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Flying Tips from "Travel Girl"

I always resented my mother for dragging me around the world. I was born in the States, and 3 weeks later, my mom and I flew right back over to Guinea (in West Africa). I’ve been a world traveler ever since. I could recite flight safety instructions on cue, and I know all the little tricks to make life easier when weaving through airports and sitting on planes. So, if you want some tips from a so-called “travel girl”, then read on.

1) ALWAYS dress for comfort. I can’t tell you how important it is to be comfortable while on a plane. Honestly, flying is not the ideal place to meet attractive people anyways, so take it from me that really doesn’t matter. Yes, I’ve had encounters with quite a few cute guys over the years, but I’ve always managed to find new ones. My go-to outfit for a comfortable travel experience is: sweatpants, a loose top (short-sleeved), a sweatshirt, loafers or crocks (something you can easily slip off while on the plane), and last but not least, a comfy pair of socks. Oh, and if you get cold really easily, I’d recommend a scarf or a nice soft hat.

2) READ the safety instructions (if you’ve never flown before). I may know them by heart, but if you’ve never flown before, take my advice, and read those safety instructions. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Oh, and if you’re new at flying, I’d suggest NOT sitting in an exit row.

3) WEIGH your luggage. I can’t stress how important it is to weigh your luggage. Believe me, you don’t want to be at the check-in area and told that your bags are overweight. The result will be terrific. It’s amazing how many times I’ve had bags that were underweight at home and then suddenly gained 5 pounds on the way to the airport. So, what I’d suggest is this: buy a luggage scale. They’re super useful. The last thing you want is to be going through your bag in the middle of the airport (yes, that has happened to me… several times).

4) PUT vaseline up your nose. Yes, you read that right. I know it sounds weird, and maybe even kind of gross, but it serves a great purpose. Vaseline blocks bacteria from entering your nasal passage (which gets really dry when you’re up in the air). You know how you get colds after you fly? Well, vaseline up your nose helps prevent that little problem. You’ll thank me later. And if you’re embarrassed about doing it in your seat, then go to the bathroom.

5) DRINK lots of water. The fact is that you get very, very dehydrated when you fly, so make sure you keep hydrated. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which means they make you go to the bathroom a lot, and you loose all of the water in your system. So, if possible, avoid all caffeinated and alcoholic products. A coke or two won’t kill you, but water is just so much better. Trust me.

6) CHEW gum during take off and landing. My least favorite parts of the flight are take-off and landing. It’s not because they’re scary (which they can be), but because my ears are really sensitive to changes in pressure. The best trick is to chew gum at those times because the movement of your jaw (also known as chewing) helps return your ears back to normal. If you don’t have gum, swallowing is the next best thing.

7) TRUST plane food. I know some of it looks sketchy and gross, but truth is, it’s all pretty harmless. Always try what’s in front of you, and if you don’t like it, leave it be. Personally, I prefer chicken because, well, it’s usually the best. The companies that usually serve the best food are: KLM, Delta, Turkish Airways and Qantas.

8) NEVER wear your contacts on a flight. If you have extremely bad eyesight – like I do – and prefer to wear your contacts, this is one of those times when it’s best not to. If you’ve ever experienced falling asleep with your contacts in, you’ll know what I mean. Wearing your glasses will allow you to remove them easily when you want to sleep and not cause pain when you wake back up.

9) BRING earplugs and a sleep mask. As a former girl scout, my mother taught me to “always be prepared”. Now, I don’t usually sleep on planes (because I can’t), but when I do, it’s because I’ve remembered to bring my earplugs and sleep mask. Planes are loud and people decide to turn lights on at the most inopportune moments, so if you want to sleep, make sure you bring along those two things that will assure your rest.

10) TALK to the people next to you (if they look nice). You can usually tell by a person’s body language, or the ways they interact with others around them, if they’ll provide good conversation. I remember one flight that I was on very clearly. I was sitting between a very large man and a tiny little old Irish lady. The big guy fell asleep on top of me (because he took up half my seat) and the Irish lady was nice enough to lift her armrest and let me scoot over to take up half her seat (since she only took up half of it anyways). She and I still talk to this day. We e-mail back and forth at least three or four times a year. So, take it from me, you can meet lifelong friends on long 14-hour flights.

So, there you go. I hope these suggestions have proved useful to you. Remember, I never lie when it comes to plane advice because I believe everyone needs it. Oh, and don’t be a snooty traveler, people hate those people. Happy traveling!



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