Traveling in Style – Travel Hacks to Make Airplane Travel More Luxurious
Discover the travel hacks that will allow you to be refreshed for when you begin your vacation
When traveling around the globe to your dream destinations and partaking in an unforgettable experience in South Africa or Italy, Japan or Argentina the flight becomes a prominent feature since travelers spend multiple hours in airports or on the plane traveling between locations. Traveling is a wonderful way to make memories but modern flights often include long lines at security, the need to remove your shoes, or a long slog through the expected jet lag after having flown from Chicago to Tahiti or Los Angeles to Mumbai.
Flying has made the world feel smaller allowing you to travel to the farthest corners of the globe in search of an opulent and exceptional vacation with unexpected splendor and anticipated charm no matter your destination. Flying is often the most stressful part of a trip with travelers always searching for the best deal or the unexpected detour to a more distant airport. While airlines like Thai Airways, Qantas, and Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines boast some of the most luxurious first-class cabins, these airlines do not fly to every city in the world and many travelers do not fly first class. However, it is easy to feel like a first-class traveler even when not flying first-class. instead of falling into the familiar tropes of airports and airline travel, the following list covers a variety of ways you can enjoy easy and luxurious experiences before, during, and after your flight.
Who doesn't like an express lane?
The TSA PreCheck and Global Entry have taken away the need for waiting in long security lines before even entering the gate. Savvy and consistent flyers no longer have to suffer through the pressure of hurrying to the airport and possibly waiting for hours while passing through the Transportation Security Administration’s security check or after returning from an international vacation and lingering in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint.
TSA PReCheck is the most prevalent program for travelers and is available at more than 200 airports across the United States. While membership does cost $85 as of 2019, the benefits certainly outweigh the cost resulting in shorter lines and a streamlined screening process including not having to take off your shoes.
The Global Entry travel program helps international travelers return with an easier, more streamlined process. In order to receive the coveted status, you must first pass the in-person interview process and pay the $100 fee. However, once approved, the membership lasts five years allowing you to re-enter the United States must faster and return home after a long, enjoyable trip abroad.
While Direct and Non-Stop flights may seem the same, the two terms, plus the well-known third term, “Connecting,” have major differences when flying that can result in different experiences during the flight, added hours of flight time, or comparable costs.
- Direct. – A direct flight stops at an airport before your arrival at your final destination but does not require you or your luggage transfer to a different plane. Many well-known examples of direct flights include Cusco to Lima with a stop in Arequipa, Peru or New York to Singapore with a stop in Frankfurt. Some local airports require passengers disembark with their carry-on luggage and re-board the plane but do not have to transfer planes or receive their checked luggage.
- Connecting – A connecting flight can result in passengers changing planes, crossing an airport to reach a different terminal, or transferring the city to reach a different airport. Each leg of a connecting flight requires its own boarding pass but are most-often part of the same itinerary. An example of a connecting flight is Virgin Atlantic’s service to Palm Springs, which stops in San Francisco where patrons must change planes.
- Non-stop – A non-stop flight is most familiar and quickest way to fly with guests receiving a single boarding pass and traveling from their point of departure to their final destination in a single trip without stopping.
Proper sustenance allows for the most comfortable flight
Major airports across the world have turned waiting for a flight into a comfortable experience with luxurious seating and host delicious food in every terminal. You can take advantage of the good food offered in quality dine-in restaurants or fast-paced eateries before stepping aboard your flight to help tie you over until reaching your destination while also avoiding the feared airplane food. If you are taking an overnight trip to Europe, the Middle East, South America, or Asia eating before the flight is a more relaxed, accessible, and tasty experience with major transit hubs often hosting restaurants shaped by celebrity chefs. You may also take the meal onboard the flight allowing you to indulge in the quality cuisine later on.
Whether you carry the food from home or buy a smattering of cuisine at the airport, bringing snacks with you onboard the flight ensures you can stem the tide of hunger with delicacies you know you will enjoy instead of sitting at the whim of the airline who may only have nuts and pretzels if any snacks at all. Packing snacks from home will need to be TSA-approved and therefore stand going for hours without refrigeration while purchasing snacks after security could range from juice to soda or salad to sandwiches.
Utilize a comfortable recliner before the flight
Airline lounges are no longer for celebrities or passengers flying first-class. More than 1,000 lounges exist in airports around the world with travelers basking in the perks that come with a one-time membership fee or certain lounges offering a pay-per-use model. The comforts of a lounge are at your fingertips with each space offering a space to relax before the flight, a location to refresh after a red-eye, and a room in which you can set down your bags to enjoy the snacks, water, and food that is offered making you feel like a VIP in the hassle-free environment.
