As a follow-up to the 101 Pre-Trip Ritual for the Discerning Traveller, this list here features some of my quirky travel practices prior to boarding a plane. 🙂
11 Travel Tips Prior to Boarding That Plane
1. Pre-empt & Avoid the Hassle / Dirty Looks
This depends alot on the strictness of rules in the airport that you are in but most are stringent about checks on laptops, jackets, headgears, belts with metal etc. You can always carry your jacket,cap or items with metal (provided it is not restricted items!) in your carry-on bag when going through immigration checks and scanning. This will definitely save time from removing articles of clothes or worst, causing a line-up where people cast you dirty looks!
2. Things You Should Not Check In
It is better to be safe than sorry. Pack your valuables or items that are fragile in your hand-carry bag instead of your check-in luggages. This might seem oxymoron but I am always amazed by the valuable / fragile items that people check-in! Also, consider hand-carry for your phone charger (and perhaps the camera charger).
3. Personalise Your Luggage
There are so many identical luggages that it is very easy to mistake others for yours and vice versa. For easy identification and hassle-free retrieval of your luggages from the baggage belt, try personalising your luggage with ribbons, stickers or luggage tags. To be safe, it is always good to have 2 luggage tags – one on the outside and the other inside the bag.
4. Never Underestimate / Overlook Security
Again, another tip that all of you should probably know but… do you practise this? You should ALWAYS lock your check-in luggages. Regardless of the items that you are checking-in, just LOCK that bag! You never know when you are unlucky enough for some unethical crooks to stuff illegal items in it or other unforeseen circumstances might occur (trust me, not locking your bags is extremely dangerous when travelling to airports in 3rd world countries).
5. Onboard Essentials
Being a Singaporean, of course I am “Kiasu”. “Kiasu” is a hokkien term that translates as “being afraid to lose”. In my humble opinion, it simply means for me to prepare my essentials for a comfortable flight. My onboard essentials include: eyedrops, sweets (battle the air pressure during take-off and landing + it can be your saviour to stop that crying toddler), moisturiser (to stay moisturised of course!), socks (that’s only because my usual footwear = sandals), cap and sunglasses (instead of eye mask to be aware of my surroundings).
For long-haul flights that required check-in luggages, additional onboard essentials that I will never do without are: toiletries, neck pillow and an extra set of clothing (just in case the check-in luggage gets lost).
6. Check, Check & Further Checks
One can never be too careful and it is always good practice to do a final bag check prior to leaving your home. Common restricted onboard items (i.e. scissors, army knives, nail cutters etc) should all be packed in your check-in luggage if you can’t bear to leave them at home. If you are unsure what items are restricted, please log on to the relevant airport’s website.
7. Early Bird Catches the Worm!
Even if you have done your online check-in, it helps to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure. In the unfortunate event whereby you forgot something (touch wood!), you might even have time to rectify the situation! For budget travellers, being early means that you have greater chances of getting your ideal seats! 😉
8. Seat Request – Good Manners Work
If you have not already selected your seats (I’m usually too lazy to do so), you may do so when you are checking in and do it with good manners PLEASE. Being polite works well enough for me, even when it comes to budget carrier (that usually charges people for choosing seats online!). For convenience, I tend to request for an aisle seat during my solo travels. On the rare occasion, a window seat is great for the privacy and great view.
9. Know Your Bargains
Just because the airport offers duty-free products does not mean that it is actually a bargain. Before you start going on a shopping spree, it is best to know the prices of items that you covet! I must admit though that one can sometimes find really GOOD DEALS at the airport!
10. Staying Hydrated
I always carry an empty bottle with me through the security check and proceed to fill it with water at the water-cooler (usually at a corner of the waiting area) prior to boarding the plane. This is especially helpful when taking budget carriers that charges for drinks onboard the flight.
11. Hygiene Matters
I hate to say this, but seriously? Steer clear from the flight blankets or pillows unless you are desperate (it can be very cold after all). My best advice would be to bring your jacket or scarf, or dress appropriately for the flight ahead!
The key to a happy trip (with minimal hassle) lies in planning and more planning. With the above said and done, you can kick back and enjoy a cuppa prior to taking off. Have a great flight ahead!
Do you find the above tips useful? Is it similar to what you practise or do you have more to share? Please drop me a line! I would love to hear from you!
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