10 Tips for Less Stressful Plane Travel

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My favorite plane trip was when I was the only one on the plane. I had a speaking engagement in a small town in the midwest, and my flights to and from Minneapolis were on one of those small turbo prop planes. On the trip there, the only other passenger was an extra pilot. On the trip back, I was literally the only passenger being flown by my two “private pilots.” I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the back of the plane looking out onto the gorgeous clouds and enjoying some private time with God.

But not all my plane travels have been as pleasant. I’ve also had other experiences such as unsettling turbulence. Crowded planes. A nine-hour delay.

Plane travel can be fun and exciting–and I’m blessed that most of my experiences have been–but it can also be frustrating and tiresome. Here are a few tips to make your next trip a little simpler.

1. Pack a change of clothes in your personal carry on bag. A crowded flight may demand that your suitcase-style carry on be checked at the gate. Be prepared for at least 24 hours in case of unexpected delays. Pack these extra clothes in a sealable plastic bag.

2. If your carry on bag has outer pockets, pack flat items in those pockets. If these pockets protrude out they can cause your bag to not fit into overhead compartments. (On one flight I was on, this problem caused a passenger to have to check his baggage to Bermuda, when he had preferred to keep it within reach.)

3. Ladies, carry a bit larger purse than you normally would. Include your quart-sized toiletry bag in it. This will make it easier to take out for scanning and you’ll be able to keep personal items with you in the event they ask you to check your bag at the gate.

4. Bring simple things to do that you can easily dig out, i.e. crossword puzzles or a tangible book. In regular seating there isn’t always enough room to pull out a laptop or large tablet.

5. Choose food wisely. If you know a certain type of food may not agree with you, or um, cause you to need more frequent restroom breaks–stay away from it for a few days prior to your trip and certainly on the day of travel. Drink water throughout the day but time your restroom breaks so you aren’t stuck having to maneuver through a crowded plane to a tiny restroom.

6. Select practical jewelry or ties/scarves. You’ll often be moving fast, may have to take off outer coats or sweaters, etc. Long necklaces can easily snag and break, and elaborate jewelry may hold you up in security. The necklace I have on in this picture is not one I would wear again while flying.

7. Wear non-bulky layers that won’t wrinkle easily. You may experience extremes of temperatures and it helps to have a sweater you can stuff into your bag or pull out to wear as an extra layer and it’s even better if it is wrinkle resistant.  The black sweater I am wearing somewhat fits the bill for this, but I would get one with longer sleeves to use in the future.

8. Wear comfortable shoes that you can easily remove at security scanning. If possible, avoid shoes that have to be tied. If you don’t like the idea of going barefoot through security, be sure to wear socks. Notice I am wearing sneakers that slip on and off quickly.

9. Be nice. While boarding a crowded flight, I expressed willingness to check my bag and the attendant said she wished she could reward people with miles for doing that. Instead, she probably has to deal with complaints. Most of the time, attendants are just implementing safety rules or trying their best to get you where you need to go. They are not the ones to complain to about delays they can’t control and negatively only makes the situation worse for everyone.

[callout]A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11[/callout]

10. Try to plan for time to get from gate to gate. On one trip, I had a relatively lengthy layover and was able to plan lunch at an airport restaurant with friends from the area. However, to meet them, I had to leave the secure area and then go back through security check afterward. I didn’t bank on the time it would take and, of course, that was the time the TSA agents stopped me for a more detailed bag check, even opening it to search by hand! Once I was cleared, I had to hurry to a gate that was some distance away. I made it, but if I’d planned better or more realistically, I wouldn’t have experienced quite the stress I felt during that layover. I learned not to bring unusual items. The item causing the search was a neck wrap filled with rice that can be heated in a microwave.

So, now it’s your turn. Comment below or visit the blog to answer:   What is one of your top tips for plane travel?

Recommendation: This is a fun and unique style of crossword puzzle that could be enjoyed on a plane.

 

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