I often travel back and forth between the US and Europe. Flying is fun and I love it. I am also mildly affected by a mix of hope and strange exhilaration every time I take the plane. Did I put everything in order? Do I have all my documents with me?
The following list is a collection of several thoughts I had and measures I take whenever I go by air travel.
It’s also Day 6 of the 180 Day Challenge “Become an Idea Machine“.
13 ways you could make your travelling easier next time you fly.
#1 – Prepare for your flight well in advance – have a list of important items.
After your next flight, review your bag. What did you use, what did you forget to bring, what would have made your travel easier? For example, you may have forgotten your adapter for foreign power outlets, but brought a game or book that you really did not need. So write down what you forgot – or did not need during your travel and after you are back home, and you can pack these items easily ahead of time for your next flight. Then, prepare your luggage so that you have it ready before the day of your air travel.
Mike Cernovich also has a useful list of travel gadgets and tips.
#2 – Try checking in early.
On some flights, especially international, you can check in your bags at the airport one day in advance. That requires an extra trip. But you won’t be nervous on the actual flight date. Maybe you can combine the airport check-in with a visit to a friend or client who lives close by the airport?
#3 – Check into the airport hotel.
If you have spare money and your flight is early in the morning… why not pack your stuff a day before, check into an airport hotel and be refreshed and worry-free the next morning? Plus, you don’t need to prepare breakfast, that’s a bonus too.
#4 – Try to inquire which flights will be half empty and which will likely be overbooked.
If a flight is half empty, you could have a row for yourself. If it is overbooked, you could get bumped up to first class. There may be some times when flights are less booked. It’s worth a call to the airline.
#5 – You might be able to travel on a cargo plane towards your destination.
From a quick google search I got mixed results. If you are somehow a member of a company operating cargo planes (or maybe have a friend that works for those), you might get a seat on there – more leg room, and probably a more exciting flight. Or more hassle. I don’t know. Worth a try!
#6 – Accompany a friend who works for the airline.
Airline employees usually get a discount for traveling. And they can take somebody with them, also with a discount. That way, you may be able to pay an economy price or less for a business class seat.
#7 – Pack a neck pillow.
It can give you an easier way to sleep in economy class, even if you are in one of the middle seats.
#8 – If you end up with a middle seat…
… and don’t like it, there may still be a way. When you are at the airport, try to figure out if there are any couples or families. Maybe some of them did not get a seat in one block. Talk to them and figure out if you can switch seats. Plus, you socialize a bit with your fellow travellers, not a bad thing.
#9 – Prepare your destination.
If you frequently travel between the same places, have some of spare clothes, books etc. at the second place – so you don’t need to bring them with you.
#10 – Buy your clothes at the destination place.
Pack lightly at least one way – only take what you need with you and buy the second set of clothes at your holiday spot.
#11 – Only bring carry-on luggage.
Don’t take a suitcase with you, if you can avoid it. Especially on holidays, why do you need twenty sets of clothes? You can find a laundromat at your target place, google or ask the friends you are visiting. Alternatively, you can also bring hand-wash detergent for your clothes.
You can bring an easy carry-on for your travels. I use a smaller size model from Stratic. Very stable and lightweight. Several compartments for your documents.
Unfortunately they appear to have discontinued the model, though here is a similar one. Same size, just happens to have 4 rolls instead of 2 and probably makes for an even easier transport. Mine always fit into the overhead compartment in airplanes (make sure the size still works though in smaller airplanes).
#12 – Electronic copies of your documents.
Keep your documents on your phone as backup or maybe even as only source. Relieves you of the stress of looking for your documents.
#13 – Apply for citizenship of the target country.
When I was applying for my US visa, I met a dutch conductor who was frequently accompanying his orchestra on world tours. Every time he went to the US, he had to apply for a visa in person. If you frequently travel between two countries, it may make sense to become citizen of both countries. That will relieve you of the extra time for refreshing your visa and the documentation you have to carry with you every time.
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!
What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.
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