Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or just want to travel like one, your journey will go much smoother if you get some tips from those who have spent tons of time in the air. So, before you plan that next trip, it's well worth your while to take a look at these expert travel tips from frequent flyers.
Find Your Best Cure for Jet Lag
Start your trip well-rested by relaxing a day or two before you leave. This may not always be possible if you are traveling for business, but chilling out the night before is better than working overtime and racing to the airport. As soon as you board, set your watch to your new time zone. I know this works because I do it religiously. I have traveled to Asia, Europe and Africa and always put myself in “destination mode” as soon as I can. Try to book a flight that lands early in the evening so you can sleep away your jet lag.
It is a fact that the air on planes causes parched throats, dizziness and a higher risk of jet lag. What’s the fix? Stay hydrated at all costs. Buy a reusable water bottle and bring it to the airport empty and fill it once you are past security. Also, avoid too much caffeine and alcohol. They will dehydrate you faster than anything.
The easiest way to drag down your energy level is to load up on carbs, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. It is tempting to grab all the free drinks you can, but moderation is the key. Try this trick, order a vegetarian or special meal when you book. You will get a healthier meal and also the added bonus of probably being served first because they tend to serve these meals before others.
Bring Your Own In-Flight Entertainment
Don’t rely on the airline’s in-flight offerings. They are full of movies you have either seen or never have wanted to see. So, before you leave the comfort of your home, load up on movies and TV shows, e-books or bring your own music playlist and you will be set. Also, bring your own headphones, the ones the airlines supply stink.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Here is a secret that many frequent flyers use to get special perks on flights—smile and be nice to airline employees. We are sure you are going to meet many unhappy travelers on your trips and you won’t see employees going out their way to make them happy. You will be surprised, however, at what being pleasant to others will get you.
Upgrades, Cheap Tickets and Perks
Get upgrades on flights by booking an economy ticket with a Y or B booking code. Ask for this upgrade when you book your ticket and if there are open slots in the next class of service, you might get one. Make sure to check at least 24 hours before your flight for any open slots. Check out Reddit Travel for all kinds of tips on getting cheap airfare and upgrades.
If you have a lengthy layover, airline lounges offer a quiet place to spend some time before your fight. You can test out your “be nice” skills and ask at the airline desk about getting a lounge pass and see what they can do for you. You may already have access and don’t know it. Many credit cards have lounge passes as a perk. Worst case, buy a day pass to the lounge. It may be cheaper than a meal at one of the airport’s restaurants, and they often offer more reliable Wi-Fi connections, showers and other perks. Military travelers should check out the USO Lounge that is found at most airports stateside.
Go Light and Lose Your Wheelie Bag
Airlines are putting more and more restrictions on carry-on and checked bags. Most airlines now charge you anywhere from $25-$80 for the first check bag and the rates for additional bags are ridiculous.
More and more frequent flyers are bagging their check bags and going with a carryall not matter the length of their trip. Invest in one with hidden wheels and you are golden.
Download the Airline’s App
Besides handling your boarding pass, an airline's app often lets you stay up on your flight info, such as departure time and gate information. Most apps now send your phone an alert when the gate is announced, and another when boarding is about to commence so you don’t have to interrupt your meal or search for an airport status board.
Have Electronic Versions of Important Travel Documents
Keep your most important travel documents on Google Drive, Dropbox or e-mail them to yourself. What documents should you have handy? Copies of your passport, your driver's license and your birth certificate. If you lose your bag that has all your travel documents, copies can be used to prevent you from being stranded abroad and assist in the process of applying for duplicate documents.