“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” ― Jack Kerouac
When working for a company whose employees log hundreds of thousands of miles of air travel each year, you not only learn a lot about personal travel preferences – window vs aisle, carry-on vs checked luggage, to recline or not to recline – but you also pick up a lot of useful tricks and tips to survive long layovers, navigating security checkpoints quickly, and overcoming jet lag. This is the second part in a series that will help spread some of this knowledge to the most frequent of flyers or those who just skip out of town on the occasional vacation or weekend getaway. Some of these tips are no-brainers and others may elicit an “Ah ha!” moment when you read them.
“Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” –Thomas Carlyle
Determine what is crucial to have in your possession at all times or where you can get it in a pinch. You are entitled to at least 1 personal item that you can bring onboard at no charge so take advantage of it. Some essential tools mentioned by the women and men of our team in no particular order include:
• cell phone charger
• an external USB battery pack charger for your phone – you won’t always find an outlet on a plane
• hand sanitizer and/or sanitary wipes – the tray table and arm rests on a plane may not be cleaned as regularly as we would like to think
• snacks – sticking to a consistent eating schedule despite the time zone you are traveling to is one step in preventing the effects of jet lag along with staying hydrated – foods like beef jerky, seeds and nuts, and yogurt
• chewing gum – for fresh breath and a simple way to alleviate the change in altitude when ascending and descending
• chapstick and lotion – recirculated air on a plane is going to dry your skin out; just make sure the lotion is less than 3oz.
• a toothbrush and travel size toothpaste
• a powerstrip – charging kiosks are popping up at a lot of gates but a powerstrip with multiple plugs is a great way to make new friends if wall outlets are limited
• headphones – the most popular item among our team; we’re not anti-social by any means but during a long trip it’s nice to tune the rest of the world out for a few hours; make sure you packed whatever it is you plan to plug your headphones in to… and it’s probably a good idea to preload albums or podcasts or books on to your phone or other device – Wi-Fi may not be available on all flights and the free Wi-Fi in an airport is often unreliable when downloading larger media files – nothing is worse than being bored in a confined space for hours on end.
These are all relatively small items that should fit comfortably in a backpack, purse, or briefcase. Depending on your own personal preferences or itinerary, you can tailor the list to your own needs. Pack these items along with your suitcase of clothing the night before your trip. Frantically packing on the day of your trip is bound to result in forgetting something small but critical to making your trip as stress free as possible.