After you’ve booked your flight, you’re normally allowed to pick your seats. Go to seatguru.com, look up the airline, type of plane and check out the seating chart.
Green is good
Yellow is caution
Red means DON'T DO IT!
Always hover your mouse over the seat you’re interested in to read the fine print. It will tell you the pros and cons. Recline, leg room, etc.
Bulkhead seats are good for leg room. HOWEVER, note that there are no under the seat storage spaces during take off and landing. So you will have to stow your stuff above until its clear to get up and move around.
I have found that the exit rows tend to be best. Roomier, but sometimes hard to get. So before you even BOOK your flight, pull up seat guru and look at what seats are best. That way you can choose your seat at the time of booking.
Always have an itinerary. It doesn’t have to be a firm one. Just a guideline. It’s the only way to maximize your trip.
Depending on the airlines and if you are a member, check the rates of check in bags. I always fly Delta. If you’re an miles member AMEX card holder, THE CARD HOLDER ALWAYS GETS 1 CHECKED LUGGAGE FREE. If you plan on going shopping and lugging home a ton of stuff back home, consider checking in a bag, even if its empty. It’s free and you just might need it.
If you DON’T, great! It makes traveling a LOT easier and quicker.
Based on that plan, pack accordingly. You can ALWAYS reuse jeans. So for a 1 week trip, 1 pair of jeans should do. Unless you’re planning on getting wet (rides, rain, etc)
Use the space saver vacuum bags. Just be careful with weight. I always pack 1 or 2 extra bags for the trip home. Because you can compact your clothing, the tendency is to over fill the bag because you have room, watch the weight.
Always pack a light jacket and carry it on, even if you’re going to a warm weather location. It might get cold on the plane or you might need it if you get caught in the rain.
Wear your heaviest pair of shoes aka sneakers. Pack the light weight items. It’s a pain at security because you have to remove your shoes, BUT, it lightens your load on your shoulders and back AND allows more room in your baggage. NOTE: When wearing sneakers, LOOSEN the laces. Your feet will swell in flight.
Pack ONE pair of shoes/sandals that can be dressed up or down. Honestly, no one cares what shoes you have on unless its something god awful. Make sure its comfortable. It will completely suck if you’re at a wedding or something and your feet feel like hell and you have 6 more hours to wear them.
Invest in a pair of foldable flats/ballet slipons. They are light weight, don’t take up much room, and great for emergencies. Blisters, busted heel, etc.
Most hotels have blow dryers. Call and check or look up the property. Don’t pack what they have there.
ALWAYS pack an extra duffle or small foldable bag that easily stowed. This is for overflow items. Le sport sac duffles work GREAT for this because you can literally roll them up into a ball and pack it away. Or pack a large 31 bag that can fold completely flat and put that at the very bottom of the luggage.
Your purse is counted as 1 bag. You’re allowed 1 carry on and 1 personal item. USE a large purse on the trip. It will come in handy. The super organizing tote and retro metro weekender will fit under the seat. Use a FLEXIBLE bag as a carry on. You can manipulate it to fit. Try to use a bag that has easy to access outside pockets for storing earphones, ipod, phone, etc. That way you’re not digging around it to find what you need.
Don’t pack shampoo and conditioner. All hotels have them and replace them daily. If you’re staying at a friend or family’s place, pack trial size or pick some up at the store when you get there.
When packing your clothing, LOOK at what your packing. If you have shoes, ROLL UP your tshirts and shove them in your shoes. If the shoes are stinky and you’re worried about that, put the clothing in a plastic bag, push all the air out and shove it in there. Find every pocket of space and utilize it. This usually applies on the trip home AFTER shopping and you’re tight on space.
