By special request, here are my tips for making air travel less exhausting.
- Avoid early morning flights. The challenge of an 8:00 AM flight, is needing to be at the airport at 6:00 AM, which means being up at 4:00 or 5:00 AM, which means a sleepless night the night before, meaning you start out the trip being exhausted.
- Avoid overnight flights, and if you take one, don't plan on sleeping on the plane unless you normally sleep sitting up in the living room with the television playing and a marching band going in and out of the room all night. My boss actually gave me this tip, take a book, plan to read most of the night, when you arrive in the morning, don't plan anything except taking a long nap.
- Late evening flights sometimes work, sometimes don't. I only schedule them if they are non-stop, maybe an hour in length, and when I get to the other end I am headed to bed. The last flight of the night - where the plane will spend the night and fly out the next morning - is likely to fly - even if delayed.
- I prefer middle of the morning flights. After the early morning rush, where I can sleep until a normal time and still be at the airport on time.
- Get to the airport early, two hours on domestic and longer on international.
- Check a bag, hauling bags through the airport is a pain.
- Sign up for TSA pre-check, this speeds up security, and reduces the stress a little.
- Be prepared for security. Put everything, keys, wallets, phones, change, in your carry on (my daily messenger bag.) If you are not in Pre-Check, be prepared to take off your shoes and coat. I even take off my watch and belt and stuff them in my bag, so all I need to do is run the bag through the X-ray machine.
- If you set off the alarms, for having something in your pocket on the body scanner, or the metal detector in Pre-Check, the process is more invasive, more stressful. Avoid this by knowing the rules and being careful.
- Don't panic if you are selected for additional screening, or they want to look in your bag. It only take a couple of minutes and if you are at the airport two hours before flight time, you have time.
- Seat selection matters, I am right handed, I want to be on the right side if I am in a window seat, or the left side of the aisle in an aisle seat, so that my dominant arm is not bumping into the person next to me. Avoid middle seats if possible.
- Surrender control. Once you are at the airport, most of what happens is beyond your control, go with the flow. Fighting for control will exhaust you.
- Be nice to the airline staff, I have been spontaneously upgraded, a few times.
- If something goes wrong, be nice. The people trying to help you, wish just as much as you do, that things were on time. Ask politely, what are my options? Is there anything we can do to get me there?
- Once seated, settle in, read or watch videos. I find that daylight helps, I try to get a window shade open so I can watch the world pass by.
What is your tip for easier travel?