Planning a trip can be an exciting experience. Whether you're heading off on a relaxing vacation or a business trip, it's crucial to make the necessary preparations beforehand. Smart travelers know that a little extra effort before their flights can make a world of difference.
In this article, we'll explore the top ten things that smart travelers always do before taking off. By following these tips, you'll have a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience.
1. Download and Use Your Airline’s App
Use the mobile app for your airline to save time and avoid the check-in counter. By downloading the app and inputting your reservation details, you can easily check in from the convenience of your phone. This allows you to skip any extra lines at the airport and proceed directly to security. Even automatic check-in is available from some airlines, like Delta, 24 hours before your departure.
Having them installed on your phone is a wise decision given that several airlines, including Alaska and Southwest, now offer free onboard entertainment through their apps. Utilize the airline app and your device to pass the time during your travel.
Stay updated with flight information and access convenient services on the go.
2. Check Passport and Visa Requirements
Before you jet off to your dream destination, make sure to review the passport and visa requirements for your intended country of visit. Make sure your passport is still valid for the duration of your trip by checking with your country's passport bureau or foreign affairs department online. It's important to renew your passport if necessary because some countries require it to be valid for an additional amount of time after your planned departure.
In addition to passport requirements, check if you need a visa to enter your destination country. If you want up-to-date information on visa requirements, check the embassy or consulate website for that country.
Avoid last-minute hassles by ensuring your travel documents are in order before you depart.
3. Have a Status Strategy
If you're aiming to achieve gold, silver, or platinum status with your preferred airline this year, it's crucial to ensure that your frequent flier number is linked to all your airline reservations. Even if you're not flying with your usual carriers, there's a high chance that the airline you're traveling with has partnerships or alliances with other airlines you frequently fly.
By associating your frequent flier number with your reservations, you'll earn airline miles for every single flight you take, contributing towards your status qualification. This way, you can maximize your mileage accumulation and inch closer to your desired elite status, unlocking a range of valuable benefits and privileges.
Maximize benefits and perks by strategically earning and utilizing your airline status.
4. Choose your Seat Carefully
When it comes to selecting your seat for long-haul flights, consulting websites like SeatGuru can be a smart move. While on shorter flights, comfort may not be a major concern, for those lengthy journeys, having sufficient legroom can make a significant difference. It can determine whether you'll enjoy a decent hour of sleep or end up with swollen feet upon arrival.
When choosing a seat, consider your priorities. Do you value quick exit access? Opt for a seat closer to the exit. Do you want to enjoy scenic views and have a spot to rest your head? A window seat is ideal. If convenience and easy bathroom access matter, go for an aisle seat.
Enhance comfort and convenience by selecting the best seat for your preferences and needs.
5. Charge your Electronics At Home
These days, no flight is complete without some sort of electronic device. If you plan on watching movies or playing games on your trip, make sure your electronics are fully charged before takeoff. Although some aircraft do have USB power ports installed in each seat, this is not always the case and the ports may not work properly. It's a good idea to find out ahead of time if an unfamiliar airline offers in-flight gadget charging before booking a journey with them.
If power ports are not provided, ensure you pack a portable power bank in your carry-on to keep your devices juiced up throughout the journey.
Ensure uninterrupted entertainment by fully charging your devices before heading to the airport.
6. Sign Up for a Pre-Check
The airport security procedures of taking off your shoes and belt, emptying your bag of liquids and electronics, and undergoing a complete body scan can now be safely ignored. Enrolling with TSA PreCheck will streamline your flying experience. For only $85, you can use the expedited security lanes.
On the other hand, for $100, Global Entry includes both PreCheck and expedited processing through immigration and customs. Both programs have application fees, although some credit cards, such as Capital One's Venture card and Bank of America's Premium Rewards card, give reimbursements. If you travel frequently and want to minimize the tension you feel at the airport, it's money well spent.
Breeze through security with expedited screening and skip the long lines.
7. Wear Comfortable Clothing
Airplane cabin temperatures can be quite unpredictable, swinging between chilly freezer-like conditions and uncomfortably warm climates, leaving passengers longing for a comfortable middle ground. On top of that, the air nozzles above seats often harbor germs and only offer a feeble stream of dry air. To tackle this issue, it's best to dress smartly in multiple lightweight layers. This way, you can adapt to any temperature fluctuation during the flight while maintaining a sense of style.
Layering allows you to add or remove clothing as needed, ensuring your comfort throughout the journey. So, be prepared for any contingency and stay both cozy and fashionable during your flight.
Opt for cozy and flexible attire to stay comfortable throughout your journey.
8. Get Rid of Germs
Although airplanes are notorious for harboring germs, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk. You should start by bringing sanitizing wipes and using them to clean the tray table, armrests, and seat belt buckles. Don't put your face in your hands and use hand sanitizer often.
To maintain a healthy immune system, it is important to drink plenty of water. A nasal spray can help keep your nasal passages wet, which can help prevent infection. Finally, to minimize the spread of germs, you should attempt to avoid direct contact with sick people and wash your hands properly before and after the trip.
Minimize exposure to germs by regularly sanitizing hands and wiping down frequently touched surfaces.
9. Bring Your Bottle
Bringing your water bottle on a flight is a smart move for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to stay hydrated throughout the journey, as cabin air can be dry and contribute to dehydration. Instead of relying solely on beverage service, having your bottle ensures easy access to water whenever you need it. Additionally, having a reusable bottle is environmentally friendly, reducing the use of single-use plastic cups or bottles.
Remember to empty the bottle before going through security and refill it at a water fountain or ask the flight attendants to fill it during the flight.
Stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste by carrying a refillable water bottle.
10. Lounge Around
Make the most of your pre-flight experience by lounging around in airport lounges. Many airlines offer lounges that provide a serene and comfortable environment, away from the bustling crowds. Enjoy amenities like complimentary food and beverages, Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, and even showers in some cases.
Lounges are perfect for unwinding, catching up on work, or simply relaxing before your flight. Take advantage of this perk by accessing elite status, airline memberships, or by purchasing day passes.
Indulge in the comfort and amenities of airport lounges for a relaxed pre-flight experience.
Follow These Tips For Less Stress
By following these smart traveler tips, you can make your flights more enjoyable, stress-free, and efficient. From utilizing airline apps and selecting the perfect seat to stay germ-free and hydrated, these strategies ensure a smoother journey. So, embrace the perks of technology, plan, and prioritize comfort. Bon voyage!
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.