Tips for travel

Apparently, I left Norway for this

Edinburgh 3/2013

Welcome back to Edinburgh!

I’ve learned many things about traveling, probably some that I can’t recall, but here’s a list of a few notables in case you’re going abroad:

  • Make your seat and meal request in advance. The earlier the better. If you think it doesn’t matter, over a 7 hour flight or longer it will, especially if you’re stuck in the middle. I forgot to make a reservation with enough time in advance and was stuck in a middle seat for an over-booked 12 hour flight with a woman who fell asleep on me.  If you’ve got an allergy of some kind or don’t like particular food, make a meal request!!  If you make a meal request, you’ll be one of the first ones on the plane served.
  • Arriving 2 hours before isn’t really necessary. Note that depending on the airport and time of day might have a little influence on this general rule. Of course, don’t arrive 20 min before either. In my experience with a lot of flights in Europe especially my most recent flights with SAS and Lufthansa, they usually are delayed, so being punctual made no difference. If you’re familiar navigating through airports, doing the whole strip down through security, and finding gates then you definitely don’t need 2 hours. Travel through the states is an infamous unorganized disaster, so plan ahead if you’re going to be coming through major airports like LAX, because you just might need at least 90 min.
  • Check your visa.  Different countries have different regulations.  As an American, I’m able to travel through a decent amount of countries easily without needing a visa beforehand.  Some do have a few weird regulations though.  As I’m going to Taiwan soon, I happened to check up on the visa thing probably a little later than I should’ve and had to make some other arrangements so that all would be clear upon arrival.  Make sure you have at least ONE MONTH in one place prior to leaving if you need to process a visa or request a new passport.
  • If you’ve got a particularly long layover, and in a cool place, try to leave the airport.  I had an 18 hour layover in Bangkok a few years back and decided to be bold and see some of the sites alone. I got lucky though and made two friends from the Netherlands and had company for the day.Bangkok Bangkok
  • Unless you’re flying Ryan air, where seats are unassigned, it’s not necessary to queue up at the entrance of the gate before the staff announces the time for boarding.  I always see people standing around, getting irritated or trying to inch their way to the front before they can even board the plane. Relax, you’ll get on and you’ll get to your seat! If you’re worried about having enough overhead compartment space, save everyone the hassle and only store what’s necessary. I was rather surprised on my most recent flight that everyone stuffed their jackets in the overhead compartments, leaving little to no space for the actual carry-on luggage. We all have to fit. Consider storing your jacket under the seat as it will save room and be useful if you get cold. Ladies, keep your purse with you, it comes in handy so you don’t have to keep getting up. I often store snacks, make up, moisturizer and other fun things to keep me entertained over the long haul.
  • Hydrate,hydrate. If you have the space, bring an empty bottle and ask the flight attendants to fill it up with water once onboard. Hydration is of the utmost importance as you travel and reach high altitudes. I always carry eye drops as my eyes tend to feel like sandpaper. Additionally, I’ve even given myself a mini facial during the flight.  I admit, it was a little awkward, but I felt so refreshed and it was fully worth the strange looks of passengers nearby.Onboard face mask
  • Bring snacks and entertainment. Airport food is incredibly expensive. In the past, I have brought steamed veggies, roasted sweet potatoes and apples onboard.  These days, iPhone’s seem to occupy most people’s time. However, if you’re cool like me and don’t have an iPhone or smart phone or no phone, make sure you have something to keep boredom at bay. My video monitor has failed me onboard in the past, or I’ve seen every good movie available, so having a book or kindle nearby is smart.
  • Last but not least, don’t be afraid to smile!!  It makes for an easier time getting through the potentially laborious security process. No one enjoys long lines.  No one enjoys being held up in a queue.  Let your awareness of that fact awaken your compassion for the process  (potentially your process of patience) and for the employees of the airport.

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