry...) you'll be thankful how quickly you can get through by throwing everything in your arms into your bag and just holding your boarding pass. Trust me, I have a lot of experience being late to flights.
(Image from Bagbliss)
4. Pack mini cosmetics in your purse. I've seen people pack stuff in their carry on (like a trolley or a large duffel bag) and it doesn't make sense to have to take out the zip log bag from it every time you go through customs (maybe I transfer too many times for each flight and that's why I find it annoying? I guess if you only went through one check point it would be okay...). It's also irritating to have people climb all over you and drop things on your heard while you're trying to focus on a good movie, or pretend you're not flying, because they need things from their carry on luggage which are now over your head.  Anything you might need on a flight should be in your gigantic purse! That's why you're bringing it. Personally I carry a lot of moisturizing stuff like thick hand creams, thick face creams, ponds (to remove make up and hydrate at the same time), toothbrush, etc.  I don't usually wash my face on the plane because...well...it's dry.  I usually do it if I'm in transit somewhere for more than a few hours, but by then my skin is so dry that I actually prefer dirty/oily skin to washing it clean and having to reapply everything. lol I guess I'm a lazy traveler.
 (Image from Wayne Wallace)
5. Ignore Costs. In airports, you'll find that even in third world countries your coffee is going to be double Starbucks price.  I think my mom said a popsicle was 5 euros in Paris, and I spent 128RMB in Beijing airport for a teeny tiny cup of cappuccino (it was espresso sized). But what are you going to do? You need water, no? If you're stuck in transit most likely you'll need water even if you brought your own food (I do when I come home from more exotic places), but it'd be ridiculous to deny your body bottled water or a good meal just because you think it's too expensive--Not when you're already dehydrated! For a relaxing transit, buy yourself the cheapest water deal you can get, preferably two bottles at once (as I've been going through Heathrow I always get mine from Boots for a good price) and then think about what else you need. Is it coffee? Is it something sweet? Is it a real meal because you hate airplane food? Is it Burger King? XD Just go get it, put it on a credit card (you should know in advance which credit card has the cheapest exchange rate), and don't worry about it.
6. Don't drink alcohol on the plane.  Or coffee, or even tea.  You should not be drinking anything that further dehydrates you on the plane. When I say go get that coffee I meant in the airport, not while in the air.  Besides, alcohol is a stimulant and would not give you restful sleep anyhow. You would be better off taking melatonin (sold in airport pharmacies) than drinking a bottle or two of red wine.

7. Don't over-pack. Used to happen to me often when I traveled alone, I would bring everything I could think of using while bored in the airport and my bag would end up being too heavy and I'd suffer from muscle pain the next day (after arrival). I would pack snacks (everything from raisins to coffee drops), a book to read, a music player, my laptop, a notebook/notepad in case if I feel inspired to write, my journal (I used to just sit in a cafe and spill my guts on paper), two extra layers of clothing (including jacket), comfy socks, cosmetics, medication, vitamins, poker cards, school books, etc. But there was this one year when I traveled home for Christmas and all I did was carry a medium size purse (and this was a good thing because the flight was packed and I had this middle aisle seat where I was scrunched between two large males and I couldn't move) and then I just went to the store and bought myself two good magazines to read. I felt so happy. Somehow I don't feel as happy if I bring the magazine from home (did that too) so just don't pack too much. You don't need it all, and if you need something you can get it in the airport (see #5).
(Image from Zimbio)
8. Follow regulations. Prepare the zip lock bags before you go to the airport or at least in the airport before you get stopped for it (they usually provide you zip lock bags).  Don't bring your own water, don't bring knives (not even nail clippers), lighters, hairspray, nailpolish, or anything else flammable that can get you in trouble and slow you down. It's really not worth the hassle, and I would know because I have had to throw out Christmas presents (the lotion in the gift box was .25ml too large & thus "breaking the rules"), Swiss army knives, lighters, supplements (no glass bottles? really?), nail clippers, eyebrow scissors, etc.  Not only can it become embarrassing when they start rummaging through your cosmetic bag for that "unidentifiable object", but it also ruins your mood for the rest of the trip.  My last trip pissed me off so much I vowed never to fly through Heathrow again.

9. Bring your cellphone AND charger. I don't know how many times I've traveled thinking I don't need my charger, I can't use my cellphone there anyway only to find that when I return I my cellphone battery has depleted itself and I cannot call anyone to find me or entertain me while I'm waiting. This last time I went I brought my charger in my purse (hence gigantic, must fit laptop charger as well you see) and I charged it in the airport lobby (next to Starbucks) and as soon as it had a bar I called yobo and asked him where he is because I'm waiting. Then I just let it charge while I texted everyone to let them know I'm back and they can call me now if they want.  Besides, you never know, maybe you want to take out that SIM card and use it while you are abroad, I know I sometimes do.
 (Image from FashionPolice)
10.Refresh yourself in the Ladies' room upon arrival.  Especially if you are being picked up by someone. Regardless of who that person is there's no reason why they have to see you looking like you just rolled off the sofa after a night of consecutive dog's naps. You can change clothes if you know you'll be going somewhere (it you're not sure this would be a good time to ask), redo your hair, wash your face, reapply your moisturizers and make up, straighten your back and return to the real world. That's how I always feel when I leave the airport, like I just stepped out of limbo.

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on traveling, and if you're flying somewhere this summer do share! I'm not going anywhere as of yet and I'm envious of you already!


I am participating in a blogger contest held by Cabins For You. Cabins For You specializes in cabin rentals located in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN. For more information about cabins, events and attractions please visit their blog.