Travel Tips and Tricks
Airports are vibrant hubs of activity, full of travelers doing their best to get from A to B with as little disruption as possible. As much as we love exploring new places, it’s no secret that things often go a little bit awry when flying, but did you know there are things you can do to make the journey as smooth as possible?
1. Bring your own headphones
Pros: No need to pay for extra
What you need: Your own set
Bringing your own headphones to the airport is highly recommended for a number of reasons. Not only will it stop you from buying your own set when you want to watch the in-flight movie, but they will be more comfortable and won’t fall out of your ears at a moment’s notice.
It’s good of airlines like American Airlines to provide them, but they aren’t exactly top-quality. If you want to truly relax and watch the entertainment without interruption, you’re better off sticking with your own pair than taking a risk and buying a set of theirs.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for a free upgrade
Pros: You might get a better seat
What you need: Confidence
Most people are so polite that they would never dream of asking for anything for free, but that’s where we’re going wrong. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and if making it known that you’re celebrating a special occasion means you’ll get special treatment, do it.
Airlines like United have been known to give passengers free upgrades if they’re able to, just to make their experience as memorable as possible. Of course, it doesn’t always work, but if you don’t ask you don’t get – and you have nothing to lose!
3. When entering the security check, head to the left checkpoint
Pros: Get through quicker
What you need: To be able to tell right from left
We all know how excruciating it can be to be stood in the security line forever, but there could be a way to eliminate this stress forever. Instead of going automatically right when you get to security, head left and for the one furthest away from you on that side.
The thinking behind this is simple. As most people are right-handed, they head for the right checkpoint. By going left, you’ll play the system and likely end up getting through it all faster. It might not be a hack that will save you a ton of money, but it will save you precious time!
4. Don’t forget to bring a portable charger
Pros: You’ll never run out of power
What you need: A portable battery charger
There’s no denying that we love our tech, so keeping it charged is often top priority. Traveling without access to a phone can be incredibly annoying as well as unsafe. Airports have plenty of charging points, but the chances of landing a seat next to one is unlikely. Instead, bring a portable charger with you.
When your iPhone starts to run out of charge, you can just get it out and start charging. Bonus tip: turn your phone off or put it into airplane mode after takeoff. Otherwise, it could keep scanning for a network which will end up draining the battery at a very fast pace.
5. Bring wet wipes and hand sanitizer
Pros: You’ll be protected against germs
What you need: Wet wipes, hand sanitizer
Planes are essentially floating tin cans, and with so many people in such close proximity to you, it’s only natural that the chance of catching a bug is increased. To be on the safe side, make sure you travel with a pack of wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
Use them at every available opportunity to try and keep the nasties at bay. Plus, wet wipes will help you feel refreshed after a long flight. Everyone feels a little groggy after spending a long stretch of time on a American Airlines plane. You may not be able to shower straight away, but at least you can wipe yourself down.
6. If you don’t like turbulence, book an early morning flight
Pros: A more relaxing flight
What you need: A morning flight
Turbulence is a horrible part of flying that no one really enjoys. A white knuckle ride that lasts for hours isn’t going to do anyone’s nerves any good. Some people even have to buy costly medication to get them through it. Sometimes it’s simply unavoidable, but there are a few things that you can do to lessen your chances of experiencing it.
Most turbulence tends to occur in the afternoon, so booking a flight in the early morning could mean a smoother ride. It won’t eliminate the chance of it happening totally, but it will lessen the odds and hopefully allow you to watch that downloaded Netflix movie in peace.
7. Bring Your Own Spare Ziploc Bags
Pros: Traveling with liquids, keeping stuff safe
What you need: Ziploc bags
When you’re packing to go away for a trip, it might not occur to you to run into the kitchen and grab the pack of Ziploc bags. That being said, it’s actually a really good idea to make some room for them in your suitcase for a variety of reasons.
Even if you’ve already packed all of your liquids, you might end up buying something last minute at the airport. On the flip side, if you’re planning on going to a beach, putting your tech inside a clear bag can actually protect them while you use it. If you don’t have any at home, you can pick them up at stores like Walmart for a fairly minimal amount.
8. Check-in 24-hours before your flight
Pros: No waiting in the check-in line
What you need: Online check-in
Many moons ago, online check-in wasn’t even an option. But, these days, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, almost every modern airline has this option as standard. You can check in online up to 24 hours prior to your flight time. Say goodbye to expensive last-minute cab rides to the airport.
That way, you don’t have to stand in the line to have someone do it for you, you can just shuffle on through with your electronic boarding pass already printed. There’s a lot to be said for the internet, but this is definitely one of the better perks. It’s a modern marvel.
9. Take a photo of your checked luggage
Pros: Easier to spot at baggage claim
What you need: A camera phone
Cost: $100+ (free if you already have one)*
When it comes to luggage, there are tons of people out there that have the same bags. There are things that you can do to make your suitcase look more identifiable so it’s easier for you to spot. Even then, it’s best to get out your phone and take a quick picture of it before you check it.
That way, you’ll be able to refer to the picture while you’re standing at baggage claim so you know you’re definitely picking up the right one. Even if you think you know which one is yours, someone could have got the exact same one at Target. Better to be safe than left red-faced!
10. Freeze Your Liquids to Bring on Planes
Pros: Get your liquid through security
What you need: A frozen bottle of water etc
It’s no secret to anyone that liquids have been banned on planes for a while now, with only smaller containers allowed. If you really want to bring a drink onto the plane and don’t want to mess around with buying one, then you can always freeze your bottle of water first.
The only downside is that it must still be totally frozen when it goes through the checks with you. Even if that bottle of Pepsi is just a little bit defrosted, it won’t pass and it will be a big waste of time and money. So, if you’ve got a long trip to the airport, this one might not be for you.
11. Find the best seat on the plane when you check-in
Pros: You’ll be super comfortable
What you need: SeatGuru
Different airlines have different planes and different seat layouts, so it’s sometimes difficult to know whether the seat you go for is going to be a comfortable one. That’s where SeatGuru comes in. You can use it to search for reviews on your seat, so you’ll know if you made the right choice or not.
It’s a novel idea that has helped many tired travelers in the past. Just remember to return the favor and leave a review for your own seat when you’ve disembarked. You never know, it could really make a difference for the next person that walks in!
12. Fly red-eye
Pros: Peace and quiet
What you need: A red-eye flight
Not many people actually chose to fly red-eye. It makes sense, considering most of us would rather be asleep in a cozy bed at night rather than on an airplane, but if you hate crowded airports and would rather have a quieter experience, book a plane that leaves late at night and arrives early the next morning.
All you’ll have to do is read your Amazon Kindle, take a long nap, and by the time you wake up, you’ll be at your destination. It’s not for everyone, but if you like peace and quiet then try to opt for the red-eye. You’ll be surprised with the difference it makes to your flight, at no extra cost.
13. Check ahead to see which restaurants and shops are at the airport
Pros: You’ll be organized
What you need: The internet and a good sense of direction
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of traveling and just think you’ll grab dinner at the airport. However, not all airports have a great choice of restaurants and shops. Quite often, fast food restaurants dominate the space, which can mean a poorer quality of food and a bigger waste of money.
Instead of settling for something unhealthy, check ahead before you embark on your journey. If you know what’s there, you’ll have more time to plan and look at menu options instead of being flustered when you arrive and panic buying something you don’t really want.
14. Bring an Empty Water Bottle
Pros: Free water
What you need: Empty water bottle
One of the major ways that airports make money is by people grabbing snacks when they are waiting for flights. If you always find yourself buying a bottle of water when you check-in, then don’t. Bring an empty water bottle with you and fill it up once you get through security.
That way, you’ll end up with as much water as you want, without having to pay extortionate prices. It’s a simple little hack, but one that will end up saving your wallet a lot of heartache in the long run.
15. Always check your flight’s status before heading to the airport
Pros: You won’t be waiting forever
What you need: Internet
Getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare is often the mark of a successful trip, but there are instances when you’ll arrive, only to be presented with a huge delay. Instead of assuming that everything is running on time, it’s best to check your flight status before you head over to the airport.
That way, if your flight is delayed by 5 hours, you won’t have to sit around in uncomfortable seats waiting for it to arrive. You can relax a little bit at home and take your time double-checking your luggage before locking up and starting your journey.
16. Keep a collection of hotel toiletries
Pros: No need to buy travel size
What you need: Hotel toiletries
Checking into a hotel is fun for a variety of reasons. Fluffy pillows, big heavy blackout curtains, and room service. We also love the small collection of toiletries that they usually have in the bathroom. Those are yours to keep, so take them even if you didn’t plan on using them during that trip.
By stocking up on toiletries from places like Hilton, you could save yourself a lot of money on buying travel-sized items in the future. Instead of rushing to the store and grabbing some for a few dollars, you could just take a couple of bits from your collection.
17. Sign Up For a VIP Airport Lounge
Pros: Comfortable VIP lounge experiences
What you need: Frequent flyer miles/a spare $40-$50
Cost: As above
The more you fly, the more perks you get. It’s only natural that airlines want to keep you in the sky, so many offer frequent flyer miles. These can sometimes be exchanged for VIP lounge memberships. VIP airport lounges are often very luxurious, offering comfortable seating, free drinks, and entertainment.
Even if you don’t have frequent flyer miles, you can still get into these lounges in some airports. Depending on the location, the lounge might offer day passes for around $50. While it’s not cheap, it will greatly improve your airport experience and help you feel more relaxed when you travel.
18. Avoid waiting in line to get your flight re-booked
Pros: You won’t have to wait in line
What you need: A phone
When something happens and a flight is canceled, everyone automatically rushes to the desk to try and rebook. It seems like the only thing to do at the time, as everyone is so concerned about getting where they need to go. Instead of being part of the crowd, head to a phone instead.
Call the airline and talk to someone there. The rep on the end of the phone has the exact same abilities as the one at the airport, so they will be able to take care of your problem in a heartbeat. No long lines, no battling to get to the desk. Just a simple resolution. Plus, you’ll have more time to talk to the operator to discuss your financial options, too.
19. Take a Nap at the Airport
Pros: You’ll be refreshed
What you need: A quiet place/a sleep pod
If your flight has been delayed, then it’s often difficult not to get cranky. Actually, the best thing you can do is try and take a nap. Sleeping on the hard seats isn’t always a breeze, but some airports actually have sleeping pods that you can rent. London’s Heathrow is one of them.
For around $60 you can get your very own pod for four hours. Not only that, but you can also have access to the showers and towels, too. It’s a surefire way to make your entire airport experience more enjoyable. No one likes waiting when they’re tired.
20. Store Your Laptop in an Easy-to-Access Place
Pros: You can reach it at any time
What you need: A laptop case, a big bag
This one might go without saying, but how many of us have packed our laptop in our carry-on luggage, only to struggle to get it out mid-flight? The solution is so simple: buy a laptop case. If you use a case, all you’ll have to do is dive in and pull it out. No more rummaging, no more struggling.
Laptop cases don’t have to be expensive either, with some going for as little as $10 on Amazon. It’s a small investment that will save you a lot of time in the future, considering just how much more organized you’ll feel while traveling.
21. Take a photo of your parking space so you won’t forget where you parked
Pros: You’ll never get lost again
What you need: A camera phone
Cost: $100+ (Free if you already have one)*
They say that the best things in life are free, and with a tip like this, they might just be right. Parking at an airport can be difficult at the best of times. Finding a space can be challenging, but once you’ve got one, don’t just dump the car and run.
Take a picture of the space so you know where it is when you come back. Even if you think you’ll remember, you might forget by the time your trip is over and done with. If you’ve got visual evidence, you’ll easily be able to find the spot.
22. Wear your extra luggage
Pros: More space in your suitcase
What you need: Extra clothes
No one wants to pay more money to check an extra bag when there are only a few essentials inside, so instead of giving in, think outside of the box. Put your bulkiest clothing items on and wear them to the airport if you can. It might be slightly uncomfortable, but you can always take it off once you’re past security.
Even if you’re traveling with hand luggage but are concerned about the weight, this works just as well. Just put the jacket on when you’re going through checks, and then stuff it inside your luggage later on. It’s a no-brainer.
23. Wrap Your Luggage or Bag Handle
Pros: No more standing at baggage claim wondering what’s yours
What you need: A bright scarf/tie
Cost: $5/Free if you already own one*
When you’ve spent the last ten hours on a flight and are just ready to collapse at your hotel, the last thing you want to do is spend forever at baggage claim playing spot the bag. If you’ve gone for generic black luggage, then the job is even harder.
There’s a handy little trick that can get your baggage to you faster. Just tie a brightly colored scarf, tie, or another piece of material to the handle. You’ll be able to spot it from a mile off and be in that cab en route to your destination before you can say “lost and found.”
24. Sign Up For TSA Precheck or Global Entry
Pros: Quicker entry
What you need: To meet the criteria and apply
Getting stuck in a long line to be let into the country you’ve already arrived in is no one’s idea of a good time. Regardless, there’s often nothing we can do but stand there and wait to get to the front. There is a way around this though, but it may cost a little bit of money.
If you’re eligible and don’t mind splashing around $100, you could apply for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. Essentially, this means you can skip past the long lines and get to where you’re headed a lot faster.
25. Always Check For Free WiFi
Pros: You don’t use your own data/incur hefty charges
What you need: A phone
One of the biggest drawbacks about visiting another country is whether you’ll be able to get a decent wifi connection when you’re there, without it costing you a small fortune. If you really need to make a call or check your emails while on the move, it’s worth asking if the airport has free wifi.
A lot of them do, as do the restaurants that are situated within the building. If it’s not advertised, it’s still worth asking around to see if it’s as simple as adding in a code. You could save yourself a lot of stress, worry, and unintentional data charges.
26. Pack your liquids and electronic devices at the top of your carry on bag
Pros: No digging through your bag in line, saves time
What you need: Nothing
TSA has a million and one rules about what you can and can’t carry onto an airplane, and, even when you’re allowed to carry something, it still has to be screened. That’s the way it is, and there’s no way around it.
So, make it easier on yourself by storing your liquids and electronics near the top of your carry-on. That way, they’re a quick reach away when you have to take them out to go through security. You won’t be digging through your bag to find them, annoying everyone else behind you in line with the holdup. The best part? It doesn’t cost you a single penny.
27. Book your flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for better deals
Pros: Save an average of $73 on tickets
What you need: A computer/phone
CheapAir did a study on the best time to buy airline tickets, and they found that Tuesday and Wednesday were the best times to book. On average, you saved $73 per ticket when you booked your flights on Tuesday and Wednesday. The cheapest days to travel were Thursday and Friday.
Sunday was the worst time for both ticket-booking and traveling, as it was way more expensive to fly out before the workweek began. In terms of what month to choose, CheapAir said that January and February had the best deals on flights, while the summer months often led to more expensive ticket prices.
28. Get a portable weight checker to avoid overweight baggage fees
Pros: You don’t get fined or have to pull stuff out of your bag in front of everyone
What you need: Portable weight checker
Nothing, and we mean nothing, is more irritating than finding out your bag is over the weight limit. You can usually tell, walking into the airport while rolling or carrying your suitcase, that you’re going to be close. When you don’t make it and are a couple of pounds over, it’s a nightmare.
In addition to being charged $1,000 extra, you then have to remove items until you meet the weight limit. Save yourself this hassle by buying a portable weight checker. Check your bag at home to make sure it’s within the limit. This is a doubly-smart purchase for people who fly often.
29. Don’t listen to your music
Pros: You won’t miss important announcements
What you need: Nothing, just your ears
It’s tempting to want to put in your headphones and blast music in the airport. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck listening to the sounds of TSA making announcements, babies crying, and families arguing with one another. However, there are benefits to turning off the music when you’re in the airport.
Sometimes, airlines do make important announcements. For example, they might come over the loudspeaker and offer a voucher for people who agree to take the next flight (a common practice if a flight is oversold). Flight delays and transit warnings are two other important announcements you could miss if you’re listening to music instead.
30. Use the TSA app to find out wait times
Pros: You can find out wait times and receive important news updates before getting to the airport
What you need: Phone, MyTSA app
Most people just hope for the best when they get to the airport and are gauging security times. If the line looks long, you’re in for a wait. If it doesn’t, hurry up and get over there, so you can get through. If you want to be more prepared when it comes to security lines, download the TSA app.MyTSA was rated the “Best Government Mobile App” by the
American Council for Technology. You can get information on wait times, traveler warnings and tips, and receive important news updates from the app. For people who travel frequently, downloading this app is a must – and it’s free!
31. No need to rush to board
Pros: You won’t be freaked out and stressed
What you need: Nothing
There are always people who rush to board. They’ll push and shove just to get a seat on the airplane, even though, for most airlines, seats are assigned. This airline hack is more just good general advice: don’t rush. There’s no fire. The airplane isn’t going anywhere.
Just meander over there once you feel ready. Everyone’s going to the same place: the plane. The only time you should be rushing in an airport is if you’re late for your flight. In that case, don’t be afraid to sprint. Otherwise, you’ll save yourself and everyone else hassle if you just chill out.
32. Pack the most important belongings in your carry on
Pros: You’ll have the most important things with you even if your luggage is lost
What you need: Your carry-on bag
This hack has been around since airlines were invented and began losing peoples’ luggage almost immediately thereafter. When you’re traveling, make sure you pack your most important items in your carry-on. This includes daily medications, phone chargers, important documents, underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste, and any valuables.
That way, even if the plane loses your luggage and you have to go through the tedious process of tracking it down and getting it back, you’ll have your essentials. This hack is extra important for people who rely on daily medication. You don’t want there to be any disruption to your medical routine and you certainly don’t want to have to buy it again.
33. Carry a power strip
Pros: You’ll have multiple power sources for all your devices
What you need: Power strip
It can be hard to find an outlet in the airport. And, even when you do find one, you really only get one outlet. Bring a power strip with you to the airport; that way, you can charge your phone, Airpods, laptop, and tablet, all at the same time.
If you’re feeling generous, you can even share some of the outlets with the person next to you. The power strip shouldn’t give you too much hassle going through security, especially if it’s not battery-operated. Even if you’re stopped, there won’t be an issue, just a small delay while they take it out of your bag and check it over.
34. Invest in laptop stands so you can work in reclined seats
Pros: You can work on your laptop from a reclined position
What you need: Laptop stand
Many people try to work when they’re at the airport or on an airplane. After all, vacation doesn’t always start the second you leave, and there are things you have to do. If you’re going to be traveling on an airplane and are one of those people who recline your seat on the plane (why?), consider a laptop stand.
You can find them on Amazon for $20-$30, usually. These laptop stands give you a surface to prop your laptop on while you work from a reclined position. Make sure to ask the person behind you if they mind you reclining your seat before you lean back.
35. Sit on the front side of the plane
Pros: You might get less sick or uncomfortable if you’re sensitive to flying
What you need: Nothing
SmarterTravel found that the best seats on the plane are near the front. Our center of gravity is around 28%, and the center of pressure acts around a quarter of the way down the plane’s wing. Choosing a seat near the front is better for people who get sick on flights or are sensitive to flying.
The other high points on a plane include exit rows and window seats. You might want to take an aisle seat near the front if you want to disembark quickly. Though you’ll sacrifice the window-seat view, you’ll get off the plane ASAP.
36. Rent a car through the website rather than wait in line
Pros: More availability and possibly lower prices
What you need: Computer/phone to book
Often, you need to rent a car when you travel to a new place. The airplane gets you to the destination, but you still gotta get around. Book a car online at the rental website instead of waiting in line. You’ll have better availability, and you can even save money if you prepay.
Also, you won’t have to wait. Plus, when you book online, you can check to make sure the car fits your specifications and budget. For example, if you need a car with more space, you won’t have to rely on luck to make sure you get what you need. Reserve yours before you even land.
37. Download or print your boarding pass and airport map
Pros: Saves time and confusion
What you need: Printer
Cost: Free/minimal at the local library*
Consider downloading and printing your boarding pass and a map of the airport before you even get there. If you have a printer at home, you can check in early and save time. Checking in early, if you’re flying with an airline like Southwest, often gets you a better boarding position.
You can skip the kiosk line at the airport and go straight to baggage check. Printing out an airport map is also a good idea if you are traveling to a bustling airport like LAX or ATL, both of which were ranked two of the most confusing airports in the world by TravelTrivia.
38. Switch to glasses from contacts
Pros: Your eyes won’t dry out mid-flight
What you need: Glasses
Cost: $50+/Free if you already own them*
Those of us with contact lenses have likely heard the stories about why you shouldn’t fly with them in. Often, flying with contacts dries them out, making your eyes irritated. When you’re 30,000 feet in the air, the atmospheric pressure, oxygen, and humidity are reduced, causing your eyes to dry out and wreaking havoc on your contacts.
Unless you want to keep reapplying contact-safe eye drops the entire time, do yourself a favor and switch to glasses. You will likely have to pack your contact lens solution in your suitcase, not your carry-on. Your lenses, by contrast, can (and should) go with you in your carry-on.
39. Wear shoes with socks
Pros: Can be extra comfortable without being weird
What you need: Socks and shoes
We’ve all seen the pictures and memes making fun of people who take their shoes off on planes, exposing their bare feet to the world. And rightfully so. There’s no reason to just have your bare feet out on an airplane.
However, if you’re flying eight hours or more, why have shoes on the entire time? Make sure you wear socks and shoes so that you can slip off your shoes during long-haul flights. More than likely, everyone else will be doing this, so you won’t be the odd man out. Don’t do anything crazy like put your feet up on the back of the chair in front of you, but just having your socks on should be fine.
40. Airport lounges sell all-day passes
Pros: You can experience a way more luxurious airport visit
What you need: Lounge pass
For most of us, we just get to the airport, get through security, and get on our flight. Some people might end up having to stay at the airport a little longer to catch their flight, and, for those people, buying an airport lounge pass might be a great idea.
Airport lounges have been around for at least seven decades, and they cost $40-$50 per person (though some places charge as little as $20-$25). They are super comfortable, with TVs, comfy chairs, couches, fast Wi-Fi, and even showers. You can book them through the airline or through third parties like LoungeBuddy.
41. Start emptying your pockets when on the security line
Pros: TSA doesn’t get mad at you, you don’t get held up passing through security
What you need: Nothing
One of the key checkpoint mistakes that drives TSA agents nuts is when people don’t empty their pockets before they get into the security line. In order to go through security and the scanners with no problem, you can’t have anything in your pockets.
TSA will yell this at you while you’re in line, but, for some people, that still doesn’t track. Even a big piece of lint can be enough to set off the scanner’s alert system. Though you won’t be in trouble, it’ll be a hassle to step out of line, and TSA will probably be annoyed that you didn’t listen. In conclusion, empty your pockets before you get into the scanner line.
42. Compression socks help with jet lag, if you wear them for more than 5 hours
Pros: Blood won’t pool in your feet, and your circulation won’t be damaged by long flights
What you need: Compression socks
Even healthy people with no circulation issues can benefit from this hack. Jet lag is tough, and it can feel extremely tiring, almost as though you’re coming down with the flu. Consider, instead of medication, compression socks. Compression socks help prevent blood from pooling in your feet, instead circulating it back to your heart.
The recommended tightness is between 30 and 40 mmHg (extra firm). This hack is especially important for long flights, as the risk of developing blood clots while flying increases with the travel time. Though it’s not a high chance, you still should take precautions against swelling or something even worse, like deep vein thrombosis.
43. Don’t fly on the eve of major holidays
Pros: Lower ticket prices, fewer people at the airport
What you need: Nothing
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Everyone flies out on the eve before major holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the Fourth of July. They want to get to their families before the holiday begins, but not too far out, as that would mean they’re stuck there for a while.
The worst days to travel, according to APRFinder, are December 23-26, November 25 (the day before Thanksgiving), July 3, May 22, and September 4. If you’re planning a trip and don’t want to be bothered by high ticket prices and hassle at the airport, consider booking around those dates.
44. Be the last one on board
Pros: Less people crowding your space, cuts wait time
What you need: Nothing
The Points Guy, a travel hack guru, made a compelling case for why boarding last on a plane isn’t the worst thing in the world. This hack is recommended for airlines that have assigned seating; otherwise, boarding last means a seat next to the back toilets.
Boarding towards the end, according to TPG, means far fewer people clogging the jet bridge and gate area. In addition to this social distancing hack, you also minimize the time you spend on the airplane itself, which, for people who hate flying, that’s a lifesaver. Boarding last cuts your wait time by fifteen to twenty minutes.
45. Pack a lot of snacks
Pros: You save money
What you need: Your own snacks and a carry-on bag
Snacks are incredibly expensive at the airport. The markup is crazy, and you might find yourself paying three times more for snacks and drinks than you would otherwise. Airports charge more because their business operating costs are higher. So, they’re part of the reason their food prices are so high.
The solution? Bring your own snacks to the airport. Treat it like a movie theater. Solid food items can be transported in your carry-on. You might have to separate these items out of your carry-on bag, but they can go through the scanners. As for a bottle of soda, that’ll have to wait until you’re past security, sadly.
46. Stand in line near the business class check-in
Pros: You save time when it’s time for you to board
What you need: Nothing
For those who don’t like boarding at the end, they should get ready to board near the front by standing in line near the business check-in area. Though you’ll get booted if you’re not in business class, standing near there will put you in an optimal position when it comes time for you to board the plane.
According to Thrifty Traveler, you might as well splurge and go for business class if you’re taking long-haul flights. Business-class offers decent food, extra space, and comfortable seating. Why be miserable for ten-plus hours, when you can spend extra to travel in comfort?
47. Take the seat near the Emergency Exit, and opt for the 2nd row instead of the 1st one
Pros: More leg room and reclining space, no kids allowed
What you need: Exit row seat
If you’re tall and/or hate sitting next to babies on flights, consider picking an exit row seat. There is more legroom in these seats, which means you can stretch your legs, something that can be pretty valuable on a long-haul flight. Exit row seats on long-range aircraft provide the best legroom. The second exit-seat row in particular has a lot of room and incline.
Also, kids aren’t allowed to sit there, which will make your flight much quieter. You just have to be prepared to help out if something actually does happen. For safety reasons, the flight attendant will usually ask you to give them a verbal “Yes” to indicate that you’re ready for exit-row responsibilities.
48. Shrink wrap your luggage to minimize scratches and dents
Pros: Your luggage won’t get damaged or dented, keeping your suitcase looking nice
What you need: Shrink wrap or an actual luggage cover
In 2017, according to Luggage and Suitcase, it was estimated that 22 million pieces of luggage were mishandled. This means they came back damaged, battered, and just not in the same condition in which they left their owner.
To prevent damage to your luggage, you can shrink wrap it. It’s allowed, and your bag will still pass through the scanner, even if it’s shrink-wrapped. If shrink-wrap is too much work, consider buying an actual luggage cover. You can buy a Yotako clear PVC suitcase cover on Amazon for $16.99. The average price for suitcase covers is $10-$20, an expense that’s worth it to keep your suitcase looking pristine.
49. Charge your battery portable battery pack, not your phone
Pros: No risk of data theft from using the USB charger at the airport
What you need: Portable power bank for your phone, USB cord
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office was one of several law enforcement organizations issuing some stern warnings for travelers, regarding the use of USB chargers at the airport. The LA DA’s said to avoid using USB charging stations at public locations like hotels and airports because these stations could “contain dangerous malware.”
So, if you don’t want your phone to die, what can you do instead? The solution is simple. Buy a portable power bank for your phone. You’ll pay $15-$25 for a portable bank on Amazon. You can charge that at the airport, with no risk of data theft.
50. To get extra time on the airport WiFi, roll back the time on your device
Pros: You won’t have to pay for Wi-Fi
What you need: Just your phone
There are a lot of airports that offer complimentary Wi-Fi with no restrictions, though, sadly, quite a few still have time caps on their Wi-Fi. Once you hit the time cap, you either have to pay for more Wi-Fi or go through the tedious reboot process.
One way to get past that is to roll back the time on your device. The Wi-Fi’s time gauge is based on your device’s time gauge. If you roll back your device’s time, that might be enough to trick the Wi-Fi into continuing without shutting you off. It’s worth a shot unless you want to pay some exorbitant price for another hour of access.
51. Resist the urge to drink before your flight
Pros: Won’t get dehydrated
What you need: Nothing
While getting plastered on a flight is no doubt the fastest way to pass the time, sadly, we’re going to have to advise against it in large quantities. Avoid drinking before your flight, especially if it’s a long journey, because alcohol can cause dehydration.
Alcohol works as a diuretic, which means it makes your body remove fluids from the blood through the renal system (kidneys, bladder, and ureters) at a faster rate than other liquids. On a flight, you might not be able to drink enough water with the alcohol, leading to dehydration. Headache, confusion, extreme thirst, and dry mouth—not exactly symptoms you want while arriving at your destination. Plus, buying a ton of water mid-flight won’t help your wallet.
52. But, You Can Bring Alcohol Under 3oz
Pros: Can drink on the plane
What you need: 3 oz. (or less) mini alcohol bottles, single, 1-quart plastic zip-lock bag
If you just can’t help yourself, you can bring alcohol bottles under three ounces. The TSA prevents you from taking containers of liquid with more than 3 ounces of liquid. Miniature liquor bottles, which are sold in pretty much any store, have to be packaged a certain way in order to comply with TSA rules.
You have to carry your mini-bottles in a single, one-quart plastic bag. The bag has to have a zip-top. You can buy these bags at Target, Walmart, Amazon, and most grocery stores. You can only bring one of these bags, so that’ll cap your alcohol intake at whatever you can fit in the zip-lock. As an extra bonus, it’s cheaper than buying in-flight alcohol.
53. Bring gum if traveling with children
Pros: Will help unclog kids’ ears
What you need: Sugar-free gum, hard candy
Kids can be annoying, but they do have a reason to complain on flights. Children are often more prone than adults to ear issues caused by takeoff and landing pressure changes. Though the pain goes away after a few minutes, it can be pretty unpleasant. You shouldn’t even attempt to fly with your kid if they have an ear infection or cold.
Bring sugar-free gum or hard candy for the flight. Have your child (if they’re old enough, of course) chew the gum or suck on the candy during take-off and landing. This will help with ear pressure. Also, give your kids plenty of fluids on the flight, as that will help unclog their ears.
54. Don’t wear a belt
Pros: Less hassle and holdup going through security
What you need: Nothing
The goal of the entire airport experience is to get where you’re going with as little hassle and effort as possible. If you want to be a real travel pro, wear a belt-free outfit. This will save you time when you’re going through security. TSA requires you to remove them anyway, and you don’t want to be fumbling with it when you could just not wear one breeze through.
Belts are banned by TSA because of the buckles, which almost always set off the metal detectors. Though a plastic belt won’t set off the scanners, TSA will still ask you to remove it if they see it, as it isn’t always easy to tell the difference.
55. Put jewelry in a ziplock bag
Pros: Won’t lose valuables, and less likely to get your bag searched
What you need: 1-quart ziplock bags
TSA, on its website, actually strongly suggests that you travel with your jewelry in your carry-on bag. It’s permitted in both, but, if your jewelry is valuable and/or sentimental, you should carry it with you to avoid losing it if your checked bags are lost (an all-too-common occurrence).
Place each individual piece of jewelry in a one-quart, clear, Ziploc bag. This will make it easier for TSA to scan it, lessening the chance that your bag will be pulled aside and searched. TSA advises that, if you’re worried about your valuables being spotted by other passengers, you should ask an agent to search your things privately.
56. Catch a cab home from departures, not arrivals
Pros: Faster to catch a cab from departures
What you need: Cash or cell phone to call the rideshare
According to the L.A. Times, traffic is up to 80% faster on the departures level (people flying out) than it is on the arrivals level (people flying in). This is especially true for big airports like J.F.K. or L.A.X. If you’re going to catch a cab home from the airport, go up to the departures.
There are a lot of possible reasons why it’s faster to catch a cab from departures, instead of arrivals. One reason is that people block traffic trying to get out of baggage claim with all their luggage. By contrast, when you’re on the departure side, your driver practically pushes you and your bags out of the car while it’s still rolling. It’s easy to hail a cab there, but you have to be quick about it.
57. Get a universal adapter
Pros: You can plug your electronic device in anywhere
What you need: Universal adapter
At the airport, you never know what kind of plug you’ll stumble upon. Will it be a two- or three-prong plug? A USB port, which you shouldn’t use because it might get hacked? Or something else?
Cut through the guessing game by buying a universal adapter. That way, no matter where you are, you’ll be able to plug in and charge your phone, tablet, computer, or any other electronic device. You can buy a universal adapter on Amazon for just $10-$15. For example, the NEWVANGA International All-In-One Travel Adapter has a 4.5/5-star rating out of 4,272 ratings. It costs just $11.99.
58. Pick the furthest security line, it’ll be the shortest
Pros: Less wait time
What you need: Nothing
There are plenty of websites and travel guides dedicated to finding the shortest security line. There almost seems to be a mathematical formula to it, though it can be overwhelming and disheartening to arrive at security and see a sea of people milling about.
According to PopSugar, the security line at the far end, especially to the far left, is usually the shortest. The reason why is simple: most people don’t look that far, and most people are right-handed, so they’re going to prefer the right. Go where fewer people have gone. Walk yourself and your bags down to the furthest security line for check-in. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much shorter it is.
59. Add a FRAGILE sticker so luggage will be loaded last/off first
Pros: Bag might get special treatment, will be there quicker at baggage claim
What you need: “FRAGILE” sticker from check-in
We’re not going to say that this is a for-sure win, because there’s always the chance that baggage handlers won’t even notice the sticker. Or, if they notice it, they won’t care about it, and just throw your baggage around anyway.
It’s worth a shot. Attach a “FRAGILE” sticker to your luggage (baggage check will usually provide them in some type of kiosk near the counter. If you can’t find a sticker, just ask for one). Technically, that means that your bag has to be loaded last and taken off first, and it means that handlers have to treat it gently – and that you won’t have to fork out for a new case.
60. Make sure checked luggage can withstand a six-foot fall
Pros: Luggage will be durable and less likely to sustain damage during transport
What you need: Durable luggage from brands like Samsonite, Rimowa, and Pelican Elite
We’ve talked about shrink-wrapping your luggage and attaching a “FRAGILE” sticker to it, but there’s another option for making sure your bags don’t get obliterated. You can always just buy luggage that is super durable.
If your luggage can withstand a six-foot fall, it will be able to handle the journey. Expert World Travel gave its list for the most durable luggage of 2021, including Pelican Elite Luggage (“Most Durable,” $419), Samsonite Omni (“Great Budget Option” at $129), Samsonite Winfield 2 ($194, “Best Value”), and Rimowa Topas (“Best High End”, $1,499). You should be prepared to shell out some money for extra-durable luggage, but the purchase will be worth it, as your things will be protected from all but a nuclear blast.
61. Wrap breakable items in clothes and cushion with socks
Pros: Can protect breakable items easily
What you need: Socks, clothes
It’s the morning that you’re due to leave, and you realize that you don’t have any packaging material. There are no packing peanuts or Styrofoam to cushion your breakable items, you’re facing a long flight ahead of you. You know your luggage is about to get jostled and thrown around, so what can you do?
Use your clothes and socks to protect valuable, breakable items. For example, if you have a small, glass trinket that you’re trying to transport and can’t bring in your carry-on, stick it in a sock. Then, wrap that sock in t-shirts and other clothing to keep it safe on the journey home.
62. Put checked liquids inside more than one plastic bag in case of leaks
Pros: Liquids won’t leak all over your stuff
What you need: Quart- and gallon-sized Ziploc bags, hair tie or rubber band
If you’re checking liquids like mouthwash and makeup foundation, the last thing you want to have happen is the liquids leak. It can happen, especially in transit, when your luggage is jostled and thrown about. There’s nothing more annoying than opening your suitcase and seeing that all your clothes have to be re-washed.
To mitigate and even prevent leakage, place your checked liquids in more than one plastic bag. Another trick is to take a small Ziploc bag and place it over the bottle’s lid. Then, wrap a hair tie around the base of the lid, sealing it off before you put the entire bottle into a gallon-size Ziploc.
63. Carry two wallets: one for cash and one with IDs and credit cards
Pros: Everything won’t go missing at once if you lose a wallet
What you need: Two wallets
Think about what’s in your wallet right now. It probably has your cash, ID, debit or credit cards, and other important documentation. If your wallet goes missing, you’ll lose all of that in one go. And, if you’re traveling, that loss can be extremely stressful and anxiety-inducing.
Separate the contents of your wallet into two wallets. This risk mitigation tactic means that, if one goes missing, you won’t lose everything. Sure, it’ll be a pain to lose either cash or cards/ID, but you won’t lose both. You’ll be able to keep yourself afloat until you can figure out what to do.
64. Distribute cash in different hiding places
Pros: Prevents thieves from taking all your cash if they get into your bag
What you need: Pacsafe backpack or sewing materials to create hidey-holes in your bag
Allianz Travel Insurance came up with this recommendation for travelers who are journeying with a lot of cash on them, ostensibly to exchange it. Bag slashers, pickpockets, and unscrupulous bag-handlers are always a threat, however minor that threat might seem.
If you’re traveling with cash, hide it in different places in your bag. A travel backpack by Pacsafe ($77 on Amazon) is a really smart option, as it has steel wire straps, security hooks, and built-in safeguards that help you protect valuables. You can also cut and sew pockets into your bag for extra hiding spots. Even if the thieves get some of your cash, they won’t get all of it, if you hide it well enough.
65. If you get a free upgrade, don’t tell people about it
Pros: Continue to get free upgrades without the airline tightening up its handouts
What you need: Nothing
Free upgrades are a godsend to travelers, whether these upgrades come in the form of better hotel rooms or business class. There are a lot of ways to achieve a free upgrade, including joining your airline’s frequent flyer club, booking with a savvy travel agent, checking in early, volunteering to get bumped from a flight that has been overbooked, or simply asking at the ticket counter (the worst they can say is no).
If you manage to score a free upgrade, keep it to yourself. Don’t tell anyone, as if too many people game the system and get these upgrades for free, the airline might tighten ranks and could be less likely to hand them out easily in the future.
66. Download the FLIO app to see all the airport’s amenities
Pros: Lets you track airport amenities, discounts, and flight information
What you need: Smartphone, FLIO app
The FLIO app has a 4.6/5-star rating at the Apple Store. The app is a “flight companion,” and it holds the distinction of being the most-used app in the world for airports. FLIO is a centralized solution, and it helps airport passengers navigate flights while generating revenue for its partner airlines, retailers, and brands.
With FLIO, you can check your flight status online, track flights, and view airport amenities and discounts. You’ll be the first to know about changes in gates, boarding times, baggage claims, and delays with FLIO. The app is now available for Android users as well.
67. Look for free WiFi by checking Yelp and TripAdvisor for airport restaurants’ passwords
Pros: Don’t have to pay for WiFi
What you need: Phone/computer
Most airports are hopping on the trend of providing free WiFi (albeit with a sign-in screen and an agreement you have to check), but there are still some that are behind the times. If you don’t want to pay for WiFi, one way around that is to check Yelp and TripAdvisor for nearby restaurants’ passwords.
Most airports have a chain restaurant (or several). Check Yelp or TripAdvisor for the passwords to these chain restaurants, or just Google it. That way, you can use the restaurants’ WiFi without having to pay for the airport’s. Just make sure you’re close enough to the restaurant to be in range.
68. Don’t exchange all of your currency
Pros: You’ll have a cash reserve that you won’t have to re-exchange
What you need: Cash in home currency
Exchanging currency is a necessary part of traveling. You need to make sure you have the money in your pocket to enjoy your vacation. However, don’t exchange all of your currency. Leave a small fund for yourself in your home currency, in case of emergencies. Also, if you don’t spend all your money abroad, you won’t have to re-exchange it back, possibly incurring fees and losing some of your cash.
According to Investopedia, there are some places you should definitely avoid when exchanging currency. Airport kiosks and currency exchange shops have bad rates and high fees, while local banks and bank ATMs often have the fairest rates. You should also check to see if your home bank offers refunds for the fees you incur when using a foreign ATM.
69. Call your bank to let them know you’re traveling
Pros: Tells the bank not to freeze your card if you post a transaction while on vacation
What you need: Phone
This has happened to pretty much every traveler, even if you’re going a few miles outside of the city. Some banks are quick to lock your card if they suspect fraud. While it’s appreciated, it’s not always necessary, as just because you’re in a different location, that doesn’t mean someone has stolen your card.
