Traveling is fun but it can take such a toll, mostly because it requires lots of preparation and a heightened degree of alertness because you want to make sure the whole process goes as seamlessly as possible, without hiccups like lost bags or documents.
Here are a few tips to help me you along your jetset life, so you can fly like a pro.
Find out your airlines travel restrictions such as size and weight of carry-on, and whether or not you get a free checked bag or have to pay for it. This will save you time and money at check in.
Make sure you’ve confirmed and double-checked that you will have enough time between flights if you have a connecting flight.
If one flight runs late, ask the flight attendant to help you confirm your gate number for the next flight before you land. If the connecting flight is of the same airline they will probably hold it for you. Many airlines tend to do this.
2. Look great – you’re a brand, put your best foot forward
Yes, I am firm believer in comfort too, but there’s no reason you cannot have both comfort and style. I remember every time I flew through Dubai years back, so many people walking through the monstrously busy hub were so nicely dressed that I would promise myself to step up my game next time I flew anywhere.Same promise, every time even when I felt I was looking quite nice. I flew through DXB again this August and was left wondering what happened to all those nicely dressed folks from just months past! Where are you at beautiful people?
Anyway, I always think about my travel outfit, and it has to be both practical and nice. Practical because I tend to get very cold on flights. Nice because I feel good when I am dressed good. Even when I go casual, it is still a smart casual, and the face is on point, beauty and all. You will never catch me flying in ragged shorts and flip-flops, no disrespect to you backpackers or any other people that fly that way. I have found that people treat you as they see you. If you look unkempt and basic, you will be treated that way. I have even heard of stories of people refused a purchased upgrade to business or first class because they are not dressed proper. Also, I am from a demographic that people tend to disrespect just based on the colour of my skin, so I am not about to give these ignorant people one single reason to look down on me, although if you are well brought-up, how a person is dressed should not determine how much respect you accord them. That may be all they can afford, or whatever their reasons are.
Still, if you can, always look your best. You are a brand, put your best foot forward, all the time. And again, people will treat you better when you’re dressed good.
3. Don’t be that fumbling traveller – have your travel documents handy
Keep relevant travel documents in one place that you can access with ease such as your purse, fanny-pack, or front pocket. Only stow these documents away after you board. You do not want to get to the gate and be fumbling all over for your passport. It’s embarrassing, all these impatient travellers behind you in the queue are looking at you like did you not know you would need those you amateur traveller! Ugh, I shudder to remember those looks. Moving on swiftly!
At some gates they will want to see only your boarding pass, while at others you will be required to present your passport as well. Have both documents handy. Sometimes they will even ask to see your boarding pass or even the passport too as you enter the aircraft. This is probably only for intercontinental flights, but again, only stash away your documents after you are on the plane.
I would have added that you should always add you boarding pass to wallet if you have an iPhone, instead of printing it out, but on several occasions my mobile boarding pass has failed to scan at security and I have had to exit the queue and return to the check-in desk to have it printed out, so I am not going to sing about using technology and saving the forests this time.
4. There is a reason we get to carry on a bag
If you have checked baggage, have at least one smart full change of cloths in your carry-on. Make good use of the carry-on: cash-in case you can’t use a card, a beauty product you can’t do without, medications, electronics, a blanket/shawl if you tend to need one, and again a change of clothes. The world is large, the skies are vast, airports are busy, and people are human and err – all this to say you never know where your checked bag will end up. You do not want to find yourself frustrated and with only the clothes on your back. Which brings me to No. 4.
5. Manners, please.
Do not throw a tantrum at the airline staff when your checked bag does not arrive at your destination same time as you do. Yes, be upset, by all means but stay classy. If you travel frequently and have never had your bags misplaced, then thank God! Sometimes our checked bags have very important items that we need to get somewhere or use quite urgently so it’s very upsetting to land and not have your bag show up on the belt. At this point, however, the damage is already done,the bag is late, best to save yourself and everyone else a heart attack and hope that at least your bag is intact.
6. Travel light, if you can
If you can, travel with a carry-on alone. I almost always can’t, because of my be-prepared for-anything-and-all-things complex. What I have mastered instead is the art of looking like I am traveling light without traveling that light. Long story. still I have found that not having a checked bag saves me a lot of time and keeps me very efficient. The more I do it, the better I get at it.
7. Frequent flier program
Sign up for the frequent flier program, if you tend to use the same airline often. This way you can benefit from their offers. Some airlines have collaborations with other airlines so you can still get benefits from those.