15 Holiday Season Travel Tips To Keep You Sane At The Airport
The holiday season is the time to be at home, celebrating with friends and family. Unfortunately, this usually means travelling across the state, country or seas to be with them.
While the imagination can conjure up some gnarly images of the airport during the peak season, it doesn’t have to play out like a bad Christmas movie. Here are some helpful tips to keep you sane on your travels.
1. Get all the elbow room.
It usually doesn’t pay to travel solo because you often end up squashed between two strangers. However, most airlines now have an app you can use to check the seating arrangements while you are waiting patiently at the gate. If it’s not a full flight, find a seat with no one next to it and lock it down for some extra breathing, and elbow, room.
2. Get the smoothest ride.
When choosing your seat, it’s important to pick the spot that gives you the smoothest ride so you aren’t as sensitive to turbulence. The front and back of the plane get the most motion, so aim for the middle rows, closest to the wings. This should be between rows 10 and 30.
3. Maximize your leg room.
If some airlines seem more spacious and luxurious than others, its because each one offers different leg room. If you are willing to splurge for that extra space and comfort, instead of filtering by price, refer to our chart below and sort by airline.
4. Stay flexible and get rewarded.
If you keep an open mind while travelling, you can easily reap some sweet rewards. Often, airlines will oversell a flight and call upon volunteers to take the next flight instead. To make this happen, they’ll offer incentives and perks. Free upgrade to business class, anyone?
5. Compare the pair.
When your checking out airfares, head to sites like AirFare Watchdog, Secret Flying, JetRadar, Momondo, and Skyscanner which do simple and easy cost comparisons across the majority of airlines to show you the best deals.
6. Watch out for pricing errors.
Pricing mistakes can be a result or either human or computer error, but there are ways around them. Again, websites like AirFare Watchdog and Skyscanner are great tools for avoiding this. For example, Skyscanner will show you the entire month of flights with the varying costs. Sometimes an error will be more obvious when you see it compared to other dates.
7. Search in Incognito Mode or private browsing.
Those tricky little tracking cookies know what flights you’ve been looking at and feed this information back to websites that are selling those flights. Therefore, you will start to notice the prices gradually increasing in hopes of pressuring you into booking. Searching privately will reset all these cookies to avoid price increases.
8. Avoid hidden and extra fees.
Here’s where they get you. While the actual cost of flights has gone down, airlines now add fees to make up the loss on the ticket. For example, the airline might offer a free check-in bag, but the limit is only 15kgs which is very hard to adhere to on a long-haul flight. They will then charge you for each kilogram you are over. Additionally, if you don’t check-in online and print your boarding pass at home, some airlines will charge for that at the desk. Before buying your ticket, add up all the odds and ends and another airline that originally looked the most expensive, may actually be the cheapest option.
9. Prepare for security.
There’s no getting around it, and it’s the worst part of flying; security. Flying at off-peak times, between 4-8pm, will definitely help, as well as opting for the smaller airport rather than the major one. There are also clever ways to pack and dress to speed things up. Don’t wear any jewelry or watches, or shoes that are hard to get off in a hurry. Have your liquids, laptop and mobile phone at the ready as they need to go through separately to your luggage.
10. Always lock up.
Belongings can still go missing from your luggage so make sure you lock everything up. Even have a lock ready for your carry-on luggage in case you end up checking it in at the gate.
11. Bring a car seat for your baby.
If your baby is coming along for the ride, bring them in a stroller with a car seat that can detach. You can then check the stroller at the gate and bundle your child in the car seat so they feel familiar and comfortable on the plane.
12. Be smart with your carry-on.
You should already have placed everything you will need during the plane trip into your smaller personal bag. The one that goes overhead shouldn’t contain the book you want to read or that extra layer of warmth because it is super hard, and irritating to others, to have to hunt through the overheads during the flight.
13. Bring hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer and wipes are perfect and necessary for public transport, planes are not exempt from germs.
14. BYO blanket and pillow.
If you’re on a long flight, your own neck pillow and blanket are necessary and you can’t assume they will be provided. If they are provided, airlines often use thin, light blankets and pillows that won’t provide enough of a barrier against that super cold air conditioning.
15. Switch to your new timezone before you leave.
If you are going to be spending a long period of time in this new time zone, it helps to prepare your body as soon as possible. You don’t have to live on your new schedule, but making minor adjustments will help.