9 Ways to Thrive on Your Next Flight
We've all seen tips about "how to survive your next flight," but I don't like to live under those negative terms. Instead of surviving, what about thriving? Ever wonder how you can THRIVE on your next flight? (Yes, the power of positive thinking is a real thing--even in travel!)
It's time to shift that mindset, people! Today, I'm giving you 9 ways for you to thrive on your next flight so that you'll have a positive experience during travel and no longer have to cringe at the mere thought of going to the airport.
1. Get a Mobile Boarding Pass
It's 2016, everyone, and it's time to start taking advantage of the technological advances we've made with travel. It really blows my mind that there are still people who don't take advantage of getting a mobile boarding pass sent to their phones. Like...why would you want to sit in line at the airport to get that little piece of paper? It's time consuming, a waste of paper, and it's just a pain in the butt!
I get that there are extenuating circumstances that cause you to HAVE to get the physical boarding pass; but if it's possible, download your airline's mobile app (even if you delete it right after your flight), and get your mobile boarding pass sent to your phone before you head to the airport. It's so easy, saves a ton of time waiting in line, and it's good for the environment! Heyyy!
2. Bring a Positive Attitude
Airports have somehow become a hub for cranky people. Have you noticed this too? It sometimes seems like no one there is happy, and that energy spreads--fast. People are pissed off because of the lines, they are in a hurry, the airline customer service agents are having a bad day... Whatever the reason, it's just not a generally happy place.
But... Can you imagine what would happen if everyone came to the airport with a smile and a good, positive attitude? OMG! The dynamic would completely change! People would be helpful, humorous, and pleasant to be around! Well, all it takes is one person to start and shift that dynamic. One positive attitude, one smile, one friendly greeting, and it could become a domino effect. Be that person.
I've actually tried this on numerous occasions, and my positive attitude has actually paid off big time for me. Because of my positive attitude, I've gotten upgraded to Business Class FOR FREE on an international flight when the airline messed up my reservation (comfortable living for 14 hours will always trump a hissy fit); I've gotten my luggage checked for free; I've skipped the TSA line to the front; I've gotten free food and drinks on the flight; and I've even gotten thousands of reward points put back into my account for providing really positive feedback about my flight experiences (all done on my own will). Having a gracious, positive attitude spreads that good energy and it pays off!
3. ...And a Proper Water Bottle
So you might have read this in my recent article, "How to Save Money During Travel," but I still stand by the idea that every traveler needs to bring a specific type of water bottle during their trip.
There are 2 types of water bottles I like: 1) SmartWater--purely because of the bottle itself and the fact that it barely crinkles when you put it in your bag; and 2) A bottle with an integrated filter system in it so that you can safely drink water from anywhere in the world--even a pond!
Whichever you choose, don't forget to pack the bottle in your bag before you head to the airport so you're not paying ridiculous prices for water at the airport. I've done this before and it hurts so much to fork over the cash just because you forgot to plan ahead :(
At the Airport
4. Carry-On vs. Checking Your Bag?
Ohhhh the age-old question: Should you check your bag or carry it on? Here's the thing... It comes down to a few factors: price, convenience, and in-flight experience. I really have mixed feelings about this one, so I've broken it down into some pros and cons for you to decide what's best for you:
Pros/Cons of Carrying On Your Bag
- (+) Quick access into the terminal (assuming you have your mobile boarding pass)
- (+) It forces you to pack less and more efficiently
- (+) Save money on baggage fees
- (+) The airline definitely won't lose your luggage
- (+) Quick access out of the airport once you land
- (-) It forces you to pack less (ugh I just wanted to bring those other sandals!)
