Once upon a time, all you needed was a desire to go away, you book your travel plans, grab your passport, money and throw a few clothes in a bag and off you go. Simple, right? Now, travel has become complicated, confusing, exhausting and unpleasant.
My last trip had me convinced: I hate travel. But we can take measures to lower our travel hate barometer…
I Hate Travel Because of Extreme Measures
- Get a COVID-19 test (ouch!)
- Strip (more strangers have seen me naked than a having seen an actual stripper)
- Have strangers rummage through your belongings and then items like water, hand sanitizer, hand cream, even toothpaste get tossed out if not the proper size
- Get packed into a plane like sardines, with no room to breathe or move
- Only get a drink and pretzels, no matter what class you’re traveling, because of COVID
Dang; come on, people!
Hate Travel: Business Class for Nought
I recently returned to Colombia from the U.S. and I was in for a shock! I made sure to book a business class ticket because I thought I’d have a better experience. WRONG!
The only thing different was, I got to board the plane in the first group, and the seats were larger and had more space. But that’s it!… (sigh)
As a result, I decided to find ways to reduce the agony of air travel as much as possible and here is what I found:
Hate Travel: Mitigate the Pain
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #1: Get to the airport earlier than you think you need
Even though I arrived for my flight 21/2 hours before departure, the airline was experiencing all kinds of issues. Reduced staff, computer issues, and long lines. Result? I missed my flight, and it took me over 18 hours to get to my destination. Whew, chile, that was a long day!
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #2: Apply for TSA pre-clearance
When you apply for TSA-pre-check membership, you can bypass all the taking off of shoes, belts, pulling out your laptop, etc and zoom through security. No more stripping down.
The only downfall, it’s a 5-year membership which costs $120. However, if you are traveling a lot, it’s well worth the investment. You can’t get that time back and your travel will be a lot less hassle.
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #3: Get Your COVID-19 Test and Documents
Some countries are still requiring a PCR test to enter the country. The U.S. has such a requirement when entering. Find your location, get your test (yes, it’s a pain in the nose) and have your test results handy. It will speed things up at immigration and check-in.
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #4: What Not to Put in Carry-On
One of my biggest frustrations is the inconsistency of airlines and TSA agents to let you know what you can and cannot take in your carry-on bag.
Some items are common sense and are posted at security checkpoints. Things such as guns, knives, explosives, are no-brainers and common sense. But then it comes to items that are subjective only to the agent.
I recently had my skin cream that was prescribed by my doctor taken when going through security in Colombia. My son had his toothpaste taken on another flight. I almost caused an international incident!
Before you require diplomatic immunity, it’s best to know what is prohibited. Here is a list provided by American Airlines.
Then, if you want to keep your stuff, DON’T TAKE IT IN YOUR CARRY-ON! If you can’t get a miniature version of your shampoo, lotions, hand creams, sanitizers, and the likes, just don’t bring it.
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #5: Luggage and Fees
This is a WHOLE revenue scheme, I mean stream, to be sure. Checking luggage can cost you anywhere from $30 – $200 and can really add up if you are traveling with family and kids.
One thing I noticed on all my flights, the airlines asked for volunteers to check their luggage at the gate for FREE! I got to a point I deliberately didn’t check some of my bags, knowing I could do it for free at the gate. To be fair, I don’t know if this is the case for all international airlines, but it could be worth checking out. This could save you a ton of money!
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #6: PYOS – Pack Your Own Snacks
If you don’t want to pass out or be concerned about getting something healthy to eat on your flight, you’d better pack your own food! I thought I would faint from hunger by the time I got to my first layover. After dining in luxury on my first class leg on water and chips, I was looking for ANYTHING to eat.
Be careful what you wish for! Several airport restaurants were closed, and the one I found near my departing gate was full, of course. The food was not good and overpriced, geesh!
So my advice, do as your mom did when you were a kid. Take a little lunch bag with healthy snacks, a sandwich or some diced fruit. Your stomach, wallet and attitude will thank you.
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #7: Be Comfortable
If you don’t have TSA pre-check and have to start your striptease, wear slip-on shoes, take off jewelry that may set off the metal detector. Ladies, check those under-wire bras, or you may be in for a surprise pat-down.
Note: DOUBLE CHECK you’ve collected your small items! So many cell phones, watches, wallets passengers forget at the security check. This can really be a travel downer.
Don’t Hate Travel Tip #8: Bring ALL of Your Patience
Because of large numbers of people traveling due to cabin fever for over a year, going through customs and immigration at a snail’s pace, watching people screaming about their freedom while they fight or harass flight attendants about wearing a mask, you need to have the patience of Job.
But it can be done, and it will allow you to have a much better experience during your travel
*********** WEAR A MASK, IT’S THE LAW! ***********
Anything we can do to make airline travel less stressful and more enjoyable, the better and the more excited we will be about traveling.
These were my top-of-mind tips. I’m sure you have some to share as well. Let us hear about them. Where will you land?
by: Gail Turner Brown