Here are just a few tricks of the trade when flying and making the most of your next domestic or international adventure.
Best prices on Tuesday afternoons
Today, there are so many different avenues to booking flights with some even offering notifications to let you know when the price has hit its sweet spot for your budget. If you're thinking of visiting somewhere new and have enough time to plan it out, make sure you're checking for flights at least three weeks before departure and try to book on a Tuesday afternoon, when most airlines offer their best deals. You don't need to fly on a Tuesday, but when you're checking for searches, you may find more reasonable prices and flexibility than other weekdays.
Make a checklist
One of the most common packing mistakes is forgetting to pack underwear (guilty!) and while some of us may see underwear as the #1 necessity for your suitcase, it can be pretty easily left behind while your mind races to remember everything else for your bags. Between your cosmetics, carry-on luggage, checked bags, and any other totable goods, you're bound to maybe forget a thing or two. Make a checklist when you have a level head and a clear thought to make sure you don't forget anything. When it's time to pack, grab your list, check it off, and you're good to go!
Roll your clothes, don't fold
Instead of folding your clothes, try folding your clothes in half and rolling them individually. Doing so will not only give you more room in your suitcase, but can reduce wrinkles if rolled smoothly. Plus, it'll be easier to find your outfits when each piece is rolled neatly in a row, instead of stacked on top of one another.
Carry an empty water bottle and bring your own snacks
Airport security will prohibit any liquids over 3 oz., so you're not able to travel with a newly purchased bottle of ice-cold water, and those sold at airport vendors can usually face quite an expensive, inconvenient markup. The solution? Pack an empty water bottle. You'll get through security without question and be able to freely fill up at any water fountain, as needed. Also, food. Don't forget to grab some snacks for you to nibble in-flight and between gates.
Use your shoes
Not only should the shoes on your feet be easy to slide on and off through security, but the shoes in your bag can serve a greater purpose than just taking up space. Roll a couple shirts or shove your socks into the cavities of your shoes to save you more room in your luggage. Especially on the return flight back home, when your suitcase will have multiplied with souvenirs and goodies from your trip.
Use plastic bags and pack extras
There may only be a few things worse than reaching your destination only to find your shampoo has exploded all over your bag, making your suitcase overwhelmingly fragrant and a whole mess of Pantene. One way to reduce the risk and prepare your luggage for changing altitude is to place all of your gels and aerosols into Ziploc baggies. Most TSA security checkpoints will ask that your liquids be placed into separate bags anyway, but just to be on the safe side, double bag your products. Also, be sure to pack extras, as some may break or puncture in transit, and you'll still want to have that peace of mind on the return trip home.
Wear your most space-taking outfits
If you're changing climate between your origin and destination city, it's important to dress appropriately for both. Wearing layers may be the best way to offer the flexibility of adding or removing clothing as the environment changes. If you're traveling with bulky sweaters and tall riding boots, it may be best to wear these articles as you're traveling instead of risking the space in your luggage. Remember, you're more likely to come home with more than you left with, so it's best to keep that space available for souvenirs and other purchases.
Keep electronics, cosmetics, and a change of clothes in your carry-on
One of the worst feelings when flying is releasing your luggage to be checked, only to find it's been lost somewhere along the journey. It can be especially stressful if you didn't originally plan to check your bag, but the overhead bins are full before you've even stepped on to the plane, forcing you to check your bag at the gate and depart with all of your necessities. Keep valuable items in your carry-on to avoid their loss. Pack your toiletries, and an extra change of clothes with you so you can clean yourself up when you need, instead of waiting for lost luggage.
Of course, the unexpected could happen at any time while traveling, but you don't want to be stranded at an unfamiliar airport with a forever delayed flight and a dwindling battery life. Pack extra batteries, portable power banks, or juice packs to power your devices or fit your phone with a rechargeable phone case. Using an outlet adapter can also be useful when wall outlets are limited and you've got multiple devices to power. Also, be aware of the usage of your devices as some apps will drain your battery life and your plane may or may not be fitted with individual USB ports or outlets (learned this the hard way!).
Dealing with jet lag
When you're traveling for further than 2 hours, you're more than likely going to land yourself in a different time zone. Jet lag is a universally accepted effect of travel and knowing how to best deal with it can save you hours of sleepless nights and confusion. Try to sleep whenever you're in transit (without missing any layovers or transfers you may have), and use the time to your advantage. Sometimes, even the lightest nap can have the greatest benefit. When you land, follow the schedule of the destination and the timezone you've reached. If you arrive during the day, keep yourself awake until your "usual" bedtime matches that of the local time. If you arrive at night, try to get some sleep and wake in the morning as if your schedule hasn't changed. Dealing with jet lag can be easier said than done, but you'll eventually reach an equilibrium that'll balance your sleeping patterns.