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Travel Tips: Surviving Holiday Air Travel

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012

If you are leaving on a jet plane this month to spend time with friends or family, then airports are likely a part of your holiday plan. Planning ahead with these five airport travel tips can bring a bit of cheer to your holiday air travel experience, turning long days in airports and airplanes into productive and peaceful periods when in route. 

  • BYOWB. That’s Bring Your Own Water Bottle. By now, most of us know that liquids are a “no, no” when going through security lines. But empty water bottles are not! On the other side of the body scanner, you can fill your bottle up FOR FREE (as opposed to the $2.00 or bottled water costs from vendors). It is easy to get dehydrated when flying, so having a water bottle in hand can help you water your body. If water doesn’t satisfy you – pack a few Crystal Lights to go packets. And if HOT beverages make you smile, bring along a packet of hot chocolate mix or a tea bag; Starbucks (and most airport vendors) will give you a cup of hot water for FREE – no questions asked.

  • Sleep Easier. I may look silly with a bright red cushion wrapped around my neck – but waking up rested without a kink in my neck is worth a little awkwardness. I swear by neck pillows. I have literally slept for multiple hours on planes using mine. I have a fluffy red one that deflates (for easy stow). At about $10 a piece, they are worth the small investment. Two other items that help me sleep easier on planes are ear plugs (we’ve all had crying babies on our flights) and sleep masks (not sure about you – but I snooze better when it’s dark). At takeoff – when you’re decked out in your sleep gear, you may look a little funny – but the other passengers will envy your preparedness and ability to arrive at your destination rested.

  • Food. It’s no secret that airport food is expensive and offers few healthy options. And News Flash – airlines have drastically cut back on free inflight food. So bring your own! Suggestions include – dried fruit or trail mix in a Ziploc bag, string cheese, beef jerky, an apple, banana, or a JIF peanut butter “to go” cup. These are healthy and inexpensive snacks to hold you over until a sensible meal is in reach.

  • Move. So you have a two hour layover? Explore the terminal via foot. Your travel day does not have to be completely sedentary. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes (or keep a pair of sneakers in your carry on). Instead of plopping yourself down at your gate for a couple hours – people watch while walking. You may even tire yourself out a bit… making it easier to catch some zzz’s on the plane.

  • Lists. Call me crazy but I love making lists. My brain is less cluttered when my “to dos” are written down. And while I love traveling/vacationing – my flight home can be clouded by all the things I need to do when I get home. So when I am in route out of town – I start making a “When I get back list” – that way as things come to mind I jot them down and they STAY on the list for the duration of my trip instead of nagging me throughout.  It also passes time – you can get really wild and make lists for home, work, people to call, fun things you want to do, places you want to visit, Christmas lists, or New Year’s Resolutions (extra bonus if your New Year’s resolution is to be more organized). By the time you are done – your mind is clear, and your post vacation life is planned out (at least on paper).

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