Whether you’re traveling for work, heading out on holiday, or going to visit family, flying can be a stressful experience. Between preparing your house or apartment before leaving, to remembering your passport and wallet, arranging airport transportation, getting through security lines, and hoping for a good seat mate, it’s no wonder flying brings on a bit of anxiety for even the most laid-back travelers.
The good news is, frequent flyers know the ropes and have plenty of wisdom to share regarding steps you can take to ensure you have the most enjoyable and stress-free flight possible.
1. Try a park and fly service
Park and fly services allow you to park your car in a lot nearby the airport and then take a shuttle to your terminal. They tend to be significantly cheaper than airport parking, with some services charging only about $20 per day for basic parking.
Some park and fly services also offer valet parking so that you can pull up to your terminal, take out your luggage, and head directly into the airport while a valet driver takes your car over the park and fly facility. When you return home, your car will be waiting at the terminal ready for you to drive home.
With security precautions like gates, restricted access, 24/7 security patrols, and security cameras, most park and fly facilities are very safe to use so you can rest assured that your car is in good hands while you’re away. Some park and fly services also offer additional services like car washing and polishing which can be done while you’re travelling.
2. Be certain of your foreign document requirements
If you are traveling internationally, you must carefully check the documents and requirements needed for entry. Some countries will require you to acquire a visa in advance of traveling, others will allow you to gain a visa upon arrival. Some countries’ immigration will also require you to have a certain number of blank pages still available in your passport or a minimum number of months left of validity—if you don’t check these items in advance, you may never even reach takeoff or might get stuck in a layover city.
3. Board last
There are few things that make you feel as lucky as scoring an empty seat beside you on a flight. No fighting over the armrest and you have a convenient place to dump your headphones, chargers, blankets, and other personal items when you’re not using them.
Many people ask the flight attendants as they’re boarding the plane whether all the seats are filled or there is a possibility to switch to a seat with an empty seat beside it. In almost every case the flight attendant will let the passenger know that they cannot move anyone’s seat until all passengers have boarded. So, it reasons that if you are at the back of the boarding queue you’ll be the last one to board and thus the first one to know if there are, in fact, available seats that you can move to.
If you are planning to try this tactic, however, be very attentive to the boarding announcements. You want to back at the back of the queue, not miss the boarding entirely. Most flights will not wait for you once the gate officially closes, so don’t risk missing your flight just to have the opportunity to move seats.
4. Don’t Choose the Window Seat if You Tend to Get Cold
Passengers tend to forget how cold it is outside of the aircraft when it’s flying at altitude. If you tend to get cold in movie theatres or in air-conditioned rooms, chances are you’ll get a bit chilly during your flight. Although your airline may provide you with a blanket (and of course you can bring your own), you can avoid the coldest areas of the plane if you sit in the middle row or at least not in the window seat.
5. Avoid the Bulkhead Seats
Even if you love babies, sitting close to them on a long flight can leave you tired and irritable if the baby is not happy during the flight. You can’t blame the baby for being upset in the unfamiliar environment, nor can you blame parents that need to travel with young children. You can however, choose a seat well away from the bulkhead to avoid being seated in the area where parents with young children tend to be placed.
The bulkhead is the only place on the aircraft where baby bassinets can be secured, so they are also the area where most young babies that are prone to tantrums will be located during the flight. Have a look at the seat map when buying your ticket and avoid choosing a seat near the bulkhead to ensure you have the most peace and quiet possible during your flight.