To avoid a locked card, call your bank ahead of time. Explain that you’re going to be traveling, and there is no need to lock your card if they see a transaction posted in a different location. This will save you time and hassle. If, in the worst-case scenario, your card does get stolen while on vacation, you can always call the bank back and immediately cancel it.
70. Those moving walkways aren’t actually faster, they just let you rest
Pros: You can rest if you have heavy luggage, power walkers will go faster
What you need: Nothing
Moving walkways aren’t actually faster unless you’re intentionally power-walking while you’re on them. These moving walkways are a feature in most major airports, and the belt travels around 1.4 miles per hour, according to Chicago Tribune. That’s approximately half of a normal walking speed.
When people get on the belt, they walk 2.24MPH, which is actually slower than the average 3MPH stride. In conclusion, don’t expect to go into hyperdrive just because you get on a moving walkway. It’s really just there for passengers with heavy luggage to rest. If you want to walk, walk on the left. If you want to stand, stand on the right.
71. Tear up plane tickets after flights, the barcodes contain personal information
Pros: Will prevent hackers from accessing personal information
What you need: Scissors (if you want to cut tickets up instead of ripping them)
Clark.com pointed out that a lot of information is stored in the QR and barcodes on airline boarding passes. This information includes frequent flyer account information, personal details, and even future travel plans. While it doesn’t exactly have your credit card number and security code spelled out, there’s still some pretty personal information on these barcodes. The same goes for barcodes on your tickets.
When you’re done with your flight, rip up your tickets and boarding pass to prevent hackers from accessing the codes’ information. If you want to save the tickets/passes for nostalgic, scrapbook reasons, just cut off the barcode section and rip only that up, saving the rest.
72. Use the time without internet while on the plane to digital detox
Pros: Can get away from social media for at least a few hours
What you need: Nothing (and that’s the point!)
Compared to other technologies, social media is still pretty new. Because it’s relatively new, there is little research into the consequences of using social media. There are some studies that say that it’s harmful and we should “detox” from it every once in a while, while other studies say that it’s not as bad as it’s portrayed.
Either way, if you want a digital detox, use the time on the airplane to get away from the constant connection. Don’t purchase in-flight WiFi. Instead, just listen to music (you can download playlists ahead of time so that they’re playable without WiFi) or read a book. Just take a break from the social media swarm for a few hours. You’ll come off the plane feeling refreshed.
73. Join frequent flyer rewards programs
Pros: Discounts on future flights, upgrades for seating and baggage, other amenities for flying often
What you need: A way to access and join the frequent flyer rewards program
If you fly often, you should definitely join a frequent flyer rewards program. Alternatively, if you aren’t someone who flies often (at least 20,000 miles per year), you probably won’t be able to rack up the miles you need to get the benefits.
Frequent flyer programs tally up the miles you’ve traveled and turn them into a points system. Hitting a certain number of points might get you a free upgrade, a discount on flight or baggage services, or even cheaper flights in the future. This saves money over time, as frequent flyers don’t have to pay full price when they take one of their many flights.
74. It might be cheaper to drive and pay for parking than take a cab
Pros: Potentially save money
What you need: A car
Cost: Less than cabs
This one comes down to simple mathematics. If you live far from the airport, taking a cab there and back could cost you quite a bit of money. Cab fares vary from city to city, but they can be expensive, depending on where you live. Even if a rideshare is cheaper, it might only be less expensive if there isn’t a surge that causes prices to increase.
It could be cheaper to just drive and park at the airport. Most airport extended-parking lots have an area where you can park for under $10 a day. Do the math before you leave to ensure that you’re choosing the transportation option with the lowest price.
75. Always pack important medication in your carry on
Pros: If your checked baggage is lost, you won’t be without your medication
What you need: Medications you can’t live without
We’ve talked a lot about the danger of checked baggage getting lost. According to USA Today, the odds of losing your baggage are less than 1%, but that’s still a little nerve-wracking, especially when you consider how many important things are in your bags.
If you have important medication, take it in your carry-on bag. That way, it will be with you wherever you go, and, even if your checked baggage is lost, you won’t be without what you need to stay healthy. TSA even recommends that you take your medication in your carry-on with you, and it’s perfectly legal, no matter how many pills you have. You can take your medication in “unlimited amounts,” as long as it can all fit through the scanner.
76. Put plastic bags over your wing mirrors when you park at the airport
Pros: It’ll protect them from birds
What you need: A plastic bag, elastic band
This one may seem a little nuts, but a plastic bag and an elastic band can go a long way. If you park at the airport, especially at one that has open-air parking, then place a plastic bag over your wing mirror and tie it on with an elastic band before you leave the car.
This stops birds pecking at it when they see their own reflection and will prevent you coming back to find you’ve got a broken mirror. Plus, if you’re going away for an extended period, it keeps the mirrors clean so you won’t have to wipe them when you get back.
77. Bring your own food on the plane
Pros: Saves money
What you need: Your own food
According to the TSA, you can take solid food (not gels or liquids) in your carry-on or checked bags. If the food is larger than 3.4 ounces, you’re going to want to place it in your checked bag, if possible. Though you can’t bring drinks, you can bring food, and, considering the prices at airports, there’s plenty of incentive to do so.
Airports have to pay tons of fees and commissions, and one way that they make that money back is by driving up their food prices. That’s why food is so expensive at the airport. If you want to save some cash, bring your own food.
78. Always keep your boarding pass
Pros: Serves as proof of your flight for airline miles, information won’t get into the wrong hands
What you need: Boarding pass
When you get done with your vacation and you’re unpacking, you probably will stumble upon your boarding pass. Though it might be tempting to toss it in the trash, you’re going to want to keep that pass—or at least, shred it thoroughly before throwing it away.
The boarding pass serves as proof of your flight in case the airline doesn’t give you your miles. Additionally (and arguably more importantly), the pass has information and personal data about you that could be dangerous if it got into the wrong hands. Keep the pass or shred it, but don’t just throw it away.
79. Be strategic with flight cancellations
Pros: Saves you a fee
What you need: N/A
When you’re canceling a flight, you should be strategic. Maybe your plans didn’t go the way you wanted them too or you got sick—either way, be sure to look at the airline’s policy for flight cancelation. This includes when you can cancel it, as well as whether you’ll be penalized in the future.
Never canceled a flight with that airline before? You’ll probably be okay. If you’re a repeat canceler, you might get charged a fee. If your ticket is non-refundable, you might have to haggle with customer service to get at least some of your money back. Be strategic, and don’t give up right away.
80. Download Google Maps for offline use
Pros: Lets you navigate while offline
What you need: iPhone or iPad
WiFi can be spotty on a plane, and you don’t want to keep your phone’s data on, lest you increase your roaming charges. If you want to be able to access a map, download Google Maps. This way, you’ll be able to download entire areas and navigate while offline.
First, on your iPad or iPhone, open Google Maps. Make sure that you’re on the Internet when you’re downloading. Search for a location, and, at the bottom, type in the address for the place. There will be an option to “Download” the map for offline use. Click it, and now you can navigate with no Internet.
81. Fight jet lag with exercise
Pros: Helps your body get back onto a good rhythm
What you need: Weights (optional)
It can be hard to shake jet lag. The internet is full of tips that you can use to get yourself back on a good sleeping pattern in no time, and we have another one for you. You can fight jet lag by exercising. The Journal of Physiology published new research that indicated that exercising at certain times of the day can switch up your circadian rhythms.
When you arrive in a new location, take a fast twenty- to thirty-minute walk. Follow up with light weights or calisthenics, if you want. You might find that this helps you stay away until it’s actually time to go to bed.
82. Consider looking beyond the obvious sites like Kayak and Expedia
Pros: Might save money
What you need: Phone/computer to access the Internet
Kayak and Expedia are two of the most-used sites when it comes to finding tickets. And it is true that they often help people get great deals. However, they shouldn’t be the only sites you look at when you’re trying to find low ticket prices. First, you’ll want to try to book directly through the airline’s site.
If those numbers aren’t doing it for you, other sites you can check include Momondo, Priceline, Orbitz, Agoda, Hotwire, Travelocity, BookingBuddy, TripAdvisor Flights, OneTravel, Travelzoo, Skyscanner, CheapOair and SunriseTravelGuide. One of those many sites is bound to have the budget you’re looking for.
83. SeatGuru has seat maps to help you pick the very best seat on every plane
Pros: Gives you information on good/bad seats, airline amenities, etc.
What you need: Computer/phone to access the website
If you’ve ever flown before, you know the importance of picking a not-terrible seat. Whether you’re flying with assigned seats or at-random, SeatGuru can help. This website features aircraft seating maps and seating reviews, as well as a color-coded system that will identify good and bad airline seats.
It’s also a good source for flight shopping, in-flight amenities, and airline information. SeatGuru basically is a big compare-and-contrast service. It’s been around for almost two decades, and TripAdvisor owns the site. It can be a useful tool when you’re picking your seat and deciding when and with what airline you want to fly.
84. While at the airport terminal, don’t choose the closest line for the bathroom. Try one a few steps beyond or in a less-trafficked part of the terminal
Pros: Saves you time
What you need: Nothing
When you’re at an airport terminal, it might be tempting to just go to the closest bathroom, even if there’s a long line. After all, it beats walking, which could take even more time. Time’s precious, especially if you’re trying to catch your flight or you really have to go.
Consider rethinking the bathroom situation. Try and find a less-trafficked part of the terminal, or even the next bathroom in the terminal. You might find that there are fewer people there, which will save you time and energy. It’s worth a shot, particularly if you hate waiting in line.
85. Moisturize inside and out
Pros: Keeps your skin moist, hydrates you
What you need: Moisturizer, water
Planes zap the moisture in the air, which leads to dry skin. The air in the cabin is very dry, and that can wreak havoc for those of us who are prone to skin dryness. Lack of moisture in the skin can actually lead to acne, as the skin over-produces oil to attempt to combat the dryness.
Beat the recycled air by packing moisturizer on your flight. You can pack it in a size that is TSA-approved. If you have a water bottle, put it to good use by drinking water and avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine.
86. Turn on “Private Browsing” for cheaper flights
Pros: Might save you money
What you need: Google Chrome or Safari browser
There is some debate on whether this works or not. Men’s Journal says yes, while Travel and Leisure says no. Still, it is worth a shot, especially if it’ll cut your costs. One flight booking hack is to keep your searches secret when you book flights.
87. Compare flight prices using Airfare Matrix
Pros: Helps you save money and find the lowest-priced tickets
What you need: Access to Google
The Google ITA Matrix is a powerhouse tool for finding cheap airline flights. The Matrix is a software search tool, and it’s one of the best ones out there. The Matrix runs on an algorithm that gives great results. Just put in your flight details and click to search.
You’ll find the lowest ticket prices around. There are a lot of details you have to input, so make sure that you have time to search. The ITA Matrix’s results are solid, according to UpgradedPoints.com, which did a comparison of the Matrix to other booking sites. The result? Google had the best software, of course.
88. Keep a pen in every bag/pocket
Pros: Less germy, won’t have to scramble
What you need: Pen(s)
There are a lot of places at the airport where a pen comes in handy. You should carry several pens with you so that you’re not scrambling when it comes time to fill out Customs sheets, luggage tags, and more.
Sure, the airlines will provide pens, but consider the time and place. Is it a good idea to be using a pen that thousands of people have touched? Probably not. Also, people often take those pens with them, so who’s to say they’ll even be there when you need them. At the end of the day, it’s best to bring your own.
89. Use AirHelp to get compensated for flight delays or cancelled flights
Pros: Will help you compensation, enforces passenger rights
What you need: Access to AirHelp
One of the worst things ever is when an airline delays or cancels your flight, leaving you in the dust. The founders of AirHelp were so fed-up with this happening that they started their own claims management company. AirHelp Ltd. enforces passenger rights when airlines disrupt flights by delaying or canceling them.
AirHelp will argue for compensation on your behalf if your flight is canceled or delayed. Airlines have an incentive to cooperate with AirHelp, as they publish annual rankings of airlines and airports. These rankings carry a lot of weight with passengers, and big air wants to stay in AirHelp’s good graces. Use this service if your flight is delayed or canceled without compensation.
90. Download the airline’s app beforehand
Pros: Might help you save time or money, gives you news alerts/information
What you need: Smartphone
If you want to be super-duper prepared, consider downloading the airline’s app beforehand. This is especially useful if you’re going to be flying with the airline frequently in the future. For example, if you only ever fly Southwest, downloading the Southwest app might benefit you in the short- and long-term.
Airline apps have a lot of valuable information on them, from schedules to delays to in-flight amenities. The apps also are the first to let you know when there is an important airline announcement. Turn on your notifications to get badges or lock-screen alerts; the information might help you save money or time.
91. Challenge yourself not to check a bag
Pros: Saves money and time
What you need: Nothing
Cost: $50+ for hand luggage*
This one might be difficult for those of us who are over-packers. Over-packing is a real thing. You never know when you might need forty-seven pairs of underwear for a three-day trip. For most travelers, not checking a bag is unheard of. And, if you’re flying on some airlines, you can even check a bag for free.
If you’re not flying on one of those airlines and want to save money, it might be time to challenge yourself to not check a bag. The web is full of packing tips that will help you maximize space in your carry-on bags.
92. Order a “special meal” to get your food first
Pros: You get your food first
What you need: Rewards account (sometimes)
If you don’t feel bad about gaming the system, this is a good hack for you. United is a good example of ordering a special meal. A “special meal” is an in-flight meal that adheres to certain restrictions. For example, kosher meals fall under the “special” designation.
You’ll get your meal first if you order it “special.” Airlines like United only offer these meals on specific routes, and you have to make the request after booking. You might also need to have some sort of MileagePlus or similar rewards account with the airline. If getting your food ASAP is important, consider using this hack.
93. Take a massage ball in your carry-on
Pros: Helps relieve your neck and back
What you need: Non-electric massager
Let’s face it. The seats on an airline are not the most comfortable in the world. Unless you’re up in first class, away from the rest of the plebeians, you’re not going to be entitled to a comfortable ride. The best it will be is manageable.
You can bring a massage ball on the plane, as long as it’s non-electrical. Stick rollers and spiky balls are two TSA-permitted items that won’t give you trouble when you go through security. Things might get dicey if you bring electric massagers, but massage balls are fine. They’ll relieve your neck, if you don’t have a pillow.
94. Buy a dummy wallet to confuse pickpockets
Pros: Confuses pickpockets, you get to keep your wallet
What you need: Dummy wallet
One of the worst things that can happen when you’re traveling in a foreign country is getting mugged. You’ll be stuck in an unknown environment without money or identification, and that might be the end of the trip right there.
Pickpockets are everywhere, sorry to say. If you want to confuse them, buy a dummy wallet. These wallets won’t cost more than $10, and you can keep them in your back pocket. When the thief goes to open it, they’ll get a big fat load of nothing. Meanwhile, keep your real wallet tucked away near your chest, where someone won’t be able to cut it loose.
95. Get the best travel credit card
Pros: Saves money, gets rewards for spending
What you need: Travel credit card
If you travel frequently, you should consider getting a travel credit card. These cards offer rewards based on your mileage, and, when you use the cards while traveling, you can really rack up the cash savings. According to CNBC, some of the best travel credit cards include; American Express Gold Card, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve.
CNBC looked at how much cash you can save using these cards, and the results were stunning. For example, the estimated annual rewards for using the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card were $3,346, after you used it for five years. It takes time and patience, but the savings are worth it.
96. Try buying one-way tickets using multiple carriers
Pros: Might save money
What you need: Access to ticket booking
Cost: Price of a ticket
Split-ticketing is allowed with most airlines. When you split-ticket, you buy one-way tickets from multiple airlines. This can help you save money and get you to your destination as fast as, if not faster, than you would if you didn’t split-ticket.
Southwest and JetBlue, two low cost carriers, started this trend when they permitted people to buy one-way tickets, instead of forcing them to take a full, roundtrip flight. Legacy carriers had to follow suit. Now, split-ticketing is common. Shop around for the best one-way flights, and you might find that taking your arrival flight with one airline and your return flight with another is a huge money-saver.
97. Use FlightAware to track your flights
Pros: Lets you track your flight
What you need: Access to FlightAware
As airlines have proliferated, so have the many websites and apps that come with them. These websites and apps aren’t just run by airlines; a lot of them are third-party resources that let you find the best service for your journey. One such website is FlightAware, an aviation-related company.
This tech service provides real-time, predictive, and historical flight data and flight tracking. FlightAware is the largest flight-tracker in the world, and it has a network of more than 32,000 ADS-B ground stations in two-hundred countries. The service has been around since 2005, and it is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to keep updated on where their flight is.
98. Leave a gap in the middle – book the aisle and window
Pros: You get a lot of legroom
What you need: Money to book three seats
Cost: Cost of three seats
This one is sure to cause debate about who is the jerk here. Is it the person taking spots they don’t need just so they can have a little leg room? Or is that person not a jerk because they paid for the seats and are entitled to them?
Either way, if you have money to burn and like your space, who says that you have to fly like the rest of us? Book the window and aisle seat in addition to the middle seat. You can take up an entire row, stretch out, and enjoy a far more comfortable ride than your fellow passengers.
99. Take a hydration multiplier for long flights
Pros: Prevents dehydration on long flights
What you need: Hydration multiplier
Dehydration is a serious problem on long flights. When you’re flying for sixteen or eighteen hours, it’s easy to forget to drink. You’re not getting up and doing any activity, so you’re probably not thinking about the need to hydrate. By the time you do stand up, you might feel quite woozy from the lack of water.
For long flights, bring a hydration multiplier. Liquid I.V. ($24.47) is a good example of this supplement. Hydration multiplier packets maximize water uptake because they utilize the co-transport of sodium and glucose across your abdomen, pulling water with it as it goes. The result is better hydration, even on a long flight.
100. Download Your Own Personal Arrival And Departure Board – Flightboard
Pros: Gives you helpful information about your flight, right at your fingertips
What you need: App (Flight Board, FlightAware, airline apps, etc.)
There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to download your own Flightboard (there is even an app called “Flight Board” on Google Play). It will give you peace of mind to download your flightboard, as this handy information will tell you the basics: arrival and departure time, gate, and whether you are delayed or not.
As one website put it, the flightboard in the airport “tells you when [you should] start panicking.” Having it on-hand on your phone, tablet, or laptop will keep you updated on your flight’s status and where your gate is located.
101. Charge Electronic Devices Through A TV
Pros: Lets you charge your phone, even if you forget your wall port
What you need: USB cord, USB port in the hotel TV
This hack has more to do with a hotel than anything, but it’s still important to the travel process as it involves a vital piece of technology: your phone. You can charge your tablets, phones, and other smart devices using the television in your hotel room. Note, some TVs won’t have this outlet, in which case you’ll have to just go to the store to buy a wall port.
If your TV does have a USB port on it, you’re in luck, as you might be able to attach a USB cable to it. Link the cable to your phone and check to see if it’s charging. TV USB ports are a lifesaver for anyone who loses their wall port during their travels.
102. Roll clothes to save suitcase space
Pros: Shrinks the space clothes take up, giving you more suitcase space
What you need: Nothing
Ah, packing. It can be such a burden to try to get everything you want in your suitcase at one time. Some of us are over-packers, while others under-pack. To be honest, you’re better off overpacking, because at least then, you’ll never not have what you need.
If you’re struggling to make space in your suitcase, consider this revolutionary approach to folding clothes. Instead of folding shirts, pants, and underwear the normal way, roll them tightly instead. This won’t wrinkle the clothes (at least not any more than regular folding), and they will fit better in the suitcase than if they were folded.
103. Toss a dryer sheet in your suitcase
Pros: Makes clothes smell fresh and clean while you travel
What you need: Dryer sheets
There are a ton of laundry-related things you can do with dryer sheets. These convenient, good-smelling slips are able to make clothes fresh and clean, even when they’ve been packed away for some time. You can’t imagine your laundry routine without them—however, that’s not all these sheets are good for.
You can keep your clothes fresh while you travel by sticking a dryer sheet (or two or three) into your suitcase. Place them wherever, zip the suitcase up and head out the door. Your clothes will smell amazing by the time you get to your destination. If you want, you can even roll up dryer sheets and stick them into your shoes.
104. Exercise to prevent jet lag
Pros: Helps you feel less tired by resetting your circadian rhythm
What you need: Nothing
The Journal of Physiology dropped a very important tip for people who suffer from jet lag, which is an inability to adjust to different time zones when you travel. The symptoms of jet lag range from extreme tiredness (the most common) even to feeling nauseous or under the weather.
