Over a few years of travel, it’s been great to discover a few ways to have a smoother flying experience. Little tips and tricks that I’ve picked up from other travelers or learning the hard way have changed the way I view the airport experience. The airport and flying process does not have to be stressful or a guessing game with these few hacks.
Ready to change the way you fly? Take a look at these tips.
6 Ways to Have a Smoother Flying Experience
Get TSA Pre / Global Entry
If there has been one thing that has been a game-changer for flying, it’s having TSA Pre and Global Entry. I would recommend getting Global Entry since it includes TSA Pre and is only a bit more in price. The ability to go through security and not have to pull everything out or take shoes off eases the process. On arrival from an international destination, Global Entry means you’ll skip those long customs lines and breeze through.
Get in on the lounge game
If you’re a frequent flyer, then you need to jump on this. Having lounge access is a game changer — a private space, food and beverage, and other amenities. My favorite two options is Priority Pass which comes with some credit card companies and my AMEX lounge access through their credit card. Priority Pass is huge as they have a global network of lounges you receive access to. Often times when I have a long layover, I’ll freshen up with a shower at the lounge. Alternatively, status on a specific airline will get you access to lounges.
Maintain airline loyalty
I’ve collected my airline status with Star Alliance over the past few years which has been a plus for comfort onboard. Having status often gives upgrades at check-in, free checked bags, and a few other perks while traveling. If you’re going to be on the road frequently, aim to keep all of your flights with the same airline.
Pre-plan your meals
My biggest adjustment in air travel this year was not eating food onboard the plane. Instead, I’ve changed to packing my own food or planning around meals before flying. I’ve noticed that I am more nourished and don’t get the mid-flight hunger.
Select your seats before check-in
It’s easy to overlook the seat selection as a crucial part of the flying experience. The first thing I do when a flight gets booked is go into SeatGuru. I take a look at their recommendations for which seats are best and which to avoid (like those ones that don’t recline or are near the bathroom). I’ll change my seat accordingly ensuring I don’t show up on a flight seated somewhere that is not comfortable.
Build a routine around your travel days
Whether it’s the way you eat, getting exercise, or getting organized at home, I find that if you’re going into the day prepared, it’s a much better experience. For me, it looks like packing well in advance (I don’t like to scramble), getting a low sodium dinner in, and an hour at the gym. When it comes to the day of travel, I feel refreshed and not panicked as I’ve prepared myself for the journey.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: