Traveling has never been less easy. Fortunately, untold numbers of intrepid travelers continue to trot the globe appreciating that the joy of the journey trounces the irritation of a few hours almost every time.
I was lucky this weekend flying from Boston to Paris, and I got through security quickly and hassle- free. Before taking off (since I had arrived early anticipating long lines), I jotted down a few of my tried-and-true travel tips with the hopes of making your next air travel experience as pleasant as possible.
1. If you are traveling internationally, pack only one checked suitcase per traveler. Extra luggage is still allowed, but each additional bag comes with a price. (Note: Some American airlines charge for each checked bag when you are flying within the US).
2. Weigh your bag at home. Make sure it falls within your airline’s designated weight limit, unless you are prepared to pay a supplement (often upwards of $50 per bag, depending on your airline).
3. You can still bring a carry-on weighing up to 40 pounds (make sure to check the approved measurements from your airline website), a personal item such as a backpack, and even a jacket!
4. Show up early. You never know how long security will take these days. Bring a good book in case you have spare time.
5. Bring an empty plastic water bottle. You can fill it up at a water fountain on the other side of security. You might confound the security agents with your empty container, but you will save yourself a few dollars in overpriced bottled water fees. Drinking tap water is still permitted and still free.
6. If you’re carrying on, put all of your liquids (measuring less than 3 ounces each) into ONE transparent baggie. Airports occasionally provide them, but you might want to bring an extra just in case. Ziplock bags are now worth their weight in gold at the airport.
7. Put on your favorite funky fuzzy socks, the ones you don’t care if the whole world sees, and work them proudly as you go through security sans chaussures.
8. If you need to bring baby formula, go for it. This is acceptable, as are prescription meds. Luckily, it’s still ok to be sick and feed your kids.
9. If you are sick, be considerate of fellow passengers and stay clear whenever possible. No more open mouthed coughing please!
10. Make sure your name, address, and local contact information are on all your bags. Doing so will help to ensure that you and your bags all end up at the same destination (sooner or later).
11. Bring food. These days, many flights (even long international ones) only offer pay-per-meals. Food is still allowed; take advantage while you can.
12. Bring in your carry-on: a toothbrush, mini-size toothpaste, moisturizer and hand-sanitizer. These days, most drug stores sell sample sizes. After an overnight flight, they’re a great way to quickly freshen up. Just remember: less then 3 ounces.
13. Pack light. Less is more. We often take more then we end up needing. And remember, wherever you are going, laundry services are almost always an option… as is shopping!
14. No light-colored cloth suitcases. No matter how stylish it is, it will no longer be light after your flight. It will get thrown around and muddied up. Last year, I was so pleased with my nifty bright orange case (always easy to spot on the conveyor belt). But after one flight, the bag was no longer nifty—it was nasty and streaked with black grease. I then realized there is a reason for the omnipresent black luggage. If you do have a dear valise of color, procure a washable bag to protect it with, or wrap it in plastic before boarding (not ideal for the planet).
15. And it goes without saying: carry nothing potentially dangerous on to the plane with you, as it will be taken away. Click here for a detailed list of items not to bring on-board.
16. Smile. It will help you charm your way through security and customs, and it just might make you feel better (and the people around you too)!
Traveling still makes me think about the pre-9/11, hand-sanitizer, foot-bomber, shoes-off-at-security, 3-ounce-of-liquid-in-a-Ziplock-baggie era we’re now living in. Once, many years ago, I convinced my 100% New Yorker city-dweller friend to meet me for a camping trip in Maine. He flew from New York to Portland with just a medium sized backpack that he brought with him in the cabin and placed in the overhead bin. Naturally, the backpack was full of his camping gear, including one full-sized wooden-handled ax; an essential object for cutting wood for campfires, of course. He made it all the way to me, and Maine, without a hitch, or should I say a hack!
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Written by Erica Berman for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.