The Journal revealed that, if you exercise at certain times of the day, you can change your circadian rhythms. After you land and get settled, go on a brisk walk or jog for half an hour. Exercise at the same time the next day. You’ll find that, very shortly, you’ll have adjusted to the new schedule.
105. Put a binder clip on your razor so you don’t injure yourself
Pros: Keeps you from nicking yourself on the razor when you unpack your suitcase
What you need: Binder clip, razor
If you’re rummaging around in your suitcase and feel something sharp, chances are, you’ve probably nicked yourself on a razor. We all need razors when we travel, both women and men, but it can be hard to store them safely. While placing them in a case is one option, what if you don’t have one?
Take a binder clip (large- or medium-size) and fit it over the razor head, whether it has the case or not. This will keep the blade concealed, preventing any nasty and not-vacation-friendly injuries from ensuing when you unpack your suitcase at the hotel.
106. Scan your passport and email a copy
Pros: Gives you an extra copy of your passport at your fingertips
What you need: Scanner, phone or computer, email account
When you think about traveling internationally, one of your biggest fears is likely losing your passport. You probably check your bag a thousand times to make sure it’s in there. This hack will help give you extra peace of mind.
Scan your passport (something you can do on any home printer), and email a copy of the scan to yourself or whoever your intended recipient is. For security’s sake, don’t attach it to the message itself. Instead, send the picture in a separate email. Other security tips include blocking out unnecessary data, protecting files with a password, using end-to-end encryption, or even using a file hosting service.
107. Bring a Lifestraw for safe drinking water
Pros: Filters water while you drink it
What you need: LifeStraw
Not every trip is to an oasis or a vacation destination. Sometimes, you’re traveling to somewhere a little rougher, where the drinking water’s health and safety is debatable. Tools like LifeStraw can help. This straw, which costs $25-$30, filters drinking water.
It filters microplastics, bacteria, parasites, and more as you drink, making it ideal for trips to areas with poor water quality. The LifeStraw is 99.99% effective. The only things it might not be able to filter out are viruses, chemicals, or heavy metals. But, for hiking or camping, the LifeStraw is a great choice.
108. Line your backpack with a plastic bag in case something leaks
Pros: Keeps backpack from getting ruined if something leaks
What you need: Plastic bag, Ziploc bags (optional)
Once in a while, things leak in your bag. If you’re traveling and are using a backpack, make sure that you make the bag leak-proof by lining it with a plastic bag. Whether the possible leakage source is a drink, contact lens solution, or something else, lining the bag with plastic is a good idea.
You can also buy backpacks that have a lining on the inside, but that solution is usually more expensive than the good ol’ plastic bag method. For extra security, wrap the lid of liquid bottles and containers with a Ziploc bag, securing it with a hair tie or tight rubber band.
109. Bring spices in Tic Tac containers
Pros: Convenient spice storage, secure without spilling
What you need: Empty, clean Tic Tac containers, spices
Cost: $2/Free if you already have them*
We all need our favorite seasonings. If you’re traveling somewhere where you’re not sure whether they’ll have the seasoning and spices that you have to have on your food, don’t worry, as you can store spices in a way that doesn’t require you to take the whole jar with you.
Store spices in a Tic Tac container. Clean out the container to get the taste of mint or fruit out of it, and then let it dry. Pour how much spice you think you’ll need into the container, and snap the lid shut. When you want to use it, just pop open the lid and tap to dispense.
110. Download plenty of TV and movies for flights and downtime
Pros: Saves money on in-flight WiFi, gives you something to watch so you don’t have to pick from a poor selection
What you need: Streaming account, device on which to watch the movie
Cost: Cost of subscription
Most in-flight movies aren’t great. And, even if you use the in-flight movie service, you might not find anything to your liking. There are major blockbusters on there, but what if you want an indie movie? Or a new movie? Luckily, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms came up with the answer.
You can download content on these platforms, saving it for later. You won’t need an Internet connection to watch them, which means you’ll save money instead of paying for in-flight WiFi. Just make sure you download the movies at home, as the process could take a little while.
111. Sit near the First Class Lounge to use the good WiFi
Pros: Don’t have to pay for First Class Lounge access, get good WiFi anyway
What you need: Nothing
Most airport lounges provide WiFi that surpasses, to at least some extent, the quality of the WiFi in the rest of the airport. The only problem is, you’ll likely have to pay $25 or more to get into the lounge, which is an expense that seems like a waste, especially if you’re only going to be there for a few hours.
Here’s a hack. You don’t have to be in the club to reap the benefits. If you find a (discreet) seat near the first-class airport lounge, you can usually mooch off their WiFi. They’ll be none the wiser, and you won’t have to shell out tons of money for fast WiFi.
112. Bring a box of crayons for on-the-go candles
Pros: DIY candle, gives you light and heat if you’re on-the-go and in a pinch
What you need: Crayons, lighter or fire-starter
This hack definitely isn’t for the airport, as, if you light something on fire there, you’re probably going to be arrested. However, if you’re traveling for a hiking or camping trip and need to have a backup fire-starter, consider bringing crayons.
That’s right. Colorful Crayola crayons aren’t just used for creating pretty pictures. These crayons can burn for half an hour. Light the paper label near the end in order to get the crayon burning. The only downside is that this makeshift candle doesn’t burn as cleanly as a real one. You’ll be able to smell melting wax and burning paper. But, in an emergency, the crayon will do the trick.
113. Create a speaker with an empty toilet paper roll
Pros: Cheap way to make a speaker
What you need: Empty toilet paper roll, scissors, smartphone
Not all of us have the money to spend on iPhone speakers, so sometimes, you have to DIY it and improvise. Again, don’t do this in the airport, as you’ll get arrested. But, if you don’t want to travel with your fragile speakers, or if you can’t afford them, this hack is for you.
You can make a speaker out of an empty toilet paper roll. Make an incision near the roll’s center, cutting a slit large enough for your phone to fit into, lengthwise. The sound will travel through the roll, boosting the music. You can even create a little stand to amplify the sound even more.
114. Offer to give up your seat for extra perks
Pros: Might get vouchers, free tickets, and perks for volunteering
What you need: Nothing
Airlines have a mission to fill up flights as much as possible. Most of us can’t remember ever flying on a plane that wasn’t completely full. Sometimes, airlines overbook. They count on someone canceling the flight, and then, when no one cancels, there are people who have to be bumped—whether voluntarily or involuntarily.
If your travel plans are flexible and you can handle being bumped, you should volunteer. There are perks to be had for bumping, including vouchers, free tickets for a future flight, stays in a hotel, and more. If your flight occurs during mealtime, you might even be able to get $5-$10 off your lunch.
115. Use a contact lens case for makeup
Pros: Convenient way to store makeup so you don’t have to bring the full container
What you need: Contact lens case (cleaned out), liquid makeup you want to bring
Those of us who wear contacts know that contact lens cases are a dime a dozen. You’re supposed to change yours out every at least every three months, cleaning the case each time you use it. If you’re looking for a way to use old contact lens cases, try this travel hack.
When you’re traveling, you might not want to carry an entire jar of foundation, primer, liquid highlighter, etc. Use contact lens cases to store the small amount you’ll need for the trip, pouring the makeup into the lens-holder. There should be enough product in the lens case to last a few days, and you can leave the entire, expensive jar at home, safe and sound.
116. Use packing cubes
Pros: Helps you pack neatly, compresses clothes, organizes suitcase
What you need: Packing cubes
Packing cubes are the newest trend in packing. These cubes are small bags designed for organizing and compartmentalizing clothes in your larger suitcase. They also compress clothing, which means that you’ll have optimum space in your suitcase. You can buy these cubes on Amazon, usually for $15-$20 for a set of four to six.
Putting small items into the cube, such as power cords or socks, can keep them from getting tangled in your bag. You can also use these cubes when you get to your destination, using them as cosmetics or laundry bags. Overall, if you want to pack as neatly as possible, these cubes are a good investment.
117. Don’t cancel nonrefundable tickets until the last possible moment
Pros: Might get a refund if you’re lucky
What you need: Nothing
A lot of us have been there. You purchase a nonrefundable airline ticket, thinking that there’s no way you won’t be able to go on your flight, and then something happens. Now, you’re faced with a several-hundred-dollar ticket that you can’t get refunded.
Or can you? Wait until the last possible minute to cancel a nonrefundable ticket. There’s always a chance, however small, that the airline will cancel the flight. In that case, you’re absolutely entitled to a refund, as per the DoT’s rules. As a last resort, try just calling the airline, explaining the situation honestly, and seeing if there’s anything they can do for you, refund-wise. You might be surprised.
118. Try Clear for faster security
Pros: Bypass security quicker, works with more airlines than TSA PreCheck
What you need: Clear membership
Cost: $179 per year*
If you travel a lot, chances are that you’ve heard of Clear. Clear Secure, Inc. is the tech company behind Clear, a secure ID platform. This platform stores your personal information, linking it to biometric data—your eyes and face.
So, instead of using regular ID documents like a passport or driver’s license, you can skip all that using the Clear touchless ID. A membership to the Clear program costs $179 a year. Clear doesn’t just speed up your entrance into airports, it also can make entering stadiums and other venues quicker. Clear works with all airlines, which makes it a better option than TSA PreCheck.
119. Bring Liquid IV or Emergen-C on your flight to stay hydrated
Pros: Fights dehydration, keeps you hydrated on long flights
What you need: Liquid IV, Emergen-C
Many international airlines have warnings and advice pertaining to a common ailment on long flights: dehydration. Dehydration symptoms include feeling thirsty and tired, dry mouth, lips, or eyes, dizziness, lightheadedness, and dark urine. It’s a common side effect of long flights, because, often, people neglect to drink water on the plane.
The dry air doesn’t help, either. If you want to combat dehydration on long flights, consider buying Liquid I.V., an electrolyte hydration multiplier, or Emergen-C, a vitamin drink mix with one-thousand milligrams of Vitamin C. You won’t feel lightheaded when you get off the plane, and you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without losing a day to tiredness.
120. Tell the airline ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions
Pros: Gives the airline time to get things ready for you, more effective than waiting
What you need: A way to contact the airline
Dietary restrictions are common, whether they’re minor (food dislikes) or major (serious food allergies). It can be hard to travel with these restrictions, especially if you’re flying on a long flight where the airline serves meals. How do you know if they’ll have an option for you?
If you have dietary restrictions, call the airline ahead of time after you’ve booked your ticket. Give them a few weeks in advance, and request your specific meal, whether it’s vegan, gluten-free, Kosher, or something else, ahead of time. This will give the airline time to comply and work with you, and it’s far more polite and effective than springing it on them last-minute.
121. Wait to exchange money outside of the airport
Pros: Saves money on fees, get better rates than exchanging in the airport
What you need: Access to a bank or credit union, currency
Exchange rates and fees can make or break currency conversion. Obviously, the main goal is to save as much money as possible and exchange currency as evenly as you can, without fees and surcharges eating into your cash.
Don’t exchange cash at the airport. Airport exchanges are more expensive than ordering the money ahead of time from your bank or credit union, and the exchange rate at an airport is between 7% and 15% worse than the one at a bank. Airports often charge $5-$15 in fees to exchange money. Go to a bank or credit union, either before or after the flight, but don’t exchange in the airport.
122. It’s a smart idea to carry a decoy wallet
Pros: Fools thieves, keeps real money safe and out of sight
What you need: Decoy wallet, money belt
Pickpocketing is a problem everywhere. Though some countries or cities are worse than others when it comes to thievery, you always have to keep your head on a swivel while traveling. If you don’t, you might end up getting mugged and losing all your cash, which will put a serious dent in your vacation.
Carry a decoy wallet to fool thieves. You can buy these wallets for $10 on Amazon, and they will make thieves think that they’ve gotten the last laugh. Meanwhile, you should strap your regular, real wallet with your money and cards in it, under your clothes with a money belt (also available on Amazon for $15-$20).
123. While you’re waiting to board, create a shared album for your trip
Pros: Gets as many photos out of a vacation as possible
What you need: Shared album on phone, computer, tablet, etc.
When you’re done with vacation, you have your memories to look back on. This is even better if you have photos to back up the memories. Though sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook often act as social media photo albums, it always helps to have the originals on your phone.
When you’re waiting to board the plane, take that time to create a shared album. This album can be shared with whoever you’re traveling with. If you have an iPhone, you can share it with up to 100 people. Subscribers can upload, view, like, and comment on photos and videos in the album, making your vacation a collaboration without the cost of printing multiple copies.
124. Hire a passport expediting service if you need to travel in a pinch
Pros: Expedites passports quickly
What you need: FedEx, Sharp Link, State Department, etc. assistance, money to pay the expedite fee
It’s not uncommon to need a passport fast. Maybe there was an emergency, or you suddenly realized you missed a deadline for your passport. Worry not, as you can expedite a passport quickly. You can get one in twenty-four hours at FedEx. You can get one in three or five days from Sharp Link.
The State Department takes the longest time to expedite a passport, with time ranging from eight days to three weeks. It’s not the best option if you can’t fit into that timeline. Note that there are expedition fees for these fast passports, usually ranging from $50-$100.
125. Don’t throw out your boarding pass right after using it
Pros: Keeps your information safe and secure
What you need: Shredder (optional)
In addition to being good scrapbooking material to remember your trip by, there’s another reason you shouldn’t throw out your boarding pass: security. Your boarding pass might not look like much, but it actually contains a ton of information about you.
Your full account number, name, and more are all on there, and hackers could access your airline accounts through the pass. They could book flights on your dime, steal mileage points, and wreak all sorts of havoc. If you simply don’t want your boarding pass anymore, make sure you shred it very thoroughly, making sure all the information is destroyed.
126. Utilize sunglass cases for packing
Pros: Protects delicate items, doesn’t take up much space
What you need: Sunglass case
When you hear “sunglass case,” you might assume that you can only use it for your shades. Luckily, there are a lot of other options when you’re packing. Sunglasses cases are larger than regular glasses cases, but they’re still durable and made from a hard-enough material that can protect your lenses from getting smashed.
So, if you have delicate items that you don’t want to be ruined, such as contact lens cases, jewelry, glass figurines, or whatever else, pack them in a sunglasses case. If you’re planning to buy souvenirs, this could be a good option to ensure they’re transported back in one piece.
127. Drink a lot of water on the plane
Pros: Fends off altitude sickness, curbs dehydration
What you need: Bottled water
Altitude sickness is usually pretty mild, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be uncomfortable. Symptoms include headache, nausea, shortness of breath, and more. It’s most commonly seen with mountain climbers and hikers, but flying on a plane can cause some variation of it.
To fend off both altitude sickness and dehydration, drink a lot of water. We’re not talking gallons—too much water can dilute the sodium in your bloodstream, leaving you sicker. Drinking a bottle or two should be fine on the plane, though don’t drink the water from the plane’s bathroom. Studies from the EPA showed that 12% of aircraft water contained human feces. Bring bottled water instead.
128. Pack heavy items near the wheels of the suitcase
Pros: Prevents the suitcase from tipping over or becoming top heavy
What you need: Heavy items you’re packing
Consumer Reports gave their best packing tips for a “perfectly packed” suitcase. One tip was to put heavier items in your suitcase near the base by the wheels. This prevents the suitcase from tipping over, grounding it, and weighing it down.
If the items are extremely heavy (i.e. not just a pair of shoes or a hefty book), you should actually pack those in the middle, keeping something soft and sturdy at the bottom, wheels-end of the suitcase. This middle-packing keeps your suitcase from becoming drawn to one side or top-heavy when it’s being tossed around the baggage carousel.
129. You can bring empty mugs with tea bags on the plane
Pros: You can drink your own tea at the airport, saves money on buying drinks (hot water is usually free)
What you need: Travel mug, tea bag(s)
The TSA says it themselves. You can take empty mugs through the checkpoint with the intent of filling them afterward, and you can place tea bags in those mugs, too. Tea and mugs aren’t on the list of banned items, though you should make sure they’re secure to prevent the mug from cracking or the bag from ripping.
Ceramic mugs are fine, though we’d advise sticking to a travel mug, as ceramics are breakable and might not make it through security. If you’re drinking tea, consider ginger, chamomile, honey lemon, or peppermint. All of those are good at treating nausea, a common ailment on planes.
130. Don’t pack soap
Pros: It’s easy to find when you get to your destination
What you need: Soap case (optional, if you have to pack it)
There aren’t any restrictions on bars of solid soap in your check-on, though you won’t be able to bring liquid or gel soap unless it fits the size requirement from the TSA. Bar soap can be fragile, so you might not want to pack it at all. It has a tendency to break or snap, which means you’ll arrive at your destination soap-less.
If you can’t stand to travel without your preferred soap, then make sure you buy a soap holder. These cases are usually available at drug stores, Walmart, or Target, and they encase the soap, preventing it from breaking.
131. Wipe down your tray table
Pros: Prevents you from getting sick from the “dirties place” on the airplane
What you need: Wet wipes or cleaning solution under 3.4 ounces
Some of the most germ-infested spots are the armrests, headrests, and tray table of the airplane. According to Shamir Patel, a UK pharmacist who is also the director of Chemist-4-U, these trays are “the dirtiest place” on the plane, with “eight times more bacteria” than the flush button on the toilet.
In 2018, a Today Show correspondent, Jeff Rossen, swiped an airplane tray table for research. He found that the tray was positive for Pseudomonas, a bacteria that can cause infections in open wounds. Moral of the story? You’re allowed to bring wet wipes through security, so bring them to wipe down the tray table of the plane. You never know, you could save yourself from losing money from taking time off work.
132. When Flying With Pets, Consult Vet For Medicine Beforehand
Pros: Having anti-anxiety medication can help a pet sleep
What you need: Veterinarian
Pets tend to hate travel even more than we do. When thinking about it from their perspective it makes sense–all of the loud noises, crowds, cramped spaces, and new smells. While there’s not much you can do to ease their anxiety, sometimes it’s worth a trip to the vet beforehand.
Aside from making sure their carrier is comfortable, and paying extra so that they can fly in-cabin with you, it’s worth it to have some anti-anxiety medication on-hand. This way, if the pet starts making noise or getting claustrophobic in its cage, you can buy a few more hours of calm.
133. Keep the air on – it blows germs away
Pros: Creates an invisible air barrier, keeps airborne microorganisms and viruses at bay
What you need: Airplane fan
When you sit in your seat on the plane and look up, you’ll likely see a tiny fan. You can turn the fan on or off for a jet of cool air. It can get warm on the plane, especially when you’re sitting on the tarmac in the summer, and the fan is often a lifesaver.
Not only does the fan keep you cool, it can also keep you from getting sick. According to Business Insider, the air from the vent creates an invisible barrier around you, blowing away airborne viruses and microorganisms that might otherwise have been lingering in the surrounding air.
134. Set your watch to the local time to avoid jet lag
Pros: Gets you somewhat used to the time change, prepares you for a new time zone
What you need: Watch/phone to change the time
Adjusting to a new time zone and avoiding jet lag are two things that travelers should know, especially if they travel frequently. One way to help deal with jet lag is to get used to your new time zone the day or two before you travel. Set your watch to the correct time of the new zone, and work your schedule around it (if possible).
Even if you can’t adjust to it at home, setting your watch to that time zone will at least get you prepared for the change. When you get to the new location, stick to your schedule and avoid sleeping during the daytime when you’re there, no matter how hard it is. At night, try melatonin for sleep.
135. Use a hardshell case to protect your laptop
Pros: Gives your laptop extra security
What you need: Hardshell laptop case
Whether you’re taking your laptop in your carry-on or your checked bag, there is always going to be rough handling. Going through the security scanner can be rough, and the last thing you want is for your laptop to get ruined. With everyone working from home these days, the destruction of a laptop could be downright disastrous.
Purchase a hardshell case for your laptop. These cases are made from a sturdy material that can withstand the bumps and bruises of traveling. Measure your laptop’s dimensions before purchasing to make sure the one you buy fits. On Amazon, they cost between $15 and $30, on average.
136. Bring your own blanket with you
Pros: Keeps you warm on a chilly plane, TSA allows it
What you need: Blanket
You can bring a blanket through TSA, and you might want to. Planes can get cold. Reader’s Digest provided an answer for why it’s so cold on airplanes. Apparently, the body tissue receives less oxygen. High cabin pressure, along with warm temperatures, combine to cause quite a chill.