The right seat for you makes all the difference
Many airlines now allow you to choose your seat. Even if you decide to not spend the extra money on the coveted legroom of the Emergency Row, you can still settle into the seat best for how you wish to travel.
- Sleeping – If you want to sleep for the majority of the flight, choose a window seat near the front of the plane. Use noise-canceling headphones, lean your seat back, and bask in the feeling of solitude away from activity on the aisles.
- Extra Legroom – if you want to stretch your legs but do not have an Emergency Row, you can choose the aisle seat or the bulkhead rows situated behind walls or curtains that divide the plane which ensures no one reclines their chair into your lap.
- Best Service – Perhaps legroom and sleeping are not as important as receiving great service while on the plane. By choosing an aisle seat near the back of the pane where you can find the flight attendant galley, you will receive service before others on the plane.
Always grab the necessities
When traveling on a plane, you want to be as comfortable as possible by ensuring you can counteract the issues associated with the recycled air, engine noise, and shifting timeline caused by crossing time zones. Make yourself comfortable by packing essential toiletries and items that can help you sleep while on the flight such as:
- Lip balm – apply the salve approximately every hour to keep your skin from cracking in the air known for drying out your body.
- Face and hand cream – much like lip balm, the face and hand cream will help keep your skin smooth and your body relaxed while traveling.
- Sleep mask – A decent sleep mask will block out unwanted light from travelers reading or the encroaching sun outside the window by simulating a pitch-black night.
- Noise-canceling headphones – Instead of trying to ignore the sounds of crying babies or passengers laughing at the in-flight movies, you can use noise-canceling headphones to simulate a cozy, serene evening during which you can forget you are sitting on a flight and sink deeper into sleep.
- Blanket and travel pillow – Yes, the plane does offer blankets and pillows during long flights but flying with your personal blanket and travel-sized pillow keeps you relaxed with a familiar item while also ensuring your ability to rest with an item you know fits your specific style instead of hoping the airline pillow is soft or firm enough to your liking.
- Toothpaste and toothbrush – While a toothbrush and toothpaste may seem like common sense, most travelers checking their bags forget to include these items with their carryon luggage. Simple actions like brushing your teeth on the flight can ensure deeper comfort, not only by helping you feel polished during a long period of travel but also by imitating your sleep ritual while at home.
- Slippers or comfortable socks – when on a plane, your body is likely to swell including your feet making tight or small shoes uncomfortable. Instead, bring a cozy set of slippers or soft, fluffy socks to wear during the flight to keep your feet warm and allow yourself some extra, unrestricted room if necessary.
Once you're rested, take a cup of coffee and get ready for your adventures!
The hardest part of sleeping on a flight quickly becomes waking up on a flight. Instead of sleeping from take-off to landing, try setting an alarm for approximately 45 minutes before landing allowing you to wake-up slowly, gather and pack your belongings, have a bite to eat accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea, and arrive at your destination rested, awake, and ready to start your vacation.
Prepare yourself for extensive travel times prior to the date of departure
By properly anticipating and preparing for jet lag, you can settle into the comforts of your vacation without losing a minute to the dulling, exhausting feeling stemming from skipping time zones. The best ways for avoiding or combatting jet lag include:
- Adjust beforehand – by anticipating your new time zone and practicing waking up and sleeping days before leaving on your vacation, you can combat any jet lag by preparing your body for the shift approximately three days in advance. Instead of jumping directly into the new time zone, ease into the idea over the three-day period with gradual changes.
- Light Exposure – our circadian rhythm is naturally influenced by the absence and presence of light. Therefore, exposing yourself to bright light after a flight will help wake you up from the threat of jet while avoiding bright light at least three hours before your desired bedtime will help produce the natural hormone melatonin, this includes avoiding LED light bulbs or the blue light from electronic devices.
- Lavender essential oils – lavender is a property known for emitting calming properties and easing insomnia. The oil helps improve sleep quality by supporting regular sleep schedules after a person inhales the aroma from a small number of drops. The scent helps soothe and relax people especially when appreciated in concurrence with avoiding caffeine, electronic screens, and alcohol.
Water is critical on long flights -- once that is taken care of, don't forget to indulge in a pleasant drink
The prospect of getting up and down on a plane every 20 minutes does not invite envy but staying hydrated on a flight is essential for battling jet lag, fighting against swelling, and helping you ease into life on vacation while also keeping your skin from drying out. While feeling enclosed in a small space may feel like the best opportunity to get extra work done, the cramped quarters and forced workload may have the opposite effect causing stress instead of relief. Remember you are going on vacation and concede to the glamour of a glass of champagne, indulge in a cocktail, or sip a sweet fruit juice as you get one step closer to savoring your dream destination.