We all dream about traveling from time to time. Although the destination of our dreams is exciting traveling by plane can be anything but. Here are 10 tips for air travel when things don’t go as planned.
- Pack snacks. You never know when you will be running to make a connection or when the last flight out is canceled and you are stuck spending the night in an airport with nothing but a few peanuts to sustain you. Airport food is at a premium and often healthy options are lacking. Packing snacks will save you time and money. Some of my go to plane snacks include dried fruit, protein bars, and trail mix.
- When traveling internationally book directly with your airline. You do not want to be stuck in a foreign county with a canceled reservation only to find out Expedia does not have a South American call line. Booking direct gets rid of the middle man and if you do have issues with your flight it’s a lot easier to talk to the staff at the airport.
- Keep connections to one hour or more. I break this rule for short flights but when I travel across the county or internationally its always smart to give yourself a lot of wiggle room. Flights are often delayed and one delayed flight can mess up all your travel plans if you miss a connection.
- No matter how stressed you may be always be nice to the staff. Remember it’s not their fault that weather has delayed flights or there is something wrong with the plane. They are doing their best to get you home and yelling at them will not make the process go any smoother.
- Be flexible. With big disruptions to air travel such as snow storms and hurricanes it may be necessary to get yourself to a bigger airport by other means. For example a storm in Maine may close local airports for days but Boston will still have flights going out. Check the local bus and train schedules. Don’t discount the kindness of strangers. There may be others who are going the same way as you and you can share a rental car. Always use good judgment but not everyone is out to screw you, we have to trust and help each other out.
- Remember you will get home. It may be a few hours or 2 days late- I’m looking at you Texas Ice storm of 2014 – but you will get home. Contact work and friends and let someone know you will be running late. Look at it as an unexpected extension of your vacation. Your flight woes may even improve your trip. For example when coming home from Argentina we had an unexpected delay in Buenos Aires and were able to spend the evening exploring the city.
- For long flights pack a pair of comfy socks or slippers in your personal bag. Better yet pack your pajamas you may have to sleep upright but at least you can be cozy.
- Wet wipes are a nice luxury to help freshen up while traveling. For marathon international flights a quick refresh can take the edge off of jet lag.
- If possible always do carry on. Checking bags is expensive and can be stressful when you have tight connections to make. If you do need to check bags make sure your carry on has enough gear to get you through a few days in case your checked bag is misplaced. Get really good at packing light. You can pack three weeks of gear into a carry on and small backpack- trust me I’ve done it.
- Resist the urge to have a nervous breakdown. When you hear the dreaded ” I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do” statement from a bewildered flight attendant calmly ask what your options are, because there are always options even if they may not be ideal. Remember you will get home eventually. Just breath and think about puppies, everything is going to be ok.
Photos by Chelsea Harris @spudd86