Airlines also keep the temperature lower because they know everyone’s body is different. They want to err on the side of cooler—after all, it’s easier to layer up or bring a blanket than it is to cool down. Bring your own blanket on the plane if you’re prone to getting cold. That way, you can cuddle up and sleep through your flight.
137. Carry a spare outfit with you
Pros: You’ll have fresh clothes even if your luggage is delayed
What you need: Change of clothes
When you look at lost luggage statistics, the numbers are a bit reassuring, though not if you’re one of the few people whose luggage gets lost. According to Forbes, U.S. airlines lost two bags out of every 1,000. For a bag to officially be lost, it has to be misplaced for over three weeks.
Just because your luggage isn’t lost doesn’t mean it can’t be delayed. If you’re one of the unlucky people to whom that happens, you’re going to want a spare change of clothes. Pack one in your carry-on, along with other essentials. That way, if your luggage goes missing, you still have fresh clothes on hand.
138. Frozen liquids are allowed through security
Pros: Lets you bring otherwise non-compliant liquids through TSA
What you need: Completely frozen liquid
Though it’s a well-known rule that the TSA doesn’t allow you to bring drinks of over 3.4 ounces, if the drink is frozen solid and is completely iced-over, you can bring it through the screener. If there is any slush, melting, or liquid, even at the bottom of the container, the TSA will probably toss it out if it doesn’t follow the 3-1-1 rule.
You can bring ice packs through TSA as well, though, once again, they have to be frozen. If you can manage it, great, but it’s hard to keep ice from melting, especially if you’re waiting in the security line for a long time.
139. Use lightweight luggage
Pros: Lets you pack more stuff in the suitcase because the suitcase itself is lightweight
What you need: Lightweight luggage
One possible source of overweight baggage is the suitcase itself. Hard-shell suitcases, as well as suitcases made for heavy travel, are often weighty themselves. If you’re going to be traveling far or have a lot of layovers, this type of sturdy suitcase might work well for you. After all, you need a suitcase that can withstand the lumps and bumps of traveling.
However, if that scenario doesn’t apply to you, consider purchasing lightweight luggage. These thinner suitcases weigh less (and they’re less expensive, too). You can pack more stuff into the suitcase because it’s lighter-weight. On average, these lightweight suitcases cost $100-$200.
140. If you get stuck with a middle seat, go to ExpertFlyer.com to set up a seat alert
Pros: Lets you know when you can upgrade and switch to a better seat
What you need: ExpertFlyer.com
No one wants to get stuck in the middle seat. Though it’s marginally less terrible if you’re traveling with family and know the people next to you, it’s worse if you’re sandwiched between two strangers you don’t know.
If you find that you’re stuck with a middle seat, go to the website ExpertFlyer.com and set up a “Seat Alert.” Find your flight on the website, and set up a notification system. ExpertFlyer.com -will tell you if someone cancels, opening up a better window or aisle seat. When the alert arrives, contact the airline to request they switch your seat to the better one.
141. Avoid carbonated drinks on the airplane
Pros: Doesn’t exacerbate bloating, gas, or nausea, flight attendants will be grateful
What you need: Water or juice instead of soda
Water and juice are the best beverages for flying, not carbonated soda. Though it can be refreshing to take a bubbly sip of Coke or Sprite, the carbonation can actually cause more problems than it helps. According to Today, carbonated beverages can increase intestinal gas.
Intestinal gas is already expanded up to 30% because of a decrease in barometric pressure. This can lead to bloating and nausea that is worsened by carbonated beverages. Also, according to Today, flight attendants hate when you order Diet Coke because, due to the cabin pressurization, the beverage constantly foams up when they try to pour it.
142. Bring a comfy coat with lots of pockets
Pros: Will warm you up, can carry your stuff in the pockets
What you need: Coat with pockets
As aforementioned, things can get pretty chilly on the plane for a variety of reasons. If you’re one of the many people who get cold on an airplane, bringing a blanket is one option. Another option is to bring a comfy coat with a lot of pockets.
If you have enough pockets, you might not even have to bring a carry-on, only a checked bag. You’ll have to dismantle your coat and put it through the security scanner, but it’ll be one less thing to carry onto the airplane. Not to mention, you’ll be way warmer with it.
143. Use Maps.Me for Wi-Fi free searching
Pros: Lets you download offline maps, gives you walking directions without WiFi
What you need: Maps.me
Maps.me is an app for iOS, Android, and Blackberry. It provides offline maps through OpenStreetMap data. The Maps.me software program lets you download maps and store them on your device. You need mobile data to access the maps, but not WiFi.
This is a lifesaver for traveling, especially if you’re in an area with no WiFi. Maps.me is often preferred by hikers and campers who are traveling far from areas that have Internet. The app has been downloaded more than 100 million times, and over one million people worldwide have rated it. Even offline, you can get walking directions for your downloaded maps.
144. Use Spotify Premium while offline
Pros: Lets you listen to music, don’t have to get in-flight WiFi
What you need: Spotify Premium account
When you’re traveling on an airplane, one of the most common ways to kick back and relax is to zone out and listen to music. You might not want to read if you get motion sickness, and pulling out your laptop is somewhat of a hassle, but music is an easy way to pass the time.
If you have Spotify Premium, you can listen to music offline, without having to pay for in-flight WiFi (which is usually terrible anyway). To listen offline, tap home, then settings, then playback. Switch “offline” on. You can also download your own playlists before getting on the flight so that you can listen to them online. Just toggle the “Download” switch at the top of the playlist.
145. Use a luggage shipping service
Pros: Avoids hassle and cost of bag check at the airport, might even save you money in the long run
What you need: A luggage shipping service (listed below)
This is a good option for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of getting their bags checked. If you have more than one bag and you know the airline will charge you extra, consider using a luggage shipping service to send your bags to their destination. This works especially well for people who are going to be gone for a few weeks, as it’ll pay off to have it shipped.
Just make sure there is someone to receive the luggage. According to TripSavvy, the best luggage shipping services are Luggage Forward, LugLess, Luggage to Ship, Send My Bag, DUFL, Bags, and Luggage Free.
146. The quietest place in the airport is the chapel
Pros: Gives a quiet place for reflection, lets you take a break
What you need: Nothing
In the 1950s and 1960s, Catholic religious leaders wanted to make sure that their parishioners, no matter their profession, could attend mass. And so, the first airport chapels were born. At the time, they were intended for the use of staff, as opposed to passengers. Now, anyone of any faith denomination can use the chapels.
These chapels are now located in most American airports. If you’re looking for a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of traveling, stop in one of the chapels for a breather. Just make sure you don’t bring kids, loud music, or anything that would ruin the peaceful feel of the place.
147. Avoid ice cubes on the plane, they come from an unclean water tank
Pros: You won’t get sick from the dirty ice
What you need: Nothing
Eat This Not That called ice the “worst thing” you can get on an airplane. Insider said to “never order” it on a plane. So, why is the ice so bad? The reason why is simple: germs. Ice on an airplane comes from an unclean water tank. It is riddled with bacteria.
Ice on the plane is frozen from the plane’s tap water reserve, which is kept in tanks. The tanks breed bacteria, leading to contamination. A study in the 2017 edition of Annals of Microbiology found that there were fifty-two strains of bacteria in sixty samples of ice cubes, and the majority of these strains contained pathogens (organisms that produce disease). Bottom line, order drinks with no ice.
148. Use a Seat Cushion
Pros: Helps improve blood flow, can reduce back pain
What you need: Seat cushion
Vox.com said that the reason airplane seats are so uncomfortable is that they’re not “well-designed” to fit the human body. Economy seats are supposed to be “one-size-fits-all,” and the result is that, instead of fitting everyone well, they fit everyone equally badly. Airplane seats aren’t exactly a king’s throne, but you can make the travel a little better by using a seat cushion.
You’re allowed to bring these cushions through TSA. They cost $20-$40 on average, and they’re able to fit the dimensions of the seat pretty well, with no spillage. Cushioning your seat will help improve blood flow, aiding in preventing back pain.
149. Bring a Massage Ball
Pros: Keeps back and neck pain at bay, makes flying more bearable
What you need: Massage ball
Long periods of immobility, carrying heavy luggage, stress, and the terrible airplane seats all can lead to back and neck pain and stiffness. Along the same lines of bringing a seat cushion onto the airplane, consider bringing a travel-size massage ball.
You can bring them through TSA, even if they’re electric, and the deep tissue massagers ($40-$70) tend to do the trick, as far as preventing and treating back pain goes. CN Traveler also advises keeping medications on hand, staying on top of your workout routine, and staying hydrated as potential ways to keep back and neck pain at bay while you travel.
150. Bring a toothbrush and moisturizer for long flights
Pros: Lets you freshen up and not feel gross on a long flight
What you need: Moisturizer and toothpaste under 3.4 ounces, quart-size plastic bag
Long flights can take it out of you. The air on a plane is super dry, and your mouth can get the icky, morning-breath feeling if you’ve been traveling for a while. If you want to freshen up on a long flight, bring moisturizer and a toothbrush on your carry-on.
Of course, you’ll have to abide by the TSA’s rules on liquid/gel items. Keep the moisturizer and toothpaste to 3.4 ounces, storing it in a quart-sized, clear plastic bag. You’re allowed to bring a quart bag through the checkpoint, but all of the liquid and gel items in it cannot be over 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces).
151. Get Paid Compensation For Being Bumped From A Flight
Pros: Gets you a hefty amount of compensation
What you need: Confidence and knowledge
Getting to the airport just to find that your flight has been delayed or canceled is a special type of annoying. However, it could work in your favor. Some passengers just take what the airline says as gospel, but according to one TikTok lawyer, you’re entitled to more than just a free meal on your replacement flight.
Depending on how long you have to wait, you could be compensated four times the amount you paid. There are some stipulations to it of course, but it’s not something that airlines always advertise. It’s worth looking into before you head to the airport next!
152. Secure your luggage with a crush-proof lock
Pros: Keeps your bag from opening if there is rough handling
What you need: Crush-proof lock
As we’ve mentioned before, things can get a little hectic when it comes to luggage. Part of the airport process always involves a little wear and tear on your luggage, though usually, hopefully, nothing too extreme. One way to secure your luggage is with a lock that is impervious to being crushed.
Being thrown on the belt and having other suitcases bang into it won’t break this lock, and it is an excellent way to ensure that your luggage stays closed and secure. The last thing you want is for the whole airport to get an inside look into your suitcase.
153. Sneak extra items into a shopping bag
Pros: Avoid paying the carry-on fee for Spirit and Frontier Airlines
What you need: Shopping bag or pillowcase
We have TikTok to thank for this hack, as one woman revealed how she was able to sneak stuff (all legal, of course) onto the plane without having an extra fee. If you’re trying to avoid the Frontier and Spirit Airlines carry-on charge and have too many personal items to fit in your suitcase, carry them in a shopping bag.
You can also use a pillowcase, as the crew will assume that you’re going to use it as a sleeping aid. The pillow flies free, as do any duty-free purchases you make. While we’re not saying you should circumvent airline rules to get out of paying a fee, the information on how to do so is out there.
154. Invest in a unique suitcase so you never miss yours
Pros: Won’t lose your suitcase in the shuffle because it’ll be easy to identify
What you need: Brightly-colored or uniquely-patterned suitcase
We’ve all been there before. You’re standing at the luggage belt squinting at every dark-colored suitcase to see if it’s your own. You might even accidentally pick up the wrong suitcase, check, ad then sheepishly put it back. While luggage tags can help this problem, sometimes they get obscured in the shuffle.
If you’re sick of not being able to tell which suitcase is your own, invest in a unique one. You don’t have to shell out on anything customized, just buy a piece of luggage that has a bright color or unique pattern. For example LONG VACATION on Amazon has a three-piece luggage set in a variety of bright colors and patterns for just $159.99.
155. Avoid a heavy meal when in the air
Pros: Won’t have stomach issues
What you need: Nothing
If you’re flying on a long flight and get a complementary meal from the airline for your troubles, avoid eating anything too heavy. The last thing you want is a stomach full of dense foods that will begin to gurgle upon takeoff. This tip goes double if you are prone to motion sickness, as a full stomach is a notoriously exacerbator for that illness.
Before the flight, there are some foods you should avoid too. Salty or processed meals, caffeine, alcohol, cruciferous vegetables, and beans can all wreak havoc on your body both when you fly and normally. Be mindful of what you eat and drink during the flying process.
156. Use the app Packpoint to help create a packing list
Pros: Intelligent packing app helps you built an inclusive packing list
What you need: PackPoint app, smartphone
Cost: $2.99 for Premium version of the app*
Many people have issues with packing. Some just throw everything in the suitcase and hope they didn’t forget anything. If you’re someone who seems to always forget something when you go on vacation, give PackPoint a try. This intelligent packing app helps you build a packing list.
It will tell you what to bring based on the weather at your destination, length of travel, and activities you have planned during the trip. The app is hassle-free to download and you don’t have to pay a dime. However, should you decide to pay for the Premium version, it’s only $2.99. On the Google Play store, PackPoint has a 4.6/5-star rating.
157. Clear cookies on your internet when booking a flight ticket
Pros: Might get you a cheaper flight ticket
What you need: Nothing
It has been a longstanding rumor that clearing your cookies before you order airline tickets will help you attain a lower price. Airlines, of course, deny this, saying that lower prices come from inventory updates or website glitches. Either way, if you want to give it a shot, it is easy to clear your cookies.
Before you book your flight ticket or even search for it, click the menu button of the toolbar on your browser. Click “Settings,” then there should be some “Advanced” option. Click that and find the “Privacy” or “Content Settings” section. When you see “Cookies,” press “Delete Cookies.”
158. Use a shower cap to place your shoes in and avoid a mess
Pros: Will keep your dirty shoes from touching your clothes in your suitcase
What you need: Plastic, disposable shower caps
Cost: $5 for a 30-pack of Auban shower caps*
Sometimes, it can be a little tricky to pack shoes. Sure, your designer heels aren’t exactly going to be covered in dirt, but what about a pair of muddy hiking boots? Or some beat-up old running shoes? If you’re not exactly keen on the idea of shoes touching your clothes, you can cover them with a shower cap.
Just wind the cap around the soles, and that will keep them from touching the rest of your luggage. For extra security, you can even place the cap-covered shoes into a plastic shopping bag. These caps are cheap. On Amazon, you can find a pack of 30 for $5 (Auban brand).
159. Wear shoes you can easily slip off at security
Pros: Gets you through the security line as quickly as possible
What you need: Slip-off shoes
Cost: $20-$200 (depends on footwear)*
The reason that TSA asks you to remove your shoes is that the officers want to be able to identify anything suspicious inside the shoe. When you’re in the security line, the last thing you want is to be fumbling with an intricate set of laces or ties. It’s fastest to wear slip-on shoes or something as equally simple that can be removed for screening quickly.
Zappos even has some recommendations for “no precheck, no problem” footwear. TOMS Classics, Vans Classic Slip-Ons, UGG Classic, Birkenstock Boston, and Skechers Go Walk are just some pairs that will have you through the security line as quickly and efficiently as possible.
160. Bring photos of all your important ID info
Pros: You’ll still be able to fly, even if you lose the physical version
What you need: Photos of your driver’s license, passport, etc.
Anyone who has ever forgotten their ID at the airport knows what a nightmare it is. It is not something you want to have to happen. At the very best, you’ll have a significant delay in the security line. At worst, you get sent home and cannot go on your trip.
Just to be safe, archive or copy all of your identification information that you may need, including your driver’s license, passport, and any other important info necessary to get on the plane. If you accidentally lose your ID, don’t worry—TSA might require you to go through extra screening, but having a photo of the ID goes a long way.
161. Waterproof your bag with a bin liner
Pros: Avoids your bag getting soaked if there is an accident
What you need: Trash can liners
Cost: $5-$10 per box*
You have hundreds of trash can liners around the house, and they’re cheap even if you have to buy them. These bin liners are sturdy enough to hold whatever gross garbage you put in them, and they are waterproof to boot. They have uses outside the house, too. If you want to waterproof your bag, use a trash can liner.
Maybe it is going to rain a lot where you’re going or you’re packing an airport-bought water bottle in your bag. Either way, waterproofing will help you avoid any unsightly messed that could put a wet damper on your vacation.
162. Keep a small bottle of hand soap with you
Pros: Will never run out of soap, even if the bathrooms are out
What you need: TSA-approved hand soap bottle
Especially in today’s day and age, it is important to keep hand soap and sanitizer with you wherever you go. Hand sanitizer is easy to pick up anywhere, but hand soap isn’t as widely available. Sometimes, airport and airplane bathrooms run out of hand soap, and they may not be refilled right away. That will leave you in a bind if you’re trying to wash your hands.
As an alternative to hand sanitizer, you can bring a tiny, TSA-compliant container of hand soap with you to the airport. You might need to fill a small jar with it from home, as it’s not as easy to find mini-hand-soaps the way it is hand sanitizer and other mini-toiletries.
163. Familiarize yourself with your layover airport
Pros: It’s better than sitting there bored for your entire layover
What you need: Nothing
Layovers are quite common, as it is not always a sure bet that you’ll get a one-way flight. Sometimes, layovers can be as long as a day (or a night and a day, though that is rarer). Though it might be your first choice to spend your layover sulking and wishing you didn’t have a layover, you could take this opportunity to explore the layover airport.
The airport might have restaurants and shops that you don’t see in your hometown every day. Turn a layover into an enjoyable experience by getting out and stretching your legs around the airport. It beats just sitting there bored.
164. Stuff your jacket in an empty pillowcase
Pros: Lets you save space while bringing a comfy sleep accessory with you
What you need: Empty pillowcase
Cost: $5-$15 per case*
A lot of us try to sleep on planes. After all, there’s not much else to do. Having a nap lets you avoid having to talk to your fellow passengers or run out the battery on your phone or laptop. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly easy to fit a pillow into your carry-on suitcase.
One clever hack for getting a pillow onto the plane involves assembling it when you’re in the air. Bring an empty pillowcase from home in your carry-on bag. When you’re on the plane, pull it out and stuff your jacket into it, creating a comfy DIY pillow. Though it won’t be a five-star sleep accessory, it will probably be comfortable enough to let you get some shut-eye.
165. Use a travel agent for special trips and multi-city itineraries
Pros: Saves you time and stress, might get you better deals
What you need: Travel agent
Cost: $50-$500 average fee*
While you can plan the trip yourself if you have the time and energy, it’s not always an easy feat to do so. You might find that you’re anxious about forgetting something. At worst, you might neglect to book and important piece of an itinerary, thus throwing a monkey wrench into your vacation plans.
Call in the experts if you’re taking a special trip and/or a vacation with a multi-city itinerary. The travel agent can use their connections to get you good deals and special offers, and they will take care of the details, saving you time and stress. All you’ll have to do, in addition to paying the agent’s fees, is show up.
166. Plan trips during “shoulder season” to take advantage of better deals
Pros: Better prices, fewer people
What you need: Nothing
Cost: Usually cheaper
Shoulder season is just another term for off-season or off-peak-season. Shoulder season usually takes place from March to May and September to November, but that all depends on when you’re going. Traveling during shoulder season has a lot of benefits for savvy travelers.
You get better pricing, as hotels and restaurants often lower prices as a way to attract the few tourists there are during the off-season. You also have better access to tourist attractions, as there are fewer people. Real Simple says that shoulder season provides for an “optimal travel experience” with greater value than attempting to book during the busier times of the year.
167. Pack items you’ll need in easy reach
Pros: Convenience and you’ll be able to keep a close on your important must-haves
What you need: Meds, money, underwear, and whatever else you deem vital
When you get to your hotel after a long day or night of traveling, you might not want to unpack your suitcase and go through the entire process right away. That is why you should pack items that you will need the first night in easy reach, including your toothbrush, toothpaste, other toiletries, and something to wear.
This is also true for your carry-on at the airport. Medication, money, cards, spare underwear, and more should be in easy reach, as they are some of the most important things you’ll bring with you. Packing like this makes things more convenient for you, and it also helps you keep a close eye on the vitals.
168. Use a sheet mask to keep your skin moisturized
Pros: Can fend off “airplane skin”
What you need: Sheet mask
Cost: $10-$20 per mask*
Flying can really wreak havoc on your skin, so much so that there is even a term for it: “airplane skin.” Airplanes are notorious for dehydrating your skin. This dermis dehydration then causes your skin to overproduce oil, which can even exacerbate acne. It doesn’t matter your skin type; the low 20% humidity levels in the cabin will take their toll.
