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Flying Defensively: Top 10 Travel Tips

22 December 2010

Top Ten Stress-busting Tips

Top Tip – Travel nonstop whenever possible. Most frustration in travel comes from missed flights or the anticipation of missed flights at your layover destination. Avoid the hassle by booking a direct flight if one is available, even if you pay a little extra.

When traveling nonstop is not an option, consider the following tips:

Tip #1 – Choose an early departure. Selecting a morning or early afternoon flight increases the possibilities for other outgoing flights in case yours is delayed or canceled.

Tip #2 – Check the weather. Watch for any weather phenomena at your departure airport, layover airport, final destination airport, and anywhere in between.

Tip #3 – Check for other flights. See if there are any later flights at your connecting airports in case you miss yours. Keep times and flight numbers handy in your carry-on.

Tip #4 – Get a good night’s sleep. Pack your suitcase early and avoid the temptation of doing last-minute errands. If you start your journey relaxed, additional stressors will seem more bearable. 

Tip #5 – Arrive at the airport with time to spare. For a domestic flight, arrive at least an hour before your flight time. For an international flight, allow two hours.

Tip #6 – Pack plenty of food. Whether you are traveling alone or with children, pack more food than you think you will need. Flight delays can interfere with layover times and your plans for grabbing lunch during your 2-hour layover may not materialize.

Tip #7 – Pack water bottles. Carry an empty water bottle or two through security and refill with water on the other side or simply buy water bottles at the gate. Dehydration can make you weak and sick, adding to the frustration of an already stressful day.

Tip #8 – Pack for an overnighter. In a large Ziploc bag, pack a set of clothes (including a fresh pair of undies) to keep in your carry-on bag. I like to pack a pair of lightweight cotton pants, a cotton shirt and a hoodie that can work as pajamas in a pinch.

Tip #9 – Pack essential toiletries in your carry-on. Include in a small Ziploc bag anything you would need if forced to spend the night at the airport or in a nearby hotel. This will also help avoid inconvenience in case the airline loses your luggage or your bags don’t make your flight because of an abbreviated connecting time.

Tip #10 – Don’t forget to pack a good attitude. Patience and a cheerful heart can go a long way towards alleviating your own stress and that of others.

Even a good defense is not going to save you 100% of the hassle but it can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind. In the words of the incomparable Barbara Johnson, “If you can learn to laugh in spite of the circumstances that surround you, you will enrich others, enrich yourself, and more than that, you will last!”

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

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2 Comments to “Flying Defensively: Top 10 Travel Tips”

  1. You are the Travel Expert, Michelle. Great thoughts. What’s the best travel voucher you ever received? Mine was $800 on Continental … Still using that one!

  2. Great tips! If possible, I like to give myself an extra day of grace at the beginning and end of the trip, with no work or other obligations, in case of cancellations and delays. If I know I have time, I can take advantage of offers to give up my seat and receive travel vouchers, which have added up to free flights!

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