Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Come Fly With Me...

Dear airlines: I’d like 1 extremely narrow seat with minimal legroom, no food and please, charge me extra to transport my personal belongings. Sincerely, NO ONE. I think we can all agree that air travel is a far cry from the luxury days of Pan Am (did anyone else watch that show?), but for many worthy destinations, it’s a necessary evil. Whether it’s 2 hours or 10, flying is part of your vacation and there’s a lot you can do to help make the experience more pleasant:

* Make me a deal baby: Dr. H is my airfare guru. While I may roll my eyes over the hours or even days it takes him to find flights, he’s pretty much mastered the system. The good doctor recommends searching for flights during the week, especially Tuesdays & Wednesdays - airlines mark up prices on weekends. * To sleep perchance to dream: If your travel plans allow for overnight flights, take em! Though you’re unlikely to get a “good” night’s sleep, you don’t waste valuable vacation days traveling AND if it’s a mid-vacation flight, you can subtract the cost of hotel for that night. Book that 11pm-7am flight, grab some Tylenol PM and enjoy the extra time you’ll have at your destination. * Distraction & a happy belly: I’m not a good airplane sleeper (hence the night flight, Tylenol PM) so I need to keep myself busy to pass the time. I'm always equipped with my iPod and Nook, but I also throw in at least one magazine since a good amount of in-flight time is spent in the “electronic devices prohibited” space (what is really going to happen if I leave my iPod on during landing!? Will the air traffic controller’s message suddenly be interrupted by my blaring Britney Spears!?) Pack a snack while you're at it to avoid the marked up/junk food at the airport (I love THIS IDEA for romanticizing the in-flight experience). Prepare for the worst: Is there anything better than the moment you see your checked bag glide into baggage claim!? I have no confidence in my bag’s ability to keep up with me so I’ve learned (the hard way) to plan for the worst. On the way there, I always carry-on necessary toiletries (contact solution, a toothbrush etc), clean undies, a bathing suit (if applicable) and a clean shirt. I also try to fly in pants and shoes I’d be happy to wear exclusively if my bag doesn’t show. On the way home I stash any truly meaningful souvenirs in my carry-on and I never EVER check my camera. Not that I wouldn’t cry a river over lost clothes and shoes, but at least I’ll have my trip memories no matter what. * Let me upgrade you: If you can afford it, those fold out beds with real silverware and warm towels sure look lovely (especially for longer flights). Unfortunately, those first class amenities come at a substantial price. For our honeymoon, Dr. H and I flirted with the idea of first class, but it would have literally doubled the cost of our airfare and we simply could not justify blowing a majority of our vacation budget on getting to the vacation. That said, if upgrading doesn't impact your ability to spend while on your trip, I say go for it! 

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