How bad a toll they take depends on what counteraction you implement. Sheet masks are a great way to easily hydrate your skin. When you get off the plane, as soon as you can, pop one on. You can find these masks at any beauty supply store, drugstore, or Target.
169. Check if the flight is full before paying for an upgrade
Pros: Saves you time to check before trying to upgrade
What you need: A phone
Cost: $0* (Free to ask)
You can easily check how full a flight is. This information isn’t hidden. All you have to do is pick up the phone, call the airline, and ask (an easy feat if you’re someone who likes to talk on the phone). If the business class on your flight is full, you are out of luck.
You won’t be able to upgrade if the business class is packed. However, if the airline tells you there are business class seats available, you can upgrade. If BC is full, always check again closer to your flight date to see if you can’t eke out a last-minute upgrade.
170. Use Foursquare for WiFi
Pros: Might help you get the WiFi password to a variety of different locales
What you need: Foursquare app
Foursquare has been around for quite some time. It was founded in 2009 in New York City, and it is one of the biggest indie location data platforms in the world. There are fifty million users on the platform, all of whom use Foursquare to find the best places to eat, stay, visit, and tour.
The travel app is also good for another thing: WiFi. No, Foursquare isn’t its own WiFi provider. But, the WiFi password for tons of locations is usually published in the comments on the site. On the Foursquare City Guide, there is even a “Wi-Fi” passwords article by Kristof Dewilde, which gives the WiFi passwords to a number of domestic and international locations. The list is still updating, but Foursquare may be able to help you if you’re scrounging for some free Internet.
171. Wear a travel outfit that looks chic but is also comfortable
Pros: You won’t be miserable the whole flight
What you need: Nothing
Cost: Depends on the outfit
This one mostly applies to people who care what they look like when they go to the airport. If that’s not you, then this hack might not be for you. There is a subset of airline passengers that is devoted to looking chic at the airline. While that is admirable and not representative of most of us, be wary of wearing a complicated, fancy outfit to the airport.
You want to look cute, but you also want to be comfortable. Remember, you’re going on an airplane where you’re going to sit for at least an hour or two, if not longer. Dress cute, sure, but think ahead. Don’t wear anything that will leave you miserable the whole time on the plane.
172. Bring an oversized scarf that doubles as a blanket on the plane
Pros: You’ll have a cute accessory and also be warm
What you need: Scarf-blanket
Oyster gave a list of some of the best travel scarves to have. These scarves not only are a cute accessory, they also double as an airplane blanket. The website recommended the Halogen Cashmere Scarf, Free People Whisper Fringe Blanket Scarf, Free People Valley Plaid Scarf, and the Burberry Giant Check Print Scarf.
If you’re not into spending a lot of cash on a blanket scarf, there are cheaper versions on Amazon. The Goodthreads Fringe Ruanna costs $28 on the website, and it is the perfect accessory to wrap around you to keep warm on a chilly flight (and it seems as if all flights are a little cold).
173. Invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones
Pros: Will be able to hear your media better through the headphones
What you need: Noise-canceling headphones
There are a lot of noises on an airplane. Sure, it might not be as loud as a rock concert, but it can still be hard to hear your own music or television show through your headphones. If you want a truly great sound experience, invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. You can find earbuds like this for cheap on Amazon for $10-$30.
Or, you can pay a little more money for high-end headphones. TechRadar gave their “Best Noise Canceling Headphones of 2022” recommendations, and the top three were the Sony WH-1000XM4 ($300), Sony WH-1000XM3 ($245), and the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 ($379).
174. Download the Revolut app
Pros: Lets you manage, transfer, and withdraw money overseas
What you need: Revolut account
Cost: $0-$10 per month for an account, depending on account type*
Another app recommendation we have is Revolut. Revolut lets you manage your money, and it lets people transfer money from one account to another, both domestically and internationally. Revolut has a lot of verification checks and steps to make sure your money is secure when you pay for something overseas.
There are eight million people using this banking app, and the list just keeps growing. If you’re planning to travel abroad or across the country, it might be wise to download this app, as its transfers sometimes cost less than regular banks. You can even get zero-fee, unlimited withdrawals at all in-network Revolut ATMs, of which there are 55,000 around the world.
175. Don’t buy souvenirs at the airport
Pros: Won’t be charged a ridiculous markup
What you need: Nothing
Cost: Will save you money
In case you haven’t noticed, everything at the airport is super-expensive. According to Reader’s Digest’s Peter Yang, a longtime business traveler, the markup on souvenirs is especially “astronomical.” Business owners at the airport have to charge high prices in order to generate profit and afford their rent, as they usually lease the space to vend. Even the Starbucks at airports are often more expensive.
Buy souvenirs while you’re on vacation. If you’re vacationing at the beach, stop in a roadside souvenir shop. You’re nearly guaranteed to pay less for odds and ends from local souvenir stops than from the airport.
176. Use the Been app to track where you’ve traveled
Pros: Generates A List of Visited Locations
What you need: Download ‘Been’
Have you made globetrotting a habit of yours in recent years but have never really kept a list of all the cities in all the countries you’ve visited? The good news is, as long as you’ve taken some pictures and had your location settings on during that time (in order to tag the cities you were in), there’s an app that will organize everything for you.
Using the information saved on your phone, Been automatically generates a list of every tagged location in chronological order. You can download the Been app onto you Apple or Android phones through the App Store or Google Play.
177. Pack based on specific outfits, rather than bringing all your favorite separates
Pros: More Luggage Space
What you need: Restraint
Packing for a trip is like pulling teeth for some people. It’s simply agonizing. At first, they don’t know what to pack. Then, they pack far too much. One of the issues most over-packers tend to run into is that they bring all their favorite articles of clothing along but only wear half of them.
As a general rule of thumb, one should bring the clothes they’ll need for the days they’ll be away and one extra set. Think of how many more souvenirs you could bring home if your bags weren’t stuffed to the brim with clothing from home.
178. Plan a fun layover in a new city
Pros: You Get To See New Places
What you need: A Sense Of Adventure
Layovers have gotten a bad rap over the years due to the time some travelers have been “stuck” in destinations that aren’t their final ones. It’s time to start making the most of the journey and stop dwelling on how long it will take to get from point A to point B.
If you have to make a pit stop anyway, plan ahead and find a flight with a layover in a place you’ve never been. You’d be amazed what you can see in just 14 hours in London or Rome.
179. Ask the person sitting behind you before reclining your seat
Pros: It’s The Right Thing To Do
What you need: Manners
A non-stop flight from Los Angeles’s LAX to Sydney, Australia, lasts approximately fifteen hours (depending on the wind). There is a good chance passengers going to want to recline their seats to optimize what little comfort airplane seats possess at some point during that flight. If you’re one of these passengers, take a moment to think of the comfort of those behind you.
They might be eating, working, or perhaps using the back of the seat as a pillow. Manners are free and easy to operate, don’t be afraid to use them. A good rapport with seat neighbors can go a long way on a cross-country flight.
180. Wear layers to the airport – temperature fluctuates on the plane
Pros: Improves Personal Comfort
What you need: A Hoodie, Comfortable Pants
Preparing for air travel is a multi-step process that includes different steps for each traveler. Lost in the process for some people is the foresight to ready themselves for the various temperatures they will experience in the airport and, especially, while in the air.
Don’t get caught unprepared. Wear layers. You don’t need a jacket for a long flight; you need adaptable comfort. A hoodie can be easily removed or replaced depending on the in-flight temp. Another thing, if you’re flying on a red-eye, consider packing light PJs in your carry-on luggage — it makes movie night on United Airlines much cozier.
181. Try melatonin for long flights or major time differences
Pros: Helps With Jet Lag
What you need: A Prescription From Your Doctor
It’s not until someone travels through timezones that they are capable of understanding what it’s like to feel jet lag. Jet lag has been an issue that has plagued travelers for decades, and there is no way to eliminate it entirely. However, melatonin pills do help ease its effects of it.
An increase in melatonin causes a shift in the body’s circadian clock, which should help bring it closer to where it should be. Other benefits and the more likely cause of the clock being shifted is that it sends signals to the brain to sleep during different periods.
182. Bring extra lip balm
Pros: No Chapped Lips
What you need: Lip Balm
Of the many quirks and oddities about air travel that travelers focus on, the fact that their lips get chapped on the flight is not one of them. Not many people know (or realize) that much of the air’s moisture has disappeared due to the plane’s cabin being pressurized.
No one likes returning home from vacation with chapped lips, especially if they’ve gotten them from being on the plane. Keep lip balm with you on the flight for those moments when you feel your lips begin to crack. Better yet, pre-balm your lips as a precautionary defense against the inevitable dryness.
183. Consider taking a cab to and from the airport instead of paying for parking
Pros: Ridiculous Savings
What you need: The Number For A Cab Company
It’s always going to be more comfortable driving yourself to the airport, knowing when you return from your trip, your vehicle will be waiting for you to drive home. However, airport parking is anything but cheap. Just ask the folks from New York. It’s $42 per day to leave a car at JFK International Airport.
If you don’t have anyone who can give you a ride, reconsider leaving your car in the airport garage, and call an Uber the next time you need a ride to the airport. The savings will be huge, and your car will be safe at home waiting for your return.
184. Pay for checked luggage when you book your ticket, not at the airport
Pros: It’s Much More Expensive To Book At The Airport
What you need: Tick The Box The Asks If You’ll Be Checking Luggage
Planning ahead is one of the keys to a smooth, stress-free airport experience. Part of the planning includes booking flights correctly, but there’s more to scheduling a flight than selecting dates and destinations; one must also decide if they will be checking any bags.
A last-minute decision to check a bag at the airport can cost up to 60% more than pre-booking online. Flying Delta, Qantas, or Air Canada, and forgotten to book checked luggage? Most major airlines accept booking changes up to 24-48 hours before flight time, so pick up the phone and save before it’s too late.
185. Challenge yourself to bring one personal item and no additional carry-on bag
Pros: Less Luggage To Worry About
What you need: One Item You Like More Than The Others
The more personal items you take with you on a flight, the less likely it is you’ll reach a point of extreme boredom, especially on long-haul flights. As tempting as it is to fill every last pound of your carry-on allowance, it might actually be better to go the opposite route altogether.
Instead of bringing as much as possible, try bringing as little as possible. It will make going through the security checkpoint much easier, and you’ll have fewer things to be responsible for on the flight. Bring a laptop bag instead of a 22-pound piece of luggage. It’s more manageable and should have the capacity to carry everything you need for the flight.
186. Consider bringing earplugs
Pros: Less Noise
What you need: Earplugs
One can only hope their seat neighbors will be courteous and respectful individuals who do nothing to jeopardize the fragile eco-system consisting of the group of strangers seated in your section of the plane. As idealistic as that sounds, frequent air travelers know that would be like winning the lottery.
Block the sounds of the world around you from disturbing your quiet time with earplugs. While many airlines will provide earplugs free of charge, bringing your own will ensure the sound-blockers you use will be of the quality you desire. You can find earplugs at Walmart, Target, or your local pharmacy.
187. Search for and book your tickets using incognito mode
Pros: Lower Prices
What you need: To Know How To Turn Incognito Mode On
Booking a flight is one of many exciting moments one encounters while traveling. There’s just nothing quite like knowing you’ve officially booked tickets for a destination you’ve been dying to go to. Unless you’ve received the lowest price possible for the said ticket, of course.
Contrary to popular belief, searching for flight tickets daily will not get you cheaper tickets. In fact, thanks to your internet browser’s cookies tracking what you’ve been searching for, the prices will go up instead. Go to your browser’s settings and turn ‘Incognito Mode’ on or stay on top of clearing your cookies. That should stop the eye in the sky from hiking up prices on your future trips.
188. Buy shampoo and conditioner bars instead of packing liquids
Pros: Less Hassle and Less Mess
What you need: To Make A Trip To The Shop
Quite a few travelers like to bring their own soaps and conditioners when vacationing instead of using what the hotel provides or buying new products upon arrival. While there are financial benefits to bringing your own toiletries bottles, they tend to take up a lot of space and can potentially spill into your bag.
Prevent spillage and free up some luggage space by switching to shampoo and conditioner bars instead of packing liquids. If you must bring the liquids, make sure you check airport standards before packing any carry-on luggage and place all bottles in plastic bags to negate the effects of a potentially broken bottle.
189. If you don’t feel comfortable sitting in the emergency exit, ask the flight attendant to switch
Pros: Less Responsibility In The Case Of An Emergency
What you need: To Ask
Most travelers don’t know these seats exist, but those who do know envy the passengers assigned to them. However, these slightly more luxurious seats aren’t all fun and games. They are located next to the aircraft’s emergency exits, and those sitting there are responsible for opening the exit should the situation call for it.
Legroom is one thing, but this responsibility is too much for some people to handle. If you’re stressed about performing under pressure, ask the flight attendant to move where you’re seated. It won’t be a problem; they’d rather have someone confident taking care of the door.
190. Double-check before buying duty-free items that it’s actually a good deal
Pros: You’ll Save Money
What you need: Cross-check Item Prices
Duty-free stores are stocked with products directed at travelers looking for last-minute souvenirs or items they can’t find elsewhere. Alcohol and cigarettes are two products duty-free stores tend to have at discounted prices, but there are several other things that are the same price if not more expensive than outside the airport.
As tempting as it is to grab everything you see on sale, use Google to help find the regular prices of chocolates, perfume, clothing, or children’s toys before buying them duty-free. You just might save enough for the cab ride home from the airport.
191. Pack light and prepare to do laundry on your trip
Pros: Less To Carry, More Room For Souvenirs
What you need: Knowledge Of How To Do Laundry
There are a few options available for those tired of carrying heavy bags of luggage while on holiday. One of the more practical of which is to pack less clothing and do laundry at your destination. It’s less hassle to drag around and creates extra room for souvenirs as well.
Most travelers shy away from doing laundry on vacation, but there’s no reason to. There is bound to be a time when everyone is having a lazy day, and that is the perfect day for laundry. Toss a load in the washing machines and relax by the pool (or on the beach) for the duration of the cycle. Then, do the same when the clothes are in the dryer.
192. Wrap your cords carefully before packing to prevent wear and tear
Pros: Cords Will Last Longer
What you need: String
Be it a power cord, headphones, or USB cable, almost every form of entertainment one brings on vacation includes a cord of some kind. It might seem like they could all be packed together easily due to their flexible and wired nature. If they’re not organized sufficiently, you’ll find nothing but a clumpy mess of cords with frayed and severed wires when you arrive at your destination.
Wrap all the cords you won’t be needing on the plane individually and hold them together with a string bow. This hack isn’t just easy to do. It will save you tons of money as well.
193. Keep jewelry untangled in your luggage by threading necklaces through a straw
Pros: No Tangled Jewelry
What you need: Straws
Going out for a nice dinner while on holiday is a must for some vacationers. Dressing up for these dinners is a must, and it would be a crime not to accessorize accordingly. However, dinner-goers commonly find their jewelry in a tangled-up state upon reaching for their favorite necklace.
It sounds ridiculous, but to keep necklaces and bracelets from getting all tangled up, travelers have begun threading their valuables through drinking straws. The added bonus to the straw technique is that thieves don’t usually look for straws when thieving.
194. Bring a book or other analog form of entertainment in case your computer or tablet dies
Pros: Reduces Boredom
What you need: A Book
Electronics such as smartphones and handheld video game devices have a limited amount of battery life. When the battery reaches 0%, the device’s users are going to need something else to keep them busy. And it has been happening more often these days that travelers find themselves with hours to kill in the airport before their flight boards.
Although airports have power outlets for passengers to use, don’t rely on a power point for you to charge your devices when you need it. There are likely to be dozens of others waiting to charge their devices before you. Bring a good book or sudoku puzzle book to keep you busy during that time.
195. Get to know fellow travelers at the airport bar
Pros: Better Airport Experience
What you need: Gift of Gab
Those who have done a lot of traveling alone know the joys and freedoms that come along with it. However, there is also a lot of downtime in airports, and where better to spend that time than the airport bar? Sure, the drinks are expensive, but you’re sure to meet some interesting folks.
Instead of sitting at the end of the airport bar drinking alone, make conversation with some of your fellow travelers. Chances are, if they’re sitting at the bar alone as well, they wouldn’t mind a bit of chit-chat to help pass the time before they board their flight, and they might have a great story too.
196. Pack a travel journal to remember details of your trip
Pros: Keeps Track Of Memories
What you need: A Notebook, A Writing Utensil
People have been writing about their travels dating back to the times of the great author of Ancient Greece, Herodotus, and more recently, Jack Kerouac and Bill Bryson. A travel journal is a fantastic tool to help you keep track of where you’ve been and the highlights of each place, whether it be the people, the food, or the sunset over the harbor.
Many people who keep journals find adding entries to their travel journals therapeutic, but it’s more than that. Keeping a journal of your travels is a way of capturing the moments, and the emotions pictures and videos are unable to see.
197. Go double speed by walking on the moving sidewalks
Pros: Get Through The Airport Faster
What you need: N/A
One of the scenes that stands out for most people who have seen Home Alone 2 is when the McAllister family is running through the airport to catch their plane before it takes off. This is, of course, the scene in which Kevin gets separated from his family. The whole catastrophe might have been avoided had there been travelators in that airport.
Luckily, they’re in pretty much every airport these days. If you’re in a hurry, jump on the moving sidewalk and test out the new Nikes as you walk along at a double pace. Keep those feet moving, and you’ll get to the gate quicker.
198. Stay to the right on an escalator if you aren’t actively walking up
Pros: People Won’t Bump Into You As Often
What you need: Manners
When you drive down the street in America, you drive on the righthand side. If you’re out for a walk, you stroll down the right side of the sidewalk or trail. People also stay to the right when ascending or descending stairs. However, when it comes to escalators, all rules are off.
But it shouldn’t be that way. The proper thing to do when taking an escalator at the airport, or anywhere else for that matter, is to stand to the right side unless you’re in a hurry. If everyone plays by the rules, the left side should be free for you to walk up or down without bumping into anyone.
199. Check airport maps for elevators ahead of time if stairs are an issue for you
Pros: Less Confusion, Less Walking
What you need: To Check The Map At The Airport’s Entrance
As a result of its numerous check-in areas, airline desks, and otherwise maze-like attributes located on several levels, airports are not easy to navigate. They become exponentially more challenging to get around for people with physical disabilities.
Upon entering the airport, have a look for the closest building map. Most airports have them at each entrance. It will show you where the airport’s elevators are located and make an otherwise painful experience much more bearable. If mobility is an issue, you can also ask for assistance (in the form of a golf cart) to get you to your gate.
200. Bring a coin purse to carry local currency
Pros: You Won’t Get The Currencies Mixed Up
What you need: A Bag To Keep Coins In
When traveling through countries like Vietnam, where one American dollar is worth more than 23,000 Vietnamese dong, keeping the local currency separated will prevent you from making very costly mistakes. The 500 dong coin is the size of an American quarter. If you mix them up, you’ll be trading a quarter for about half of a cent.
A change purse or coin bag will fix that problem. It’s also a good idea to keep a separate wallet for local paper money. Whenever possible, leave your real wallet in the hotel room safe and only take the local stuff on excursions.
201. Be Polite To TSA/Airline Staff
Pros: You’ll get through the line faster, get what you want easier
What you need: Nothing
It’s unreal the number of unruly passenger videos that have shocked the internet. There could be an entire television show dedicated to airline passengers behaving badly, and the last thing you want to do is make that list. It would amaze you what a little politeness can get you.
TSA is not known, usually, for its friendliness, but that doesn’t mean that matching that energy will get you anywhere. Additionally, you should make sure you’re polite to airline staffers as well. Need an upgrade? Need to change your flight? A simple “please” and “thank you” go a long way, especially in an environment where a lot of people forget to be respectful.
202. Sort Out Your Dental Issues Beforehand
Pros: No intense pain while flying
What you need: Access to a dentist visit
Cost: $0-$100* (Depends on Insurance)
Depending on who you ask, some of the worst pain in the world is that of a toothache. It can seem as though the toothache is all you can think of. And, if you add itchy gums on top of that, your agony only intensifies. While flying in an airplane won’t make your dental issues substantively worse, the pain is likely to spike.
