Since summer is prime travel season, I thought there might be a few people out there interested in the tips my family has honed over the years. Growing up, we lived at least halfway across the country most of our aunts, uncles, and grandparents, so we have had plenty of time in airports and on planes to fine-tune these strategies. My mom is also super practical and smart about stuff like this and devises some great gameplans. I’d love to hear your best travel tips in the comments section!
To avoid paying for bottled water since liquids are limited by security: get one of these cool Bobble bottles that my sister gave me for my birthday. Carry it through security empty, then fill it up at a water fountain once you’re in the airport. It filters the water as you drink! I just saw some cute colored bottles and filters for sale at Old Navy the other day.
No matter how short I expect my flight to be, I almost always pack a peanut butter sandwich and several healthy snacks so I don’t have to spend money on things I do not want to eat at the airport or on the plane. Whatever I don’t eat I usually bring with me again on my flight back. Here are some of my favorite things to tote along:
- granola bars 0r energy bars
- baby carrots
- dried fruit
- fresh fruit like apples, or oranges already peeled and sealed in a baggie- use a plastic fork to eat them
- a piece of dark chocolate
- Ry-Krisp or Kashi crackers
- packet of instant oatmeal (or pre-measured oatmeal from home)- it is usually fairly easy to find hot water and disposable bowls in airports
You know who has truly mastered the art of snack packs? My sister. You should see what this girl puts together. I should have her do a guest post about it. Sure, sometimes we chuckle when she pulls a whole loaf of San Francisco sourdough out of her bag to tear a piece off, but on more than one occasion we have also all looked longingly at her gourmet sandwich/trail mix/homemade healthy cookies when we’re stuck hungry on the runway for hours, or when unexpected obstacles meant we had to run straight onto the plane instead of leisurely purchasing food in the airport like we planned.
My sister also has a smart way of packing apples: wash and dry it at home, then put it in a sandwich size ziploc bag with two napkins. Now you have a handy place to store your core if you eat it on the plane!
Carry your own tea bags from home in your purse. They take up no space and weigh nothing, but you can usually get hot water for free in the airport or on the plane. A freshly-brewed cup of tea makes your cramped seat feel more civilized, eases frazzled nerves, provides a cup of comfort on long layovers, and thaws out your air-conditioned self in mid-air.
My mom always keeps money, ahem, hidden on her person when traveling. That way, just in case your bag is snatched (which has never happened to anyone in my family), you have something. Whoops, maybe I should not have shared that tip with you- I hope you do not mug my mom at the airport! :) When I bring my denim jacket on the plane, I usually take a credit card and my ID out of my wallet and button them into a jacket pocket, just so I can’t lose everything at once.
My mom also always carries her makeup and toiletries in her shoulder bag instead of checking it- that way if your bags are lost, you can still “put on your face,” brush your teeth, apply deodorant, etc. Trust me, it may not sound like a big deal, but last year I got stranded overnight in Dallas twice in one week, and I was not happy having to buy travel sizes of a few toiletries when I was already eating dinner from my snack pack, wearing day-old clothes, turning my underwear inside out, and waking up to fly standby on the 6am flight.
If you’d like more legroom or you have a very tall husband like I do, get to the airport early, go to the check-in counter for your airline, and ask if there are any emergency exit rows available on your flight. (But not if you are flying Southwest- those are up for grabs at boarding.) Exit row seats seemed easier to come by in the past. I think these days they tend to make them available early to the top tiers of frequent flier programs (for which I very rarely qualify). Still, it never hurts to ask, and it will make your tall husband a very happy camper to have that extra space if you luck into them.
I hope at least some of those are new to you and helpful. And again, I’d love it if you’d share your travel strategies in the comments section!