You’ve booked your flight, your place to stay, you’ve received your City Experience from FOUND, and now it’s time for your trip. But you still have to pack and deal with the struggles of flying. How do you make that process as smooth as possible? FOUND turned to me, a road warrior, to give you my tips and tricks to ensure you travel like a local but fly like a pro.
Keep Calm and Carry On.
Checking bags can cost money and introduces additional risk to your trip. Bags get lost, especially when connections are involved, and you can’t afford to spend part of your trip with no clean undies! So unless your trip takes you to Everest Base Camp, you’re better off keeping your bag with you on the plane.
Even a two week trip is plenty doable with a roll-aboard and a backpack or handbag. Yes, you’ll have to keep your liquids down to 3.4 oz, but travel-sized toiletries are your friends. Buy an inexpensive pack of travel bottles and fill up what you need or bring non-liquid alternatives such as bar soap or solid deodorant.
Make sure to wear your bulkier shoes or clothing on the plane instead of packing. Wearing a sport coat on the plane keeps it less wrinkled than when its packed, allows for easy transition through security, and saves suitcase room for other crucial items.
I managed a 15 day trek through Japan with just a backpack and a roll-aboard. I also managed to meet a lot of new friends.
Pack it in. There are a few essentials I bring on every trip that have come in handy:
Collapsible shopping bag. A small, foldable bag is good for shopping, dirty clothes, or carrying on any additional souvenirs. If you don’t bring one, most hotels always have a disposable laundry bag in the closet.
Unlocked phone & local SIM. If you don’t have an international data plan on your smartphone, unlock it so it can use other SIM cards. If your phone is not under contract you can contact your provider to get it unlocked for free. Then when you get to your destination, buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for around $15-$20 and replace the one in your phone so you can use your data to get you to that next must-do activity.
Citymapper – The Best Urban Wayfinding App. Expecting to use mass transit in big cities? The app Citymapper has proven extremely beneficial in determining the best way to get from A to B by train, bike, walking, rideshare, or taxi. Along with rain-safe routes, the app provides estimated prices by method to make sure it fits your budget. Plus it even will tell you how fast you can get somewhere by jetpack, really!
Portable Phone Charger. All that navigating will eat up your battery life, so be sure to have a portable phone charger handy to keep you moving.
HDMI cable. Sometimes you want to unwind at the hotel. If you’re gonna bingewatch, use an HDMI cable to connect your streaming device to your hotel’s TV and kick back with room service.
Portable Power Strip. International destinations can often mean using adaptors to plug in your devices. A small portable power strip means you only need one adapter for multiple devices. Get one with USB ports to allow for multi-phone charging.
Wanna be a baller, long hauler
Long haul flights to faraway destinations can have a negative impact on your trip if you don’t manage it right. To minimize the pain, here are some tips that will have you feeling better when you land.
Sleep it off. For those of us who don’t have the luxury of flying in the front, find the seat the gives you the best chance at sleep. I always check Seat Guru, like to be away from the high traffic bathroom areas, and pick a window seat so I can rest my head. A sleep mask and neck pillow (the Cabeau Evolution is my go to) works wonders to get the necessary shuteye. Stuck in the middle seat? Cross your arms in front of you and wrap the standard issue plane blanket around your upper arms. Then grab the blanket under your left arm with your right hand and vice versa, which keeps your arms snug against you and provide some arm support without having to get into armrest battles with your seatmates.
Drink alcohol in moderation, but plenty of water. The front end of a vacation provides temptation to get the party started early, but limiting your intake to a couple of glasses of wine with your dinner will provide relaxation without disrupting sleep patterns. Do drink plenty of water in the dehydrated environment of an airplane. I recommend filling a water bottle up in the airport so you aren’t at the mercy of the flight crew and their plastic cups.
Find the headphones that complete you. Headphones on airplanes are must-have for watching movies or listening to music/podcasts, and provide an easy way to avoid a chatty neighbor. I have earbuds instead of on-ear headphones for space saving purposes and because it’s easier to rest against a pillow or the side of the plane. A decent pair of earbuds will run you about $30 including varying size ear pads and an airplane audio adaptor. A soft-voiced podcast on your earbuds combined with the neck pillow and a sleep mask and you’ll be in dreamland before you know it.
Employ a few of these tips and you’ll be traveling like a jetsetter in no time. Anything that you would add to this list to make getting to your destination easier?
When he isn't flying hundreds of thousands of miles annually for his job in Software Project Management , Daniel enjoys traveling with his wife to explore at least one new country every year. He is proud to hang his hat in Houston, TX. Daniel can be found on Twitter @glovedirk.