- (-) You could be fighting for overhead bin space
- (-) Probably won't have optimal leg stretching space if you're storing your 2nd bag under the seat in front of you
- (-) Lugging bags around can be heavy
Pros/Cons of Checking Your Bag
- (+) Don't have to carry anything around inside the terminal
- (+) You can pack however much you want
- (+) Optimal leg stretching space is pretty much guaranteed
- (+) Sometimes it's free (shout out to all the airlines who don't charge baggage fees--you da real ones)
- (-) Baggage fees
- (-) Waiting in line to check it
- (-) Waiting in line to retrieve it
- (-) Risk of it getting lost (which isn't that big of a percentage anymore)
5. Skip the Coffee
I know it may be hard to resist the urge to have your daily "necessary" cup of coffee, but do everything you can to skip the coffee before a flight. I'm not a doctor and I'm not here to argue the effects of coffee on the body, but I do know that flying at high altitudes can severely dehydrate the body. Opt for drinking water instead of coffee to replenish your system and prepare it for the journey ahead. Plus, you won't feel those caffeine jitters on the flight and might have a better chance of relaxing.
6. ...And the Unhealthy Foods
Again, I'm not a doctor, but I do know that eating unhealthy foods (i.e. processed foods, "bad" carbs, too much salt, fast food, etc.) can cause bloating, discomfort, dehydration, irregular blood flow, and other gross stuff that you definitely DON'T want to experience when you're thriving on your flight. Skip the airport food and bring your own snacks instead. Pack a little fruit, maybe some veggies, a little yogurt...whatever you want! As long as it's healthy and will hold you over until you reach your destination. You'll save money and your body will thank you for it.
On the Flight
7. Block Out the Noise
We've all been on those flights with screaming babies, obnoxious passengers, or overbearing flight attendants. Do yourself a favor and create your own personal oasis in your airline seat. Block out all the noise you can. I personally love traveling with a pair of earplugs or some noise cancelling headphones to quiet of all the commotion around me. Bonus points if you can block out the light too with a hat, sunglasses, or even a scarf!
8. Ease Your Flying Anxiety
So I have a confession... I have flying anxiety. I know! How can I be a travel blogger and still get anxious to fly?! I don't know, but it's something I deal with every time I step onto an airplane. Because of this, I've come up with a few ways to ensure I have as peaceful a flight as possible. Try some of these tips out if you also have flying anxiety:
- Have relaxing meditation music queued up on your device. I have my specific playlist for flying ready to go, I plug my noise cancelling headphones in, and I get in the zone.
- Use simple breathing techniques to calmly bring yourself to your center. When you're tense or anxious, your body's natural reaction is to stop breathing (or breath shorter/lighter), so it's really important to remember to breathe! No hyperventilating allowed--just calm breathing. Deep one in, deep one out...
- Think positive thoughts. I really believe that flying anxiety is worsened because the media only highlights all the negative stories about travel. Shifting your mindset to believing everything is going to run smoothly and how it should is one of the best ways to ease your tension and anxiety. Do everything in your power to overcome any negative thoughts with positive ones. And breathe!
- Throw back a cocktail or two. Ok, so I know that there are tons of medical reasons why you shouldn't drink on a flight or drink to ease anxiety; but, I have to admit, I've been on flights where I was feeling a little more anxious than usual and I gulped down a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (or two) and instantly felt more at ease. Please get me right here: I'm not advocating drinking to solve anxiety. I'm just saying that it helps me (and some other people I know) relax a little during air travel. If you're going to do so, please drink responsibly...and don't be an asshole.
9. ...And Relax
What's your idea of relaxing during travel? Is it reading a good book? Listening to your favorite jams? Taking a much needed nap? Whatever it is, do it! Take a break from the work and hustle and relax while you're on your flight! Put your bags up in the storage bins, stretch out your legs, and take the time to chill out. It's one of the few times that you can unapologetically unplug from the world and have time for yourself.
Prep your entertainment before hand: charge all of your devices; upload that TV show you've been wanting to catch on your iPad; download a book you want to read on your Kindle; or buy that magazine you've been wanting to flip through. You are in complete control of making sure you thrive on your flight. *I personally love kicking back and taking a nap.
What are ways that you like to thrive on a flight? Comment below with other suggestions!