Hacks To Make Your Flight So Much Easier

Flying can be a hassle. From long security lines to boring layovers, there are plenty of reasons to dread your upcoming flight no matter how much you may be looking forward to your vacation. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that you can do to make your flight so much better. Whether you're looking for tips on what to wear, what to pack, or where to sit to avoid a crying baby, these hacks will help you travel with ease. 

Apply for an expedited screening program

If you find yourself traveling a lot, you might want to consider applying for a program that lets you skip those long security lines. The costs vary from program to program with the most expensive one costing $100 for five years. Even if you fly just once a year, $20 is a small price to pay to get to your flight with less hassle, ensuring that you'll be relaxed when it's time to board. The good news is that some of the programs even work for skipping the lines at passport control and customs for international flights. The application timeline varies by program, so if you have an upcoming flight, there may still be time to get your application submitted.

Choose your seat carefully

Motion sickness is never fun, but it's even worse when you're stuck on a plane. If you're prone to an upset stomach and queasiness while traveling, try to select a seat near the wings of the plane. Since you will be closer to the center of mass, you won't experience quite as much turbulence as you would sitting near the front or the back of the plane, especially during takeoff and landing. Where's the worst spot on the plane for turbulence? The tail bumps and wiggles the most, so avoid sitting there if you're prone to motion sickness.

Avoid large meals before your flight

Another way to cut down on motion sickness is to avoid eating a large meal before boarding the plane. While it can be tempting to fill up before the flight (especially if you hate airplane food) a too-full stomach can make motion sickness much worse. Avoiding heavy meals several hours before the flight can help you curb the effects. If you're still worried, studies show that a cup of ginger tea can also help to soothe your stomach.

Pack a neck pillow

If you've never tried a neck pillow, you're missing out. I was a neck pillow skeptic for years. I thought they looked dorky, they took up a lot of space, and I have trouble sleeping sitting up so what's the point? I finally changed my mind a couple years ago on a flight to Tokyo. The pillow was a lot more comfortable than I had anticipated, and I was able to get in a few hours of sleep. 

If you're concerned about not having enough room in your carry-on, you can always get an inflatable neck pillow that can be tucked away neatly and inflated on the plane.

Double check TSA packing guidelines

While you likely have these memorized if you fly frequently, it never hurts to double check the TSA's packing guidelines. No one wants to get held up at the security line because they accidentally packed too large of a bottle of shampoo. Make sure you don't have any banned items in your bag and that nothing in your suitcase exceeds size limits. Not only will these things get thrown out by the TSA, but you'll also waste precious minutes and potentially miss your flight.

Ask if there is an upgrade available

Never underestimate the importance of asking nicely for something. If you can't face the thought of another trip flying economy, ask if there's an upgrade available. While there's no guarantee that you'll get bumped up to business class, you never know, especially if there are a lot of empty seats on the plane. Just remember to turn on the charm; someone who is in a good mood is far more likely to give you that upgrade. According to the travel experts at Sky Scanner, other tips for getting upgraded include arriving early and traveling during quiet times, both of which will likely make your travel less stressful, even if you don't get upgraded.

Opt out of bulkhead seating

While it can be tempting to get that seat in bulkhead (where there is a partition in front of you rather than additional seating) if only for the extra leg room, you may want to reconsider — especially if you're on a long flight. If there is a baby on board, it's most likely going to be crying next to you in the bulkhead seating. These are the only seats where a bassinet can be safely secured, so if you want to avoid sitting next to a fussy infant, pick a different seat.

Get an airline credit card

If you're using a credit card, why not rack up those frequent flyer miles while you shop? A lot of airlines offer credit cards that reward your spending with miles that can be redeemed for flights. You apply for these cards just as you would any other credit card and the bonuses you earn can go a long way towards reducing the cost of your next flight. It's a win-win. 

Just be sure to read reviews for different cards, some are better than others when it comes to limiting your flights with blackout dates and other restrictions. 

Join a frequent flyer program

Even if you don't think that you'll be flying a lot in the future, it never hurts to enroll in a frequent flyer program. Airlines offer this service for free, so you may as well go for it. Miles accrued in frequent flyer programs can be used towards future flights, so you could be looking at a substantial discount the next time you go on vacation or fly home for Thanksgiving. This does mean that in order to accrue miles you'll need to stay loyal to a particular airline, but it could be worth the points you'll accrue. It's basically free money.

Pack a power strip

Facing a long layover? Pack a power strip in your carry-on. It can be hard to find one power outlet in an airport, let alone multiple outlets to charge your laptop, cell phone, and tablet. Carrying a power strip with you cuts down on the stress of finding multiple outlets or having to charge just one device at a time. Plus, if you find that all the outlets are in use, you could offer to share your power strip with someone who is already plugged in, that way you can both use the airport juice. Instead of roaming all over the airport looking for an outlet you can sit down at the gate, plug in your power strip, and relax.

Check into an airport lounge

If you're going to be waiting for your flight for a while, nothing beats an airport lounge. Usually restricted to frequent flyers with VIP membership, these lounges offer a cozy place to relax in peace and quiet, get a drink, and even take a shower. If you don't want to pay the steep cost for a membership, take a look at services that offer day passes so you can fly like a VIP without spending like one.

Wear a pair of slipper socks

When you're on a long flight, you want to be as comfortable as possible and that generally means kicking off your shoes. Of course, you'll have to put shoes on if you're going to be walking down the plane's aisles, and having to put your shoes back on and take them off repeatedly can be a hassle. To avoid this, pack a pair of slipper socks and put them on once you board the plane. Your feet will be cozy and protected for the rest of the flight.

Dress in layers

Dressing for a flight can be difficult. Aside from not being sure what the weather will be like when you arrive at your destination, you'll also probably face wildly varying temperatures between the airport and the plane. Getting through airport security can work up a sweat, but air-conditioned plane cabins can get chilly. In order to ensure all-day comfort, dress in layers that can be easily added or removed. By being ready for any temperature, you won't have to worry about shivering or sweating.