December 02, 2014

5 Things You Need to Know If You're Traveling for the Holidays


Note: I have not been compensated for anything in this post. (But I certainly wouldn't turn down some moolah if someone's offering.)

Remember the last time you went to the spa and got the “airport package”?

No, you don’t. Because frankly, the airport could be the most hellish first world environment known to man. So unless you’re at a spa that substitutes the standard “calm ocean waves” soundtrack with “screaming children scratching chalkboards,” the “airport package” probably isn't going to be on the menu.

Unfortunately, I've spent much more time in airports than spas over the years. Thanks to a combination of out-of-state college attendance, a long distance relationship, and a slight propensity for moving around the country, I've actually become somewhat of a flying expert.

But I’m not complaining because the time I've spent flying across the country isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it has allowed me to put together this flying guide for you all and hopefully making your flying experience slightly less painful with these simple airport tips.

You want to know one thing more annoying than having to un-buckle and re-buckle boots? Un-buckling and re-buckling boots at high speeds while grumpy holiday travelers breathe menacingly down your neck. Pro tip? Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

And for the love of God, wear socks. (Unless walking barefoot on grimy airport floors is your way of living on the edge. YOLO, I guess.)

The most important thing about your carry-on isn't exact what you pack; it's how you pack it. To speed through security, I always take my ID out of my wallet and put it in an easy to reach pocket on my carry-on along with my phone (where I have my mobile boarding pass already pulled up).

As for the rest of the carry-on, I always make sure I have my laptop and book in easy reach (to avoid being that annoying girl in the middle seat hitting you with my elbows as I rummage around for something at the bottom of my my bag).

I also like bringing an empty water bottle; a lot of airports now have "water bottle filling stations," whose water I've heard tastes just as good as the $2.50 bottled water they sell at airport newsstands.

And in case you're a visual learner, this is what I just said in pictures:



This one took me a while to figure out but how you do your hair could matter. For example, perfecting that cute ponytail means nothing come "drifting off" time, when you're faced with either a new hair-do or making an uncomfortable nap even more uncomfortable with a lump of hair between your head and the headrest.

If you don't care how your hair looks, feel free to disregard. But if you do care, think about it.

I've heard that airplane windows slightly leak outside air, which to me is both somewhat alarming and also something to think about when choosing a seat; I get cold easily, so I opt for an aisle seat where -30F air at 30,000 feet won't be slightly leaking inches away from my neck.

And if I am stuck near a window, I always bring an easily put-on-able zip-up jacket for self defense.

I'm a loyal Southwest flier and come travel time, Southwest's iPhone app might even rival Insta as my favorite smart phone luxury. Instead of having to find one of those confusing and elusive flight boards, I can check my gate, flight updates, and really any other information I need from my phone.

You can also check-in for your flight using the app which, if you're familiar with Southwest's "no assigned seating" procedure, can be all the difference between an A boarding group and a lowly C.


If you need a good book to read, I'd suggest Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, The Husband's Secret, or The Casual Vacancy.

Not that I've read a lot on planes, or anything.