15 things I learned about air travel after traveling the world for a year
- I've taken more than 30 flights in 20 countries since March 2018.
- Traveling for so long has led to lots of mistakes and realizations about how to make every flight better.
- Some of my most important tips include carrying petroleum jelly to mitigate dry plane air, choosing flag carrier airlines whenever possible, and using Skyscanner's "Everywhere" feature to get cheap flights.
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Over the last year, I have flown a lot: I've taken more than 30 flights in 20 countries since March 2018.That's a lot of time in security lines, in airport lounges, in cramped plane seats, breathing stale, recycled air, and watching movies that I never would in "real" life.Advertisement
Still, with every flight I take, I feel that flutter of excitement and anticipation as we get ready to take off. And, yes, it may be weird, but I get excited about finding out how above or below the mediocre baseline an airline's food is.
I've made more than a few rookie mistakes, even after visiting dozens of countries. Last August, I got fleeced for over $100 in fees on a flight with a budget airline. You never stop learning.
Here are the air travel tips and things I've learned after a year traveling around the world.
1. Before you book a flight with a budget airline, make sure you know any and all extra fees you may have to pay.
2. When in doubt, book with a flag carrier.Advertisement
3. Emirates Airlines is, by far, the best airline I've flown on.
4. Carry petroleum jelly on planes to line your nostrils. It relieves headaches and dry nasal passages due to dry plane air on long flights.Advertisement
5. The biggest determining factor in my preference for one airline over another is how new the plane I'm flying on is.
6. The biggest difference between economy and business class is the ability to sleep comfortably on a plane. It's up to you to decide whether that's worth the extra cost.Advertisement
7. If you want to avoid jet lag, slowly adjust your sleep schedule in the days before your flight to correspond with your destination.
8. If you are frequently traveling internationally, getting Priority Pass is essential.Advertisement
9. But in my experience, Priority Pass is nowhere near as good if you are only traveling in the US.
10. Carrying a technology "Dopp kit" has reduced the stress I feel on flights because I can stay organized.Advertisement
11. If you don't want to pay $100 for Global Entry, use Mobile Passport.
12. If you aren't too picky about your vacation destination, use Skyscanner's "Everywhere" search to find the cheapest flights.Advertisement
13. Always carry slippers (free hotel slippers work great).
14. When booking "hacker" multi-city fares, make sure the layover is long enough to get through customs or changing terminals to make your flight.Advertisement
15. If you don't like your seat, ask for a better one at check-in or the gate.
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