I used to fly regularly, pre-pandemic. With a job that gives me the luxury of booking sessions anywhere and parents that live on the opposite coast, it was both a necessity and a fun part of work. Thanks to all those trips, I got pretty good at it and picked up a few tips along the way. Today I’m going to share my most useful tips and most unique tricks with you!
1. The sneaky way to check a bag for free
Now, this only works if you’re using a bag or suitcase that you could ostensibly carry on and fit in an overhead compartment, because you have to be able to get through security with it. If you can pack in a smaller suitcase (or two), this will work 92% of the time. And here’s the secret: check your bag at the gate. The people at the desk are always making announcements about how there’s very little overhead space available and offering anyone who wants to check their bag for free, to do so before you board. Take them up on it! Save the time checking in and the $35! When I’m traveling for work, I often have a small suitcase, a camera backpack and a large purse/backpack and will just check the suitcase at the gate. When was the last time I paid for a checked bag? I can’t even remember.
Now, if you’re on a very empty flight and no such announcement is made, I’d feign ignorance. Just tell them you thought you could carry on your small suitcase, backpack and purse and didn’t realize there was a limit. They’ll likely take care of it for you.
2. A fanny pack is your best friend
Wear a cute fanny pack so you can keep your credit card, ID, phone, chapstick, hand sanitizer, and airpods close to you without digging through a backpack or bag. Here’s my favorite. It’s also another way to sneak another small bag onto the plane!
3. Watch a movie on your phone without holding it the entire flight
Most airlines offer movies and tv that you can watch on your phone, as opposed to built-in screens in your seat; however, very few have any sort of place to put your phone while you watch it. That’s where these little guys come in! I always pack one in my bag to hold my phone or kindle. You can even put it in those pockets that hold the safety information cards when your tray table is down, so you can watch your phone or device at eye level! It works perfectly and folds in half, so it doesn’t take up much room in your bag at all.
4. Make your travel day your recovery day
If you’re someone who plans their workout schedule and but you don’t want to take time to workout on a travel day, use it as a rest day! I like to do something more strenuous the day before (like lifting heavier than normal weights or a brand new workout where I know I’ll be sore) so that I can use my travel day for recovery and just do some light stretching when I get to my destination.
5. Wear your bulkiest and heaviest items
It’s simple, to maximize space in your suitcase, wear your heaviest sneakers or boots and wear/carry a bulky jacket and/or sweatshirt.
6. Get an inflatable pillow
If you’re like me and can barely stay awake during take off, you need a travel pillow. Luckily, there are so many good variations of a blow up travel pillow right now. This one is by far my favorite. And it rolls up really small. And yes, your family will most definitely make fun of you for its…phallic…shape if and when you travel together. But what do you care? You’re snoozing the flight away with only minimal neck discomfort! (totally hasn’t happened to me :). This pillow is another contender, but it’s way better for a car nap than a plane nap, in my experience.
7. BYOTB: bring your own tea bags.
It’s usually pretty cold on a plane, so I love a hot tea. The flavor selection is never great and often has caffeine and I like to sleep as much as possible on flights (see #6). I always bring a few ginger tea bags with me to keep my stomach calm. Just ask the flight attendants for hot water.
And finally, here’s what is always in my most accessible bag on a travel day:
Satin Eye Mask (again, I’m a big plane napper)
Inflatable neck pillow
Lotion and antibacterial wipes
Scoach of makeup (tinted chapstick, highlighter, brow pencil, eye liner)
I hope you found an idea you hadn’t thought of before or something interesting to try the next time you take to the friendly skies. Bon voyage!
**I won’t make any money for any link in this post. Nothing is sponsored or affiliated. Just good, old fashioned recommendations.**