Tips For Traveling on Airplanes

Southwest In Air

Coming back from Florida, I remember why sometimes I prefer driving. Airports are massive amounts of people, some who are confused, some who are lost, and some who are so on top of it that it's like a race car admist some bumper cars. It's all pretty awful. Standing in line for a ride at Disney? Ok. Standing in line for a weird naked scanner? No thank you. Still, sometimes you have to do it. I've been flying alone since I was 13, and here are some of my tips to make it bearable.

Dress Smart
First - avoid jewelry and belts. If you want to wear them later in the day, keep them handy in your carry on until post security. Lace up shoes? No. Heels? Probably a problem in the off chance you need to run. The best shoes to wear are ballet flats, by far, with tights. They come off quick, your feet are protected from the floor/others feet, and they are comfortable. Layering is key - a wrap scarf is one of my favorite things because it doubles as a blanket. An outfit like the one below is ideal!


Alternately, Also Pack Smart
Don't bring 4 extra outfits. You are carrying more than you need, and possibly checking a bag and not needing to. I follow the following formula : underwear for each day +1, 1 bra for every 3 days + 1 extra if I need a strapless one, a well thought-out outfit for each day, tights for each day, 1 pair of shoes for each 2 days, and wear a coat and scarf on the flight. I can fit both mine and Jason's clothing in a single carry on for a 3 day trip, for a 5 day trip we add on my Kate Spade 'That's The Last Straw' Bag. Keep toiletries to a minimum and under 3 fluid ounces in a ziplock bag stored in an outer pocket of your carry on that is easy to access.

Keep Calm and Maybe Carry On
Do not be the person who is panicking when your carry on luggage ends up having to be checked. Often times on small airplanes, the carry-ons that fit on most jets won't fit. And with airlines that pay to check, often times they run out of room before you get on. Always carry a purse/backpack/bag that can fit under the seat that has anything you need in it. Those stay with you.

Take gum - buy it before hand, it's pricey at the airport - and chew on the way up and down. Moving your jaw releases pressure in your ears which should help with popping. I have a huge issue with my ears due to years and years of ear problems that have gone away, but can still affect me in ways like this.

You CAN Bring Knitting Needles
And crochet needles. Just a tip. It's great for airplanes.

Carry Your Camera in Your Carry On
Trust me, you don't want a DSLR going through bag check. Get an insert or a camera bag with a laptop sleep or anything. My insert comes in handy. You can see how I used to back my bag, but here is what it looked like this past time.

Keep Your License/Passport and Ticket Handy
You'll need them. Not the license after security, you might want to slip that away, but find a pocket in your bag or clothing that you can remember easily and get to, but isn't out in the open.

Do Not Buy The Wi-Fi
Seriously, it's slow, it's too expensive for what it is, and chances are it can wait. Take the opportunity to do something for yourself and disconnect. Knit, read a book, play a game. It's a good break. The wi-fi in my experience is too slow for Netflix/Hulu, so don't bother.

Here are also some of my favorite airport tales from over the years :

One time on the way to Florida to see Jason, my flight was delayed for and hour and a half because the plane was over gassed. The announcer woman continued to make jokes about giving it Beano for that time period.

On our honeymoon, our flight was delayed 2 hours after we boarded and sat on it for two hours.

When I was younger, I sat next to an engineer who saw I was doing my math homework. He helped me out. I missed every question.

Also when I was younger, I sat next to an 'off-duty' clown who made me a balloon animal.

And the weirdest and biggest tip:

Don't Be Afraid to Switch Seats
I've made the greatest connections and had the greatest conversations was when I decided to be a nice human. I aim for window seats, but if I see a couple or family split up, I'll happily trade for a middle seat so they can sit together because I know I would hope someone would do the same for me. I'm small and fit in middle seats well, and usually, it sparks conversation with someone sitting next to me. It's made for the more interesting plane rides I have had!


  1. I really dislike flying. It's a pain the ass, it can get stressful, and I just get nervous in general. I much prefer driving/road trips. You can stop when you want to get out and just breathe a bit! I almost always overpack, even when I try not to. I like to have options in case I'm feeling fat one day/spill something/tear something, but that's just me being a freak lol. I'm really going to try to plan out my outfits better the next time I go to Florida. I definitely need the room for anything I end up buying there. I always keep my camera in my purse and bring my laptop on. That way I can edit pictures during the flight since that doesn't take WiFi! Since I usually travel in the winter, I find that wearing zip up boots are easy for taking off and on quickly. The same goes for coats - zippers are better than buttons!

  2. I've been on six planes in the past month, including two transatlantic flights, and this reminds me of those hours idling in the airports. I've got the 'stripping down for security' routine down to an art: Jacket off, jewelry off, laptop out, boots in box, bag on conveyor belt, through the scanner, out and done. And I'm not afraid to jump ahead of someone taking their sweet time removing bangles or unlacing shoes!

    Funny story about knitting as well - on my way back to Philly I was stopped in Heathrow for an extra random security check. The woman opened my bag, took out my knitting, complimented my knitting skills, and then we chatted about crochet for a bit while I got patted down!

  3. I love flying (an airplane take off is a top sensation!) but I stress so much at the airports, specially when I don't know the airport or if I'm in a hurry... I don't have much experience at it though.

  4. These are great tips! I've flown alone a number of times in the last few years, and also in groups, and I can say that your tips are good ones! I'm proud to say that I'm "plane smart" and can travel well by plane when so many people can't. xx

  5. great tips! I always try to only have a carry-on if I can, to avoid bag check fees and waiting for the bag after the flight blah. i'm having a pet-themed link up today if you want to link up any recent doggy-related posts! :)
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

  6. I am the worst when it comes to over packing, it gets me EVERY time.

  7. Great tips! i havent been on a plane alone ever in my life and on the 29th im flying alone from florida to texas im so excited flying is my favorite thing but youre right everyone is confused and will just stop in the middle of the airport to look around (that frustrates me). Gum is the best trick i get the worst ear popping!

  8. i love and agree with all your tips! great post! i also love the window seat but do give up my seat as well if i see that my seat will bring a family closer together. i don't have any funny flying tales... just one time the entire dc united team (dc's soccer league) was on it and i saw next to one of them.. (and then found out that another member lived in my old apartment complex..!)

  9. I like the tidbits about different people you've met on the plane.

  10. My mom and I were just talking about this the other day - you sort of have to pay it forward when you sit on planes! My most common flights are milwaukee to Boston, which is just about two hours. I never hesitate to swap seats or change around, since hey, if it can help a family or stressed parent out, I can totally deal with whatever it is for two hours. (Unless it's just some random who wants my window seat.) (No. Mine.)

  11. These are great tips, especially considering I've traveled a lot by air myself over the years. I may have to do a similar post to this when I get back from my own travels!


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