Tips to make air travel easier, even fun

We contend with body scanners, limited bags, and sending our loved ones off through security alone. Tips on how to make it all a bit easier to handle


VISTA, Calif., June 12, 2015 – We live in a world where there are so many modes of transportation, all of which have changed over the years. One mode is long-distance travel, leaving us few options. We can take the train, take a cruise or fly. Out of the three, flying has the most direct route and may even be the most affordable and quickest.

However, post 9/11 the flying industry changed.

Airports were once places where we could just walk in, hang out, take a few over-packed bags with all of our “necessities” and escort our loved ones to their boarding gate, waving, blowing kisses and watching them fly away.

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We now contend with body scanners, taking limited bags and sending our loved ones to fly solo. Safety is at the forefront in travel.

Airlines and airports still offer many things to passengers to make their trip a much more pleasant experience despite the restrictions that make sure we are safe.

For example, ticketing can be done via the Internet with a text message boarding pass sent to our phones. We no longer have to remove our jewelry to pass through the body scanners. At least one airport has tablets available on tables, and there are charging stations near the gates to charge our electronics.

Not much for the trade-off in saying good-bye to our loved ones, but we can at least use Skype or FaceTime before we take off.

Aside from objective safety and enjoyment , there is subjective safety and enjoyment. The subjective safety is individualistic. It’s the things we do to make the trip for ourselves safer and more enjoyable. How much thought do we put into overcoming the nuisances of air travel? There are some things pertaining to safety we should consider. Environmental factors can be a burden. Airborne illnesses can pose a problem. To prevent some of these, we can take our vitamins, get plenty of sleep and eat right before we take our trip. Having a healthy immune system can prevent colds and other airborne illnesses.

Speaking of environmental challenges, have you experienced the pre-flight aroma of the nasty exhaust system? It the one where your eyes almost water and the smell smothers you with dread. We may not be able to prevent the plane cabin from a quick response ventilation, but there are a couple of things we can do. We can open the air the flow valves directly above each seat. We can bring a mask or handkerchief to cover our mouths and noses. Or we can do both.

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Another environmental burden can be the temperature. The fluctuations range from outside airport temp, inside airport temp and on board plane temp. They can vary significantly. Things we can do to keep an even temp setting for ourselves is to know our bodies and prepare ahead of time for that. If you get hot easily, dress light but bring a sweater or jacket. If you get cold easily, dress warm and bring a sweater or jacket. We can also bring a light blanket. This item can serve many purposes. For example, the blanket can be used to provide warmth, block out the sun, be a medical aid or cover your mouth and nose from the exhaust.

Subjective enjoyment preparation can also cause less stress and boredom. Packing wisely can make a huge difference. Items such as charging cables and headphones can keep us online, listening to our favorite music, and not disturbing fellow fliers. We can bring crossword puzzle books, magazines, and writing paper. Our time can be used to journal our travels, write a letter, send a postcard or get up to date on articles we have been skimping on.

Keeping a bag packed with these items, along with a travel set of hygiene items, can also reduce the stress of last-minute packing.

Having everything you need in a carry-on can be accomplished. When packing clothes, it can be helpful to pack interchangeable items that can be worn over an average three-day trip. For example, a pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. To save space, roll your shirts and jeans. To prevent wrinkles in your attire, use thin plastic, such as a dry cleaning bag, over each shirt prior to rolling them. Outside of your carry-on, wear one pair of comfortable shoes for the duration of your journey, use the clothes you are wearing to the airport to interchange with the items in your carry-on and wear or carry your sweater or jacket.

By doing these things you can save time and luggage weight. This will also allow extra room in your bag for items you have purchased to take home.

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Air travel preparation can keep us safer, make the adventure more enjoyable, and reduce globe-trotting inconveniences.

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