Air travel has gotten more challenging in the 2000's, and preparing for air travel is key. Getting ready will make the experience more pleasant -- be ready for air travel by packing for airport security, having the right travel documents like an itinerary and an eticket, getting the best airplane seat assignment, knowing how not to lose your luggage, and, of course, finding the best airfare deal. Let's walk through eight great tips.
2 - Get an Eticket and Itinerary
After you find the best airfare, you'll probably buy an eticket
-- this is one of a few travel documents
(below) you'll need to get together before heading for the airport. When you buy a ticket online, you're usually buying an eticket. Airline and travel sites walk you through the process, and you'll end up with an eticket and an itinerary you can print out. Learn more about etickets and itineraries (and real paper tickets), making copies and who needs' em, and what parts of an eticket and which credit card you should bring to the airport, and we'll move on to other travel documents you will or may need.
4- Get the Best Seat Assignment
Getting a good seat on a short flight, like within Europe
, isn't completely crucial. The right seat can make a long flight, like to Australia, mucho better, however. As soon as possible (like while buying your ticket), choose a seat you want, like an aisle so you can stretch, or a window so you can sleep with your head against a wall (yeah, really). Seatguru.com
is a website providing seat maps and airplane diagrams which you can consult before asking for a seat assignment. Check it out.
5 - Understand Airport RulesAirport rules
have changed massively since your parents were in your first-time traveling shoes. Today, you'll have to take those shoes off to get through airport security
; believe it or not, you could once arrive at the airport with seconds to spare and sprint onto a flight with just a ticket-holder thingy in hand, which might not even be checked. Man oh man, have airport rules changed. Read up on airport rules
before you go -- like way before you go -- and avoid some pains in the neck or pocketbook, like missing flights.
6 - Packing for Airport Security
If you've read up on airport rules
(above), you now know that the US, UK and Europe (et tu, EU
?) have implemented super strict rules regarding what you may carry on to a plane and through airport security. Understand what that means for your packing process with *the* most current and correct information -- it won't be painless, but it's possible to pack for airport security
, using the right bags and attitude, and still avoid checking a bag if you can. Why avoid that? Because checked bags can get lost, damaged, or ganked from -- and it now can cost $15 and up to check a bag, as well. Let's talk about luggage next.
7 - How Not to Lose Your Luggage
Want to bring tequila or local salsa home from Mexico? Bought a samurai sword somewhere? You'll have to transport it in a checked bag, which vastly increases the chance that you may lose a bag during air travel. Lost luggage happens, especially now that TSA rules practically dictate having to check bags for some travelers, but you can learn how to avoid losing your bags in transit and what to do if it happens to you. Look at tips on keeping your bags from traveling without you and what to do if an airline has lost your luggage. And do check with your airline before deciding to check a bag -- it probably costs money.
8 - Don't forget...
...a few basics that will make your life on a plane better.
- Download language lessons for your iPod (more fun than it sounds).
- Bring an inflatable neck pillow no matter what. Otherwise, your head will fall forward if you fall asleep in your plane seat and you'll do that unattractive drool thing on your shirtfront while developing the world's worst neck crick. Better to drool on the neck pillow.
- Pack No-Jetlag pills -- they rule my transcontinental world.
- And don't forget what you're doing: you're traveling. It's a great adventure -- have a great time.