According to CMR Dental Care, cavities, gingivitis, and other conditions might cause pain to become worse in the air. The air is thinner inside the plane than at sea level, and it expands, causing your ears to pop and teeth to hurt during ascension and descent. Bottom line: sort out tooth ailments before you fly, lest you suffer some serious pain.
203. Be Aware of Aviation Noise Issues
Pros: Might decrease your risk of stroke/heart disease
What you need: Earplugs, noise-canceling headphones
We’ve given you advice on bringing earphones and noise-canceling headphones onto a plane, but a new study, published on the National Institute of Health’s website, explains why. Aviation noise can be bad for your health, particularly if you fly a lot. According to the “Aviation Noise Impacts” study, there is an association between “aircraft noise” and stroke and heart disease.
Two huge studies examined the impact on millions of people living near airports, and they discovered links between a deterioration in physical health and the sound of airplanes flying overhead. So, not only should you wear something to block the noise on the plane, you might be wise to keep that cancellation even when you’re in the airport vicinity.
204. Don’t Take Hormone-Based Medication On A Plane
Pros: Won’t increase your risk of having a blood clot
What you need: Nothing
Air travel can be a tad unpleasant, but there are medications you should never take on a plane, lest you want that unpleasantness to increase. According to Business Insider, you should avoid taking hormone-based medications, such as The Pill, on the plane because there is a tiny, 1-in-5,944 risk of having a blood clot
Some contraceptive pills also carry a minor risk of developing blood clots, so taking your BC on the plane might not be a wise idea. If possible, wait until you get out of the air to take your contraceptive or other hormone-based medication. Sure, the risk is small, but still, why take it?
205. Don’t Put Your Feet Up
Pros: Other passengers won’t hate you and turn you into a meme
What you need: Self-control
If you’re one of those people who feels like putting their feet up on the airplane seat in front of you is a good idea, we encourage you to think again. Not only will your fellow passengers hate you, they’ll also take pictures of you and turn you into a meme for the Internet to scorn.
Don’t even take your shoes off on the flight. This should go without saying, but you put other passengers at risk while flying barefoot. According to Escape, airline pilots hate when passengers do that, as they put others at risk for “bacterial infections.” Just be a normal person on the plane, and you’ll be fine.
206. Don’t Smuggle Your Fat Cat On The Plane
Pros: You won’t lose all your airline miles
What you need: Nothing
Airlines have pet weight limits for a reason, and they rarely show mercy on our fat, furry friends. One Russian passenger named Mikhail Galin found that out the hard way when Aeroflot stripped him of all 400,000 of his frequent flier miles because he tried to sneak his twenty-two-pound cat onto the plane.
The cat was, legally, supposed to be in the cargo hold. Most cats weigh less than twenty pounds, but, if you own a small tiger or large breed, you’re going to have to think about putting them in the cargo hold. Breaking that law as Mikhail did could lead to you getting kicked off the flight and, quite possibly, fined.
207. Buy A Kids’ Chin Supporter
Pros: Your kid’s head won’t loll and flop when they fall asleep
What you need: BCOZZY Kids’ Travel Pillow
You can tell when a kid is off in dreamland when his or her head lolls forward. To prevent him or her from getting a bobblehead on a flight, consider buying a BCOZZY Kids’ Travel Pillow. This $34.95 pillow comes in a wide range of colors, and it supports the head and neck of any kid between the ages of three and seven.
Not only will your kid’s head not loll and cause them to strain a muscle, but this pillow will also help them get better sleep. On Amazon, this product is well-liked, with a 4.5/5-stars out of over 22,000 reviews.
208. BYO Barf Bags
Pros: Can discreetly be sick in a bag that you bring
What you need: Emesis puke bags
Let’s be honest—flying isn’t for everyone. There are people who get really, really sick on planes, and no amount of ginger, lavender, Dramamine, or other remedies can help them. But, if you or your kids get sick on a plane, but you can’t avoid flying, what can you do?
You can accept it and bring your own barf bags. These emesis bags are $10-$15 on Amazon, and they are hospital-grade and come in packs of dozens. Sure, it’s not the most glamorous solution, but these bags are far more secure and discreet than the ones the airline provides.
209. Bring Your Own Silverware
Pros: You’ll know where your silverware has been
What you need: Flatware
Reddit is full of tips and tricks that make flying easier. After all, the social media platform has millions of people, and they’ve managed to crowdsource flying tips that make being in the air much easier. One Redditor said that, when he flies, he brings his own silverware.
This can include actual flatware or plastic-wrapped utensils. That way, he knows where his silverware came from on a plane, and he can eat his meal in peace. Though this tip may seem like it would work only for the paranoid, the ability to know where your silverware has been is always a good option, if you can take it.
210. Don’t Take Sleeping Pills On A Plane
Pros: Lowers risk of DVT
What you need: Nothing
We get it. Sleeping on a plane is hard. You’re surrounded by other people, you’re cramped, and the air is different than when you’re on the ground. Still, Business Insider recommends not taking sleeping pills to get shuteye, even if you are traveling over a long distance.
Knocking yourself out with a pillow lowers your blood-oxygen levels. Also, when you’re asleep, you’re not moving. Both of these things increase your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis. Add on if you’re pregnant, a smoker, obese, or have preconditions, and that Ambien pill could turn a restful sleep into something dangerous.
211. Double Check Your App Info
Pros: Makes sure you’re not in the wrong place at the wrong time
What you need: Nothing
Phone apps can make flying way more convenient, but you shouldn’t just trust them blindly. If the gate number is on your app, make sure that you double-check it with the information screens in the airport. That way, you’ll know for sure that the app has received up-to-date numbers from the airport.
This goes for all the flight information you get from your app. Remember, not all of the app’s information is up-to-the-minute, and you don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time because of a mishap on technology’s end.
212. Sunflower Pins in Copenhagen Airport
Pros: Discreet way to let staff know you have a hidden disability
What you need: Sunflower pin
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is available as a pin at the Copenhagen Airport, and it is also available as a lanyard at other places. These emblems are free; all you have to do is ask the staff where you can grab one. There are no questions asked, forms required to sign up, or requests for proof of your disability.
The sunflower lets staff at Copenhagen and other airports know that you have a “hidden disability,” which is a common phrase to describe a disability that might not be visible to the naked eye. Examples of hidden disabilities include TBI, HIV, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, COPD, Epilepsy, Diabetes, and similar ailments.
213. Avoid Antihistamines On The Plane
Pros: Can avoid hyperactivity and depressed breathing
What you need: Nothing
You might not be prescribed Ambien, Trazodone, or another sleeping pill, but you might resort to antihistamines to put yourself to sleep on a long flight. Diphenhydramine is a common choice for people who want to pass out and make the time go faster on the plane. Some parents even give their kids Benadryl while in the air.
Business Insider cautions against that, as it is “not recommended” in the event that it has the opposite effect. Diphenhydramine can sometimes cause hyperactivity, especially in kids. On the reverse side, it can depress your breathing, something that is less-than-ideal in an environment with lower oxygen levels.
214. Travel Constipation Is A Thing
Pros: Be aware of the problem so you can deal with it
What you need: OTC medication (in some cases)
Travel constipation, also known as vacation constipation, is a real thing that affects the most sensitive among us. If you’ve ever noticed you have trouble going to the bathroom when you travel, you’re not alone. There are several reasons behind travel constipation, including a change in diet, a new routine, and certain health conditions.
If you go more than three days without going to the bathroom, this is officially considered constipation. Drink plenty of water, try to eat as regularly as possible, keep up with your exercise, and don’t be afraid to take over-the-counter gentle laxatives and medications to treat this ailment. Talk to your doctor if the problem is persistent or causes serious issues in your life.
215. Don’t Forget About Pets’ Motion Sickness
Pros: Keeps pets from vomiting and being miserable
What you need: Cerenia (ask vet first)
Humans aren’t the only ones who get nauseous. Though motion sickness is often thought of as a problem for humans in cars, it can be an issue for pets on planes. The last thing you want is for your pet to be sick in his crate and miserable. That’s a bad situation for everyone, especially your beloved furry friend.
If you know that your pet has a history of motion sickness, stay ahead of the problem. Talk to his or her vet about FDA-approved medications like Cerenia that can help your cat or dog avoid motion sickness. The vet also might have environmental suggestions to make your pet’s crate more accommodating during travel.
216. Keep It Moving In The TSA Line
Pros: You won’t waste time
What you need: A sense of urgency
There are two types of people in the TSA line. There are the people who move with a sense of urgency, and there are the people who don’t know they are in the TSA line. The former hates the latter, while the latter is just completely oblivious.
Barring any disability or reason for slow movement, keep things pushing when you’re in the line for TSA. Don’t wait until the last minute to take off your shoes and remove your laptop. Get things ready before you get to the scanner; that way, you’re in and out in a flash, with no one sighing irritably behind you.
217. Pay Attention To TSA Announcements
Pros: You won’t miss important information that can save you time
What you need: Nothing
If you’ve ever been in a security line in the airport, you’ve probably had TSA yell at you or in your vicinity. It can be tempting to tune them out by turning up the music in your headphones, but some of these announcements could be important or time-saving.
For example, sometimes you don’t have to remove your laptop from your bag. If you’ve mentally checked out and aren’t listening to the TSA, then you won’t know that until it’s too late, resulting in you scrambling to put your laptop back in your bag in time to make it through the scanner.
218. Better Hours Early Than Minutes Late
Pros: You won’t miss your flight
What you need: Nothing
Sure, airport food is expensive, but paying to book another flight is an even bigger hit to the wallet. Not to sound like everyone’s dad, but there are benefits to getting to the airport early. We’re not saying you have to arrive at the crack of dawn for a 2 P.M. flight, but getting there a couple of hours early is a smart choice.
You never know how long the security line is going to be, nor do you know how long checking your bags will take. It’s better to be sitting around in the airport eating Auntie Anne’s than running helter-skelter to miss a flight that took off ten seconds ago.
219. Don’t Attempt To Handle Conflict On Your Own
Pros: You won’t go to jail or miss your flight
What you need: Self-control
The airport is an interesting environment. You’re surrounded by thousands of other people, all of whom are operating at very different stress and tension levels. It is very easy to get into disagreements, depending on where you are and who is in the airport.
If you have a conflict with another passenger, even a minor one, do not attempt to handle it on your own. Ask the flight attendant to help you, as any dispute, even one in which you’re not at fault and didn’t start, will result in you both being kicked off the plane or even arrested if you and your opponent get confrontational. Minimize conflict at the airport and on the plane. It may be over two decades since 9/11, but everyone gets on edge when there are raised voices on a plane, and airlines are all zero-tolerance.
220. Do Not Make Jokes
Pros: You won’t go to jail or miss your flight
What you need: Nothing
The airport and airplane are not the places where you want to try out your new comedy routine. Terrorist attacks over the years have put people on edge, and even if a joke sounds funny in your head, avoid saying it if it has anything to do with hijacked aircraft, explosives, weapons, or anything relating to those things.
Though this might seem like common sense to you, people have made these ill-timed remarks before. For example, in 2014 a sixty-year-old man joked about having a bomb in his luggage at the Miami International Airport. Immediately, safety protocols were triggered, and five outbound flights got delayed by an hour. The Miami-Dade PD’s bomb squad showed up and searched the airport and, no doubt gave the jokester a stern talking-to.
221. Know Airlines’ Dress Codes
Pros: You won’t get removed from the flight or forced to change
What you need: Sensible clothes
Matador explained why most airlines have dress codes, and the reasoning is about what you expect. A flight of 100+ people needs to get along, and dress codes avoid offending others on board, keeping flight-delaying conflicts to a minimum.
Clothing can’t be obscene or offensive or show too much skin. Additionally, these codes are practical. For example, no one can go barefoot on a plane because of the potential for disease. According to In-Flight Insider, you should dress in a way that makes you look as though you respect the airline, the way you would dress walking into a restaurant or other place of business. Use common sense, and you’ll be fine.
222. Food Options Are Better Farther Out
Pros: You’ll have a better meal
What you need: Nothing
One Redditor pointed this out and, after thinking about it, it does seem true. Food options get worse the closer you get to your gate. If you want a meal that isn’t straight-up fast food, the food courts outside or just inside are your best bets.
The nearer you get to your gate, the sparser your options become. By the time you’re there, all that is left are convenience stores and fast food places. If you plan to eat a real meal at the airport, do it early on before starting the walk to your gate. You might even need to eat before going through security.
223. No, You Cannot Fly With Marijuana
Pros: You won’t be kicked off a flight or arrested
What you need: Nothing
Marijuana is not legal under federal law, but some states permit it. That is where the confusion lies, as far as people who try to sneak weed onto airplanes. The TSA Marijuana Rules are a hard no. Though your city might have said it’s a-okay, the TSA does not. Federal law governs plane travel, and federal law does not permit you to fly with weed.
While TSA officers, by their own admission, are not actively searching for weed, they can’t ignore it when they find it. Attempting to bring it on a plane will cause a huge hassle for you that could likely lead to legal consequences.
224. Carefully Study Firearms Rules Before Flying
Pros: You won’t be kicked off a flight or arrested
What you need: Nothing
You can fly with a firearm, but there are a lot of rules you need to follow. According to the TSA website, you can transport unloaded guns in a locked, hard-sided container in your checked baggage. You must declare these guns to the airline when you check your bag.
The container has to be totally secured to prevent anyone from accessing the firearm. A locked case that is easy to open is not allowed. Before traveling with a firearm, you would do well to carefully review the TSA’s rules and regulations to ensure you’re following the law and not risking any serious legal consequences.
225. Anti-Anxiety Drugs Aren’t What You Think
Pros: Might not be helping as much as you think
What you need: To talk to your doctor
Some people take Ativan, Xanax, or another anti-anxiety drug to help keep them calm on the plane, particularly if they suffer from claustrophobia, a common condition. But, a study in the Journal of Behavior Research and Therapy questioned the efficacy of these drugs, as well as their safety.
People might feel more relaxed, but, physiologically, they have higher heart and breathing rates than those not taking these drugs. Additionally, the study retested people who took anti-anxiety medication on a plane, putting them on a different flight a week later. Researchers found that 71% of those re-medicated subjects that had taken the medication before had increased anxiety, panic, and a desire to get off the plane. Talk to your doctor to determine whether these heavy-hitting behavioral meds are really the best choice.
226. Research International Customs Before Flying Internationally
Pros: You’ll feel more prepared, flying will be easier
What you need: Guidebooks, Internet access
When you’re flying internationally, it is probably a good idea to do at least some research into the policies and procedures of the airport at which you’ll be landing. You should also research the customs of the country themselves, as well as some minor phrases in the country’s language that could be helpful to you in the airport.
What is customs like at the airport? What do you need? How high-risk is the area in general? This research will help you feel as prepared as possible, making international flight a less-stressful endeavor than it usually is for travelers.
227. There’s An Hourly Hotel At The Shanghai Airport
Pros: You have a place to rest and shower during long layovers
What you need: Credit card
Cost: $8.84 per hour* (Standard Room Rate)
In Terminal 2 of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, there is an hourly hotel. This time-charging lounge lets you rest, shower, and freshen up. The hotel leisure area comes with single and standard rooms, as well as other service facilities that help weary travelers rest for a few hours.
It’s easy to see why someone would want to use these facilities. If you have a long layover at Shanghai Pudong, it’s better to have a place to nap and shower instead of hanging out at the airport for hours on end. The cost of this hotel is $8.84 per hour for a standard room.
228. Reduce Touchpoints
Pros: Less contact between agents and passengers for a more germ-free environment
What you need: Nothing
Cost: $0 for passengers*
Currently, TSA is all about reducing touchpoints in an attempt to keep the airport as hygiene-friendly and germ-free as possible. In November of 2020, TSA launched new tech that would reduce points of contact. Installed at the Dayton Airport, this gadget scans your ID for you, meaning that the TSA agent doesn’t have to take it from you and hand it back.
Passengers at Dayton also don’t have to hand over their boarding pass; instead, they can just hold it up for visual inspection. These policies and procedures are helpful, as they reduce human contact between agents and passengers, thus making the airport a cleaner place.
229. Try Qualys BrowserCheck Service
Pros: Helps keep your computer safe from security threats
What you need: Qualys download
Cybersecurity wasn’t even a phrase a few decades ago, but now it is super important. Airports struggle with cybersecurity, especially when it comes to random attacks on passengers. A lot of people bring technology—laptops, tablets, phones, iPads, etc.—to the airport to keep themselves from getting bored.
The WiFi is often public, which means hackers can easily break into your tech if they have the know-how. The Qualys BrowserCheck is a free cloud service that scans plugins and browsers to make sure they’re up to date. The BrowserCheck scans for security threats and vulnerabilities and helps you fix them, keeping your computer safe against basic hacking attempts.
230. If Traveling In A High-Risk Area, Remove Certain Files From Your Computer
Pros: Hackers can’t hack what isn’t there
What you need: Secondary device/USB port
The University IT Department at Stanford recommends this if you’re traveling to high-risk countries that could pose a cyber (or physical) threat to your technology and welfare. Before traveling, remove documents with moderate-risk or high-risk data from your laptop.
Move the documents to another device that you won’t be bringing with you, and wipe them from your computer. When you return, replace the data. Hackers can’t hack what isn’t there, and sensitive documents (such as those containing identity, financial, and healthcare information) are prime targets for cyberattacks if they’re available. High-risk countries include locations like Algeria, Colombia, China, El Salvador, and more.
231. Certain Countries Don’t Have The Access to Websites
Pros: Be aware of the different laws/restrictions to plan ahead
What you need: Nothing
China is a good example of this. Every country is different, and different governments prioritize different things. There’s nothing you can do about it except be aware. When you travel to China, you will notice that you cannot access popular social media sites, as well as Google Apps, DropBox, HootSuite, Slack, and more.
Don’t be taken aback by these blockages; just prepare ahead. If you have work that you need to do on these sites, know that you might have to make other arrangements. Researching ahead is key to having a stress-free travel experience in a country vastly different from your own.
232. Know The World’s Worst Airports
Pros: Knowing your airport’s reputation will prepare you for whatever you encounter
What you need: Nothing
Most of us have been to airports that make us nod our heads in approval, whether because of the good food, pleasant atmosphere, or friendly TSA. On the converse side, a lot of us have also been to airports that seem like the tenth level of Hell.
You’re not imagining it. Airports like Toronto Pearson, Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Gatwick, Heathrow, Newark, Munich, and more have all made “Worst Airport” lists, whether for their delays, cancellations, or shoddy amenities. Before traveling, see what people are saying about your destination or takeoff airport. Knowing the rep will prepare you for whatever you might encounter, good or bad.
233. Get the TripIt App
Pros: Master itinerary planner for those who want to stay organized
What you need: TripIt App (iOS, Android)
This list is full of good app suggestions, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t add “TripIt,” a trip and flight planner with great ratings. The TripIt app is free, and it lets you have all of your travel plans loaded in one place. Car rental, hotel reservations, flight dockets, and more will be grouped together in your profile.
TripIt will send alerts for current and upcoming trips, keeping you notified of changes. On Google Play, this master itinerary planner has a 4.7/5 out of 66,747 votes. On iOS, the rating is a 4.8/5, with 215,688 people reviewing TripIt.
234. Get There First For Baggage Claim
Pros: Can get your bag quickly, make sure no one takes it
What you need: Nothing
We’re not saying you should shove anyone out of the way, but do walk quickly to baggage claim when you get off the airplane. Take up a position a few feet from the beginning of the line. That way, you’ll be able to see and register your suitcase in time to grab it.
Getting there early means that not only can you get to your bags first and get out of the airport, you can also keep an eye on the luggage ring and make sure that your suitcase doesn’t get stolen, either by someone mistaking it for their own or a thief with bad intentions.
235. Thwart Thieves With Loud Luggage
Pros: Thieves don’t want to draw attention to themselves by stealing a noticeable bag
What you need: Loud, patterned, brightly-colored luggage
According to Clever Journey, the Department of Transportation reported that over one million bags a year go missing, either because the airport mishandles them or they are stolen. This results in over a billion dollars in missing valuables and other items. The DoT reports that 5.8 out of 1,000 bags are mishandled (stolen) each year.
One way you can thwart thieves is by purchasing the loudest, most colorful, patterned luggage you can find. Thieves do not want to draw attention to themselves, and they are likely going to go for a bag that looks incognito (plain and dark-colored), rather than one that is immediately recognizable.
