You know you're a frequent flyer when you buy personal care items based solely on whether they come in containers of 3oz or less.
That would be me. I have just come to the realization that the contents of my bathroom cabinet are now better suited for the seven dwarves than Snow White.
Earlier this week I was in CT. Today I am in CA. Next week I will be in MA, RI and PA. I try to keep the trips quick so as not to miss the kids; in and out in one day if I can manage it. Still, it's a lot of time packing, waiting in security lines and sitting on airplanes.
On my six hour flight from BOS to SFO, I thought I'd pull together some fun travel tips and tricks for y'all. This is a list of things not covered in the recent George Clooney movie, "Up in the Air."
I'm already jet lagged, so this should be interesting. Drum roll please:
1. DO use SpaceBags. You can buy cheap imitations as long as they don't require you to pack a vacuum or a really big straw. For those of you who don't watch TV and have never been in a WalMart, SpaceBags are basically giant ziplock bags with an "out" valve. Stick your clothes in there and roll to get out the air. Instantly maximized space. No, it doesn't wrinkle your clothes. At least, not any more than everything getting jumbled at one corner of your suitcase in a big ball under your trainers. Pack an empty one for dirty clothes.
2. DO print your boarding pass at home by logging into the airline website 24 hours before your flight. Some airlines such as Southwest prioritize boarding time based on when you check-in. Online check-in also allows you to see in advance that you are in the last seat next to the lavatory and make a change before its too late. Many airlines will also offer cheap last minute upgrades to higher class seating sections.
3. DO give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Most frequent flyers do the opposite, so here's where I may differ from those
4. DON'T try to beat security. On this particular trip, I stood behind a woman for several minutes while she desperately tried to convince a security agent that her Lancome sunscreen was far too special to be subjected to the usual 3oz rule. She was unsuccessful. You will be too. Just for fun, take a look in the trash barrel next to the security belts. You could stock a Walgreens with the contents of those bins.
5. DO make sure that any liquids or gels you may need during the flight are handy once you are through security. The first thing I do when I get to my gate is grab my moisturizer, hand sanitizer and lip balm out of my quart-size plastic baggie and put them in my purse for easy access on the plane. I hate to be dry. Airplane air is sooooo dry. (Yell it with me: How.. dry.. is.. it?) I once bought a hamburger in San Antonio and it was beef jerky by the time I got to Chicago. (*badum-pha*)
6. DON'T apply perfume or cologne on the airplane. Don't even put it on before you get on the plane. It's not a date. The last flight I was on smelled like a brothel. Thank you lady wearing gold lamé and too much Jean Nate. Now that I think of it, any Jean Nate is too much.
7. DO apply hand sanitizer to all buttons on your arm rest, your seat belt bucket and the tray table latch. Oh. Am I the only one that does that? Ew. OCD going into maximum overdrive!
8. DON'T underestimate the need for entertainment. Personally, I like to have a mix of low-tech options and high-tech gadgetry. My iPod and the latest issue of Popular Mechanics for example. I also always bring a notepad and pen. In theory, that's so that I can jot down ideas for my blog or notes for work. It also came in real handy for the kid next to me who got sick of playing with barf bags, sugar packets and plastic cups after about 10 minutes. (Usually I also have a snack-size baggie of crayons handy.)
If you are traveling with kids or you have ADD, you may want to pick an airline that has seatback in-flight television. Here in the States, Virgin America is my fave with JetBlue a close second. As a side note, my last flight on American offered in-flight Wi-Fi. Nice.
9. DO medicate. The need for this becomes more crucial if you and/or the parent next to you failed at #8. It's amazing how even complete swill like Sutter Home becomes ambrosia of the gods under the right circumstances. If you don't drink, you can meditate instead. (And, maybe invest in some noise-cancelling headphones.)
10. DON'T forget snacks. The best strategy is to bring snacks from home; no drinks of course. At the very least, stop by the little stand near your gate and get some trail mix or something. There's nothing worse than being stuck on a flight for hours with only one tiny bag o' snack for sustenance. I speak from experience. I am on hour four and my Blue Terra Chips are long gone. I feel like a contestant on Survivor. I'm expecting the flight attendant to start handing out flint and bags of rice any minute.
Your turn: Got any travel trips to share?