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.
I’ve been reclusive lately, shying away from most anything social and keeping to myself in hopes of finding balance and achieving my own inner peace. I’m going to be blatantly honest: everything is a mess. Absolutely everything. From my car, to my apartment, to my desk at work, to my body, and everything around me. My own little world is full of chaos and so many firing neurons, it’s hard to focus. But, that’s just it. It’s life. Life is happening all around me. Life is bringing me up and down lately, pulling me sideways, and ripping me apart, just eager to find that balance. I can’t focus on just one piece because it all so greatly needs my attention, it’s almost like I need a twin. Or a triplet. Or a septuplet. With an ever-growing to-do list, it’s as if the chores and errands will never end. When one item is sliced off the list, another fills the slot with as much importance as the one before. With everything at the same priority level, it’s practically impossible to know where to even start.
I won’t go into details about all that’s going on, but I can assure you, I’m okay. At least, I will be. We’ve all been here--so overwhelmed with life, it’s hard to see the light at the end of a tunnel, to feel when your lungs can gasp for air again, to know when everything is settled, when everything is back to normal. I feel like my tunnel is forever long, under construction with more and more added every few steps. If it’s not one problem, it’s another. Whenever one issue is resolved, another arises. I’m not much of a pessimist and usually do what I can to push my personal issues aside to focus on my day-to-day tasks, but lately, it seems it’s all closing in. The world I’ve built around me has started to crumble, leaving only traces of a different yesterday behind. Everything is so heavy and so completely draining, it’s all taking its toll. I’ve had countless meltdowns and numerous conversations with myself and others to find peace, and it seems to be therapeutic and beneficial for the time being, at least. But, I know this is not over yet. For now, the madness of the holidays is quickly settling in, but I look to the new year with hope, grace, and faith in my journey.
Despite everything going on, I’m choosing to get up when I’ve fallen down and look forward to a better future, somewhere down the line. A firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”, I know this all serves a purpose and there’s a lesson somewhere in this disorientated state of mind. I have yet to discover it, but while I search for the meaning, I’m asking for your patience and your support. If you’re reading this now, know that you are important to me. You hold a significant place in my heart and I appreciate you. Even if I don’t say it enough.
We’re all just trying to get through this thing called life. One step at a time.