It is no secret that the golden era of flying is long gone. Unless you found a cheap flight in first class or fly one of those swanky airlines – like Singapore Air – you are relegated to a cramped seat in coach, possibly wedged between two strangers. They probably do not want to share their shoulder with your head as you nod off. They will also be none too pleased as you elbow them in the ribs trying to put your coat back on when it seems the cabin has turned into a walk-in freezer or have to look at your bare feet as you try to get comfortable. So how can you conveniently make your space your own without annoying those around you?
The air inside a plane is dry and moisture-sucking. When you start to feel that tickle in your throat, be prepared. Pack some throat lozenges, hard candies or gum in your bag and grab a bottle of water before you board the plane. Drops with Vitamin C are great, because they moisten your throat and help to boost your immune system at the same time.
Layer up, because it will help you pack less, and will also prepare you for any travel conditions inside the airplane cabin. Sometimes it is pretty warm, but other times it is quite cool. You never know what you are in for, so planning for both is smart. Even if it is warm, you may end up next to a passenger who puts their air on and freezes your arm half to death. A sweater over a T-shirt will definitely help in that situation.
Bring along some snacks in order to save money over those snack boxes and also to tide you over until the food cart comes around. Very long flights generally have food service, but maybe you will start getting hunger pangs before the meal is served. Do not get cranky. Just pull out something you stashed in your bag instead.
Bring some slip-on shoes that are comfortable and non-binding. Folding flats are great and easily packable, as are loafer-like slippers for men. On long trips, you will be happy for the relaxed feel and will not feel weird wearing them on trips to the bathroom, or be mad that you have to put your shoes back on before you get up.
If there are things you want mid-flight, make sure you put them in a separate bag to put under your seat. There is nothing worse than getting all settled in and realizing your magazines or your iPad is in the overhead bin. Also, nobody appreciates it when you get up and start wrestling with bags to get that one thing you think you need and pull everything out to put it back again. Carry a tote or messenger bag with your entertainment and snacks and keep it handy.
When you know you have everything you need with you to keep you happy, healthy and comfortable, your flight will be that much more enjoyable. When they see how prepared you are, you might even inspire others around you to add to their packing list for the next time they travel.
About the Author
Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and two budget travel books, including Secrets to Summer Savings. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like FareCompare.com, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.