Travel Necessities

I am going to have a lighter travel year in 2014 than I did the year prior. That being said, I am still going to have more than 45 days of schedule travel – which is down from 64 in 2013 –  assuming nothing else changes as of today. Needless to say, I have tried to find ways to make traveling a bit more comfortable. Here are a few things you can buy and/or do that have worked for me.

1. Frequent Flyer Program

Become a member of either Sky Team, Star Alliance, or another. When booking a ticket, remember to put your number in and double check that it’s in when you get your boarding pass. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve entered it in while booking, and at check-in, it seems as if it never happened.

Depending on how much you’re traveling, it’s worth sticking to a Team/Alliance so you can build status, check luggage for free, get upgrades, have people assist you when delayed, etc. What does this mean? It’s sometime worth paying the extra money to fly with you preferred group because of the long-term benefits.

2. Water Bottle

Bring an empty bottle through security and then fill it at the water fountain as soon as you’re through. Drink before, during, and after – your body and skin will thank you for it. Most attendants on board will fill up your water bottle when the cart come by. 

3. Neck Pillow

For me, hands down, is the CABEAU Memory Foam Evolution Travel Pillow. Holy goodness, it has made traveling so much better!!

CABEAU-Memory-Foam-Evolution-Travel-Pillow

 

I snap it in front of my chin, rotate it slightly so my chin rests on the “upper deck” and pass out! It’s comfortable, it keeps my chin from falling open (yup….happens to me, too), and it can double as a back support of you’re not napping. On Amazon (link above) it’s about $40, but at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport it’s $30. Totally worth it, in my well-traveled opinion.

Bonus: it comes with ear plugs.

4. Ear Plugs

foam-earplugs[1]Foam earplugs are the cheapest way to cancel out some of the racket you encounter during short and long flights. It not only saves your ears, but it reduces fatigue. If you’re not down with canceling the noise, I’m guessing you enjoy the sounds of screaming babies, people talking on their cell phones, annoyingly loud announcements, and excess engine noise. ;D

If you want something fancier, there are a slew of noise-canceling head phones (click for reviews).

5. Scarf

I wrap a scarf around my face – specifically covering my nose – when I sleep. Yes, I look like a bandit when I used a handkerchief, but it’s fun to play dress up, right? I tend to become dehydrated on planes and I feel like when I have something around my nose/mouth, it slows down the process.

Bonus: A scarf can block out the light, double as a blanket, or aid in light back support.

6. Entertainment

If my flight is less than 2.5 hours, I’m most likely going to sleep the entire time, but if that’s not the case, I enjoy providing my entertainment. Books, articles on my cell phone, a Kindle, music, or my computer so I can get some work done – some combination of these things are with me and at my feet for easy access.

7. Compression Socks – long-haul flights

Travel-Socks-Travel-Socks-8-15-mmHg-292-2Are they sexy? Oh hell no! But do they work? I think so.

If you are only doing one 5+hour flight a year, this isn’t for you; however, if you’re traveling 1-2x a week, it might be worth it. I don’t or haven’t had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – but I know my feet and ankles aren’t nearly as….sexy…. if I don’t wear these bad boys.

The below-knee stockings apply gentle pressure to the ankle to help blood flow. They come in a variety of sizes and there are also different levels of compression. Class 1 stockings (exerting a pressure of 14-17 mmHg at the ankle) are generally sufficient. It’s vital that compression stockings are measured and worn correctly. Ill-fitting stockings could further increase the risk of DVT.

You can buy flight socks in pharmacies, airports, and online.

8. TSA Pre Check

It’s never guaranteed, but fuckin’ell, TSA Pre Check so great. I, like most people, enjoy waiting in the shorter line, and revel knowing I don’t have to take off my shoes OR whip out my toiletries and computer. Click here to be taken to their FAQ page. I don’t remember travel before 9.11 as clearly as I do the past 6 years, but I’ve heard Pre-check is reminiscent of pre 9.11 times.

How about you? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

One Response to “Travel Necessities”

  1. Lindsay says:

    Have you looke at getting global entry? It gets you through customs faster but many people sign up just because it also gives you precheck EVERY time. It’s $100 for 5 years. I work at an airline and book business travel for our employees – it is spreading like wildfire among them, they love it and always make sure we get their known traveler # entered. Now it’s gaining momentum among those using their travel benefits/flying standby – I get questions from employees who want to know how to enter it in their profile on the employee websites where we list for standby so it’s always there.

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