236. Not All Airports Are Safe
Pros: Adjust travel plans to avoid flying into unsafe airports
What you need: Nothing
Pictured here is Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing-Hilary. This airport is often referred to as the world’s most dangerous. The Nepalese destination has just one runway that both arriving and departing aircraft have to use. Additionally, the airport sits at a high altitude, which means planes must land at fast speeds.
The super-short runway is surrounded by mountains and mist, creating a harsh, complicated terrain that pilots hate flying in. The airport has a bad safety record, with fifty deaths over the past twenty years. Though airports might seem safer than cars, note that not all airports have a good track record, and adjust your travel plans accordingly.
237. Mobile Passport Control Is A Useful App
Pros: Easy way to upload information to Customs
What you need: Mobile Passport Control App (iOS, Android)
Cost: $0* (Basic Version)
Another app that travelers, particularly international ones, have been raving about is the Mobile Passport Control app. This secure app works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to make sure you have an easy experience traveling.
Eligible travelers can submit customs-related inspection questions, declaration information, and passport info through the app, which is secure. The basic version of this app is free, unlike the $100 application fee for Global Entry. There is no pre-approval, interview, or background check required for Mobile Passport Control, and you can download it immediately upon arrival, making it ready to use the second you land.
238. Crime Risk Is Higher In Neighborhoods Near Airports
What you need: Your wits about you
Pictured here is Birmingham Airport, which is just one example of the study results indicating that areas near the airport are more likely to have high crime rates. According to CBS News, neighborhoods adjacent to airports were four times as dangerous for all types of crimes.
Forecasting company CAP says that that means your risk of becoming the victim of a crime was four times higher near an airport than away from it. When picking hotels, restaurants, and other travel plans, keep this harrowing statistic in mind. Also, make sure to keep your wits about you when arriving and departing from an airport, no matter how safe it may seem.
239. Don’t Leave Luggage Unattended (Not Even For A Second)
Pros: Won’t lose your bag and miss your flight
What you need: To pay attention
You’ve probably heard the TSA admonition to not leave any luggage unattended. Though it might seem like a hassle to wheel your carry-on to the bathroom or to grab a cup of coffee, adhere to this rule strictly, lest you want to run afoul of security restrictions and miss your flight.
Unattended luggage will trigger a security alert, causing hassle for police, TSA, airport personnel, and other passengers. The luggage will have to be inspected to make sure that it was not tampered with before being taken to Lost & Found. Though it might seem convenient, don’t leave your luggage unattended, even for a second. The risk isn’t worth it.
240. Go To Multiple Help Desks
Pros: Might be able to get the help you need somewhere else
What you need: Nothing
A traveler on Reddit came up with this hack, which he discovered from personal experience. If something happens and you have to go to a help desk, it’s possible that that “help” desk won’t be quite as helpful as you want.
Don’t give up if you don’t get the answer or assistance you need. Rather than start a big argument with the desk staff that will make you look like a security threat, go to another help desk. Airport help desks are staffed with individual people, and these different people can make different decisions. One person being unhelpful does not mean that the entire airport staff will be apathetic to you.
241. If Traveling Somewhere Cold, Wear Heavy Clothing
Pros: Your bag won’t be overweight from your cold weather gear
What you need: Heavy coat, boots, etc.
Another Redditor traveling to Iceland realized that this hack can save money, as it will prevent your luggage from being pushed over the weight limit. If you’re traveling somewhere cold, wear your large coat to the airport (as well as boots, hat, scarf, etc.). You can carry the coat and accessories when you’re past security.
Not only will this make your arrival in the cold area a little less brutal, you also won’t risk your luggage being overweight because of the heavy gear. This hack might not be the most convenient method of luggage transport, but it could save you an overweight baggage fee.
242. Wash Your Hands As Much As You Can
Pros: Reduces risk of illness at the airport
What you need: Access to soap and water
One Redditor who worked at an airport aiding TSA said that she would wear blue gloves in the morning and, by the end of the day, those gloves were “green” from the germs and dirt with which she came in contact.
That should convince you that you should wash your hands as much as you can when in the airport—before eating, drinking, and after using the restroom. While there is a low risk of infectious disease on the plane itself (according to the CDC), the airports are not quite as health-friendly. They are full of people who touch everything, so washing your hands is the #1 way to prevent a vacation-ruining illness.
243. Know Your Rights With TSA
Pros: You’ll be a more informed passenger
What you need: Basic knowledge of TSA and what it can and cannot do
TSA cannot stop someone for no reason, and they are legally mandated to not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, class, religion, and other personal characteristics. TSA agents aren’t LEOs—they cannot detain you if you refuse to go through screening.
That said, if you refuse screening, you won’t be allowed to get on the plane. If you’re an American citizen, you only have to answer questions to establish identity and citizenship, but, if you don’t answer TSA questions, you will likely incur a delay in your travel. Know your rights with TSA, but also know the consequences of refusal to cooperate.
244. Migraine On Planes? It’s More Common Than You Think
Pros: Taking the right medication can help you ward off painful airplane headaches
What you need: To talk to your doctor
If you get headaches on an airplane—or even migraines—you’re not alone. Airplane headaches are a thing. According to Biomed Central, these headaches often are unilateral (on one side of the head), severe, and located in your brain’s frontal-orbital region. Getting headaches on an airplane can increase flight anxiety, which, in turn, can worsen the pain.
So, what can you do for this type of headache? Experts recommend speaking to your doctor about taking something for the pain. Taking Naproxen or ibuprofen before travel can minimize discomfort. But, of course, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before taking our word for it.
245. Be Honest With Yourself Before Flipping Out
Pros: Thinking ahead will prevent you from missing flights
What you need: Proper planning
Your flight leaves at 1:00 P.M. You leave your house at noon and get to the airport at 12:15. There is a 50-minute wait in the security line. Predictably, you miss your flight. Whose fault is that?
Be honest with yourself before you go up to an airport help desk and flip out at some unexpecting airline employee. It’s your responsibility as a passenger to plan out your travel and arrive early, just in case of security-related delays. A lot of times, irate passengers only have themselves to blame for a missed flight. Demanding a refund for something that is clearly your fault will get you nowhere at best and on a no-fly list at worst.
246. Dayuse Lets You Book Micro-Stays
Pros: App lets you book hourly hotels in 25 countries worldwide
What you need: Dayuse app (iOS, Android)
Dayuse is a great app for people who will need a micro-stay at a hotel to freshen up or take a nap between layovers. Dayuse launched in 2010, and it has offices in Paris, Hong Kong, and NYC. The app allows you to book microstays and daytime hotel rooms by phone or online.
Currently, Dayuse lists more than 7,000 hotels in over two dozen countries. The app adds more hotels frequently. If you’re a seasoned traveler who doesn’t want to wait in an airport for eight hours for their next flight, check Dayuse and see what hourly hotels are around. Dayuse has a 4.9/5 and 4.7/5 on iOS and Google Play, respectively.
247. Don’t Flush While Still Seated On The Toilet
Pros: Won’t feel like you’re getting sucked into the plane
What you need: Nothing
Travelers on Reddit came up with this TMI hack. If you’re sitting on the toilet, don’t flush. Wait until you stand up, lest you want to feel as though you’re getting sucked into the bowels of the plane. Airplane toilets are really loud and powerful.
They use the pressure change between the outside and inside of the plane to flush the toilet. The toilet doesn’t use a lot of water, just a partial vacuum that accelerates the tiny amount of water and waste, flushing it at a high speed. Save yourself a fright and don’t flush until you stand up.
248. Everyone Hates O’Hare Airport
Pros: Try and avoid O’Hare if you can
What you need: Nothing
According to Money, O’Hare is one of the most hated airports in the United States. Social media sites are full of complaints about O’Hare that will make you think twice about landing there if you don’t have to.
J.D. Power’s 2022 North American Satisfaction Study rated O’Hare last, with 772/1,000 points, meaning people can’t stand the airport. O’Hare is infamous for its delays. As the Chicago Tribune put it, “Chicagoans love to hate” this airport. The problem has gone on for years. In 2015, Time Out said that rankings showed O’Hare was “easily the most hated airport” in America.
249. You Can’t Drink Your Own Alcohol On A Plane
Pros: You won’t run afoul of airplane policies
What you need: To know the rules
There is a bit of confusion on this point. You are allowed to bring your own alcohol onto a plane, provided it is in mini-bottles in a clear plastic bag, as according to TSA regulations. But, though you can bring it with you, you cannot drink your own alcohol on a plane.
It is illegal, according to the FAA, to drink alcohol that isn’t served by the airline itself. This applies regardless of the airspace. The rules likely have to do with monitoring. If you’re drinking your own liquor, airlines can’t see how much you’ve consumed and whether you’re getting intoxicated to the point where you’ve become a nuisance on the flight.
250. Always carry a bread clip in your wallet
Pros: It could provide a vital clue if the worst happens
What you need: A recent bread clip
Cost: $2-3 for a loaf of bread*
Before you head out to the airport, especially if you’re traveling and don’t have a set itinerary, you should go and purchase a loaf of bread. No, it’s not because it’ll keep you full until your next stop (although that’s quite useful). Most loaves of bread come with a bread clip that keeps the bag sealed.
The date is usually stamped onto it. Do what you want with the bread, but keep the bread clip in your wallet or about your person. It might sound morbid, but if the worst comes to the worst and a tragedy befalls you, that bread clip could give investigators vital clues and help pinpoint your last known location, and the time you were there. Never fly without one!
251. International Flights Usually Have Outlets Nearby On The Plane
Pros: Outlets can charge your phone while in-flight
What you need: Nothing
If you’re traveling on a short domestic flight and have to charge your phone, you’re usually out of luck. But, on an international or long domestic flight, there are usually outlets in front of the seat or under it. This can be a lifesaver for people on 1% who don’t want to sit in silence the rest of the flight.
Ask a flight attendant if you can’t locate the outlet yourself. Also, do research ahead of time to make sure your plane will have outlets (sometimes, you can find that info online). And, of course, if you’re not sure, charge your phone at the airport before bringing it onto the plane.
50 Travel Tips
To help you keep your dream trip affordable, here are 50 thrifty ways to stretch your travel dollar in Europe…
A B&B offers double the warmth and cultural intimacy for half the price of a hotel. You’ll find them in most countries if you know the local word: Husrom is Norwegian for sobe which is Slovenian for Gästezimmer which is German for rooms in a private home.
Avoid touristy restaurants with “We speak English” signs and multilingual menus. Those that are filled with locals serve better food for less money. I look for a short, handwritten menu in the local language only. Go with the daily specials.
Fly open-jaws — that’s into one city and out of another. Save time and money by avoiding a needless costly return to your starting point. When considering the beginning and end points of a long trip, try to start in mild countries (such as England) and work into the places with greater culture shock (such as Turkey). This way you’ll minimize stress, and save countries offering the cheapest shopping — and greatest health risks — for the end of your trip.
Travel off-season — generally October through April in Europe. You’ll get cheaper airfare, find more budget rooms, spend less time in lines, and meet more Europeans than tourists. Big cities such as London, Paris and Rome are interesting any time of year.
Family-run businesses offer the best values because they employ family members to get around Europe’s costly labor regulations. In mom-and-pop shops you’re more likely to be served by people who care about their reputation and their customers.
Picnics save money. Ten dollars buy a fine picnic lunch for two anywhere in Europe. Stock your hotel room with drinks and munchies upon arrival. You can pass train rides enjoyably over a picnic meal. Many grocery stores have elegant deli sections. Know the metric system for buying produce. In Italy 100 grams (about a quarter pound) is a unit in itself called an etto.
Eat with the season. Germans go crazy for the white asparagus. Italians lap up the porcini mushrooms. And Spaniards gobble their snails (caracoles) — but only when waiters announce that they’re fresh today. You’ll get more taste for less money throughout Europe by ordering what’s in season.
Use a guidebook. Guidebooks are $20 tools for $3,000 experiences. Saving money by not buying one is penny-wise and pound-foolish. An up-to-date guidebook pays for itself on your first day in Europe.
Use ATMs rather than travelers checks. You’ll get your cash cheaper and faster. While ATMs give the best possible rates, they do come with transaction fees. Minimize these fees by making fewer and larger withdrawals. Store the cash safely in your money belt.
Stay in touch cheaply by dialing direct. International phone cards with PIN numbers are sold at newsstands throughout Europe. They offer calls to the US for ten cents a minute — a huge savings over the $3/minute rates offered by the big American services.
Cars are worthless and costly headaches in big cities. Pick up your rental car after the first big city and drop it off before the final big city of your trip. Paying $20 a day to store a $40 a day car while touring a city is an expensive mistake.
Do your shopping mostly in the cheaper countries where gifts are more interesting and your shopping dollar stretches the farthest. The difference is huge: For the cost of a pewter Viking ship in Oslo, you can buy an actual boat in Turkey.
Look up friends, relatives, and contacts. Assume you are interesting and charming and enjoy local hospitality with gusto. This works best if you actually are interesting and charming. Bring a show-and-tell Ziploc baggie filled with photos of your family, house, and hometown.
Adapt to European tastes. Cultural chameleons drink tea in England, beer in Prague, red wine in France, and white wine on the Rhine. They eat fish in Portugal and reindeer in Norway. Going with the local specialties gets you the best quality and service for the best price.
Look for consolidator tickets for overseas flights. Consolidator or “discount” air tickets are perfectly legitimate. By putting up with a few minor drawbacks (no changes allowed and no frequent flier miles given) you can save hundreds of dollars. Student agencies are not limited to students and offer some great airfares.
Don’t let frequent flier miles cloud your judgment. Choose a plane ticket, car rental, hotel or tour according to the best value for your trip, not in hopes of scoring a few extra miles.
Know your railpass options. Railpasses can offer big savings — if you’re traveling a lot. For short trips, point-to-point tickets are cheaper.
Second-class train cars get there just as fast as first-class ones. Throughout Europe first-class tickets cost about 50 percent more than second-class. The difference in comfort is usually minimal — it’s not like first versus coach on a plane. The vast majority of Europeans don’t travel in first class unless someone else is paying for it.
Buses, while often slower, are cheaper than trains — especially in Britain, home of Europe’s most expensive train system. For instance, traveling from London to Edinburgh could cost $145 by train or only $45 by bus.
Groups save by driving. Four people sharing a car generally travel much cheaper than four individuals buying four railpasses. And don’t worry about gas costs. Even at $6 a gallon, you’ll find cars get great mileage and distances between sights are short. A single two-hour train ticket can cost you the price of a full tank of gas.
Park carefully. Thieves recognize and target tourist cars. Judge the safety of a lot by how it twinkles. Broken glass means thieves like this spot. Paying to park in a garage with an attendant can be a good investment.
In many northern countries, train-ticket holders get discounts on bikes rented at the station. And in many cases you can rent a bike in one town and drop it at another for no extra charge.
Pay with cash, not credit cards. While credit cards get you a good exchange rate, many places offering Europe’s best deals — from craft shops to bed & breakfasts — accept only cash.
When changing cash, avoid exchange bureaus that don’t show both the buying and selling rate. By seeing both rates you can derive the profit margin — which should be within 5 percent. Places showing only the selling rate are hiding something… an obscene profit margin.
Wear a money belt. You’ll save money by not losing it. Thieves target Americans not because they’re mean but because they’re smart. They know we’re the ones with the good stuff in our purses and wallets. Assume beggars are pickpockets. Be wary of commotions in crowds and fake police who ask to see your wallet. When you know the scams, they’re almost entertaining.
Students, families, and seniors should ask for discounts. But be warned: Because the US doesn’t reciprocate, many countries don’t give their standard senior citizen discounts to Americans.
In any transaction, understand all fees and expenses. Ask to have bills itemized. Assume you’ll be short-changed. Always ask how much. Do your own arithmetic and don’t let the cashier rush you. Smile but be savvy. You’ll save lots of money.
Travel with a partner to share and save. A single hotel room often costs nearly the same as a double. And by splitting taxis, chores, guidebooks, and picnics couples save both time and money.
Buy your maps in Europe at half the price you’d pay in America. And you’ll find a wider selection.
Communicate online rather than by mailing postcards. For the cost of a postcard and a stamp you can be online in a cybercafé for about 15 minutes. Many libraries, hotels and hostels offer free Internet access.
Europe’s 2,000 hostels offer countless cheap dorm beds. A hostel membership pays for itself in four nights. And it’s not limited to youths. In fact, those over 55 get a discount on a hostel card. Using the hostel’s kitchen, you can cook for the price of groceries — a great savings for traveling families.
Take advantage of department stores anywhere in Europe for cheap folk art, souvenirs, and post cards. Local shoppers eat cheaply at department store cafeterias and restaurants. Savvy travelers can too.
While notorious for ripping off tourists, flea markets can offer some great deals. Prices are soft, so haggle.
Consider using a budget airline to connect distant cities. Europe’s highly competitive no-frills airlines — such as Ryanair and Virgin Air — can often get you from one city to another faster and cheaper than the train. You generally book the flights yourself by phone or on the Web. Beware though: Cheap airlines often use small airports located far from town, which can cost a little extra time and money.
Hike in the Alps. Even if you pay for a lift ticket to get you quickly into the high country, the glories of the Alps are one of Europe’s great values. The Alps are littered with helicopter-supplied mountain huts offering cheap beds and menu prices that don’t go up with the altitude.
Know your hotel’s cancellation policy and keep track of what you reserved. No shows are generally charged one night. If you won’t make it, cancel long in advance. Reconfirm all hotel reservations two days in advance. Even a fine hotel can mess up a booking. Arriving and finding no room can become a huge and costly headache.
Avoid travel agent and tourist office room-finding services. They charge a fee and generally offer only the highest-priced rooms with no discounts. For the best accommodations values, use a guidebook, shop around, and go direct.
Find rooms on the fly, and check business hotels for off-peak deals. Brussels and the Scandinavian capitals, which cater to business travelers, offer deep discounts to travelers who arrive without reservations when business traffic is slow. During summer and weekends year-round, you can get a fancy business hotel room at a cheap one-star hotel price. It’s not unusual to score a $300 double for $100.
Throughout Europe, budget chain hotels rent rooms at B&B prices. Since these cookie-cutter rooms cost the same for singles, couples, or even a family of four, they offer the greatest savings for traveling families.
Be smart about hotel choices. A three-star place (with room service and a 24-hour reception desk) is a bad value for a budget traveler who’s satisfied with one-star services. Lavish lobbies can hide crummy rooms. See, smell, and hear the room before accepting it. If you’re interested in sleeping, choosing a view room overlooking a noisy square is a mistake. Opting for the shower and toilet down the hall can save you $30 a night.
Ask for a deal on your hotel room. You’ll have the best chance of getting a discount if business is slow. Go direct (a room-finding service costs the hotel a booking fee), offer to pay in cash, or stay at least three nights.
Pack the room. The more people you put in a hotel room, the cheaper it gets per person. A quad is only a little more expensive than a double.
Avoid hotel breakfasts. While convenient, these are rarely a good value. If breakfast is optional, increase the character and lower the price by joining the local crowd at the corner café for your coffee and croissant.
Throughout southern Europe, drinks are cheaper at the bar than at a table. The table price can be a great value if you’ll linger and enjoy the view. But those just tossing down a quick drink do it at the bar for about half price.
Every country has early bird and “Blue Plate” specials. Know the lingo, learn your options, and you can dine well with savvy locals anywhere in Europe for under $15.
Don’t overtip. Only Americans tip 15 to 20 percent in Europe. We even tip when it’s already included or not expected. Ask locals (who are customers rather than employees of a restaurant) for advice.
To save money in restaurants, couples can order a side salad and split an entree. To save more, request tap water instead of mineral water, drink the house wine, and skip desserts.
Make the most of public transit. Many single tickets are actually good for round-trip, transfers, or an hour of travel. Three rides generally cost more than a day pass. Airports almost always have cheap and convenient public transit connections to the town center.
Museum passes can save time and money. The Paris Museum pass, for example, pays for itself in three visits and saves you hours by letting you skip the long lines and scoot right into each sight. Also, with some passes, you’ll pop painlessly into sights that might otherwise not be worth the expense.
If you get sick, see a doctor sooner rather than later. While it seems stressful to get medical help, visiting a clinic in Europe is actually an inexpensive and interesting experience. Any hotel or tourist office can point you in the right direction. You’ll be diagnosed, have the proper medicine prescribed, and be on the mend sooner in your trip.