PACK A LUGGAGE SCALE AND KEEP THIS IN YOUR CARRY ON! This will save you a TON of headache and worry. Most airlines have a weight limit of 50 lbs per checked luggage. Do not exceed 49. Give 1 lb clearance just in case. You don’t know how accurate the scales are. If it comes up 1 to 2 lbs over at the airport, they usually let it go. I always carry this Travel Scale
Try to carry a wristlet or pouch around your neck with a lanyard for your ID, ticket, some cash, a pen, cell phone, etc. This makes life much easier when getting through security, boarding, and getting to your seat.
ALWAYS pack a pen. Why? Because on the inbound flight home, you will ALWAYS have to fill out a customs declaration form. It’s a pain cause beginner travelers and tourists to Hawaii NEVER have a pen unless they’re major crossword puzzle fanatics.
If you will be traveling with MORE than 1 luggage. Invest in luggage straps. It will make maneuvering around much easier. I highly recommend this Travelon Multi Bag Stacker
If you will have a heavy carry on or some odd shaped bulky item I highly recommend this strap: Travelon Bag Bungee. This strap will make your life easier, especially if you have a far walk from the car to ticketing and vice versa.
If you have noise cancelling headphones, bring them. Two reasons. One, if you want to turn the volume up, it wont bother the person next to you. Second, if there are screaming kids or a snorer near by, this will block out the noise along with the white noise from the plane. Trust me, it works. I use this one: JVC noise cancelling headphones its cheaper and does the job.
GETTING THROUGH SECURITY
ELIMINATE CLUTTER. If you’re bag is cluttered, its hard for TSA to do a proper screening and it will force them to have to do secondary searches through your stuff.
3-1-1. Each passenger is allowed ONE quart sized Ziploc bag. Liquids cannot exceed 3.4 OZ. Be sure to put all liquids, oils, moisturizers, lotions, sprays, etc in this bag. IT MUST BE REMOVED FROM YOUR CARRY ON AND LEFT OUT IN THE TRAY TO BE SCREENED. So keep this Ziploc near the top of your bag or an outside pocket.
Laptops MUST be removed from the bag unless it’s a special tsa approved bag and placed in a SEPARATE plastic tray BY ITSELF.
Keep all the bling at home or in your bag until you’re through security. Anything metal will delay you. Remove all metal objects and put it in your bag. Belts, earrings, watches, necklaces, even COINS! Rings are ok to leave on. FOR WOMEN, refrain from using a bra that has a metal underwire. If you’re using a bra that has a ton of metal clasps, rings, underwire, they will stop you and do a pat down just to be sure. This has happened to me. My tip: use a sports bra and dress comfortably. Leggings and a tshirt is the best. ANY JACKETS, SCARVES, OVERCOATS MUST BE REMOVED so just keep it in your bag.
Have your boarding pass and ID ready. Once they’ve checked it, put it away. You won’t need your ID out at all anymore and you wont need your boarding pass until you’re ready to board. This is where the hanging pouch comes in handy.
BE ORGANIZED: If you know all of the above tips, you will know exactly how many plastic tubs you will need. I can pull it off with 2 depending on how big my backpack/carry on is.
Pop off your shoes
Put your laptop in a separate tub. UNLESS you have the special tsa approved bags.
Pull out your Ziploc bag of liquids and put it somewhere visible aside your bag and shoes.
Don’t forget to take off your lanyard pouch around your neck.
WHEN GOING THROUGH THE SCANNER. NEVER NEVER push your items through until its close to your turn to go in.
A lot of people get frantic and panicked at security. Don’t leave your stuff behind. There are agents that get huffy when you walk away from your stuff. I normally stay with my things and if the line is moving, I push it through then get behind the person in line for the scanner.
It all depends on the airport and how large they are. They normally have two lines per scanner so you have to keep an eye out.
SMILE. They usually hate their jobs. If you’re pleasant and smile and say hi, hello, they tend to be nicer to you…SOMETIMES.
TRAVELING WITH BABIES
We use this cover when checking our stroller in. It makes it easy to spot and helps to keep it clean.
Childress Umbrella Stroller Cover
We use this car seat cover when checking it in to help keep it clean and intact.
Childress Car Seat Cover