10 Important Airport Hacks You Need To Know For Busy Travel Days

If you are flying during any busy time, from the holiday season to regular busy days/hours the key to avoiding stress and making it to the other end unscathed is to utilize these professional traveler, tried and tested airport travel hacks.

1. Always Check In Online

Checking in online 24 hours prior to your flight gives you several advantages. You are less likely to be bumped from your flight and you will already have your boarding pass. When you arrive at the airport unless you are checking a full sized suitcase you can move straight to the TSA checkpoint.

Airlines will let you gate check oversized bags for free, so you can save yourself $30 checked luggage fee by doing it at the gate.

2. Arrive Early

You may be able to get away with arriving later for flights during non-busy times, but during high traffic periods plan on arriving at the airport 2-3 hours early. The most stressful parts of flying on busy travel days are getting stuck in long lines either at check in or at the TSA check point. It doesn’t hurt to have some extra time up your sleeve – worst case scenario you have a coffee or something to eat once you have gone through the TSA check point.

3. Use The TSA App

Use the TSA app to see how long the wait times are. If they are looking excessive you can leave home earlier than planned.

4. Pack Your Carry-On Properly

One of the reasons that TSA gets so backed up is that travelers don’t think ahead when packing their carry-on luggage.

image via Smartertravel.com

If you don’t have TSA pre check you know up front that your liquids and laptops will have to be taken out of your bag before going through the x-ray machine. Save yourself (and everyone else) time and aggravation by having your liquids/skin care/makeup products packed together in see through bags packed at the top of your carry on.

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

5. Be Ready For TSA

Another reason that lines get so backed up at the TSA checkpoint is travelers arriving not ready to proceed through.

*If you don’t have TSA Pre Check be sure to wear shoes that slip on and off easily.

* Remove all jewelry, belts, small change from your pockets, jackets, hats, scarves prior to entering the TSA line. Ideally do this before you leave home, and put on belts and jewelry after passing through the xray machines.

*Have your bags and coats ready to go through the xray prior to getting to the front of the line.

If you watch frequent flyers/professional travelers you will see that they have all of this thought out and prepared prior to arriving at the checkpoint.

6. Turn Left

Most people are right handed, so after having their I.D and boarding pass checked they turn right to the x-ray machines. The lines are always quicker to the left.

7. Bring Snacks

On busy travel days and busy flight times the lines at the terminal snack bars can get long. It is much easier and less stressful to bring your own snacks and just proceed to the gate.

RELATED POST: HOW TO LOOK FABULOUS AFTER A LONG FLIGHT

8. Bring A Phone Charger

Always arrive at the airport with a fully charged phone and a fully charged phone charger. You can’t rely on their being power socket/charging stations available, and even if there are phone charging ports at your seat on the plane there is no guarantee they will be working.

9. Bring A Refillable Water Bottle

Bring an empty water bottle and fill it at a filling station once you have cleared TSA. Should you encounter delays you will be glad you did!

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10. Gate Check Bags

Most domestic flights now are fully booked which means they run out of overhead bin space. Save yourself the hassle of wandering up and down the aisle trying to find space for your carry-on bag by checking it at the gate.

There is no fee for gate checked bags and they get walked directly down to your plane, so unless you have a connecting flight you can be relatively certain your bag will arrive when you do.

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How To Avoid Getting Sick When You Fly This Winter

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If you are planning any air travel this holiday season or winter you need to have a game plan in place to prevent catching something nasty inflight.

 Airplanes are hermetically sealed germ incubators. Whatever time of year you are flying you are always at risk of contracting whichever virus or infection the person next to you is carrying or the person before you left behind. Winter just seems to make it worse.

I have spoken before on this blog about getting a vicious upper respiratory infection on a flight to Australia several years ago. I thought I was going to die it was so bad. The doctor in Noosa who treated me told me that several times per week he sees upper respiratory infections like this, caught on planes. He also gave me advice on how to make sure it doesn’t happen again, which I will re-share in this post.

I have had multiple friends and acquaintances in the past three years contract the highly contagious Norovirus. Some on cruise ships, some on planes. All of them have had gastrointestinal problems and mad diarrhea for months on end, and have been very, very sick.

RELATED POST: AIRPLANE GORGEOUS _ HOW TO LOOK AND FEEL FABULOUS WHEN YOU LAND

This got me to thinking about all the people traveling by air this holiday season and this winter, and what you can do to prevent getting sick, allowing for the fact that no doubt multiple people on your flight will be sending their cold, flu and heaven only knows what other illnesses through the recycled air.

Before You Fly

Wellness begins before you board your flight. Staying on top of a few items can make all the difference in the world.

Sweet Dreams

Try to get a decent night’s sleep the last couple of nights before you fly. A tired body is more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Avoid Bad Foods

You already know this but it is worth repeating. Foods that are high in sugar and/or salt, and junk foods should all be avoided at least in the 24 hours prior to flying. Airports are notoriously full of eateries selling high sugar, high sodium and essentially junk foods. Eating these means your body has to work overtime to break them down and deal with them instead of using its energy to fight off germs.

RELATED POST: 8 CRUCIAL THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE

Load Up On C

The days before you fly, the days you are away, and the first few days you are back home you should load up on extra Vitamin C. Take much more than the recommended daily dose – Vitamin C is the best fighter vitamin, and can be your best friend when you are exposed to colds and flus.

In-flight Tricks

There are also several important steps to take once you are on the plane. Some might surprise you!

Disinfect

This is the big tip the doctor in Australia drilled into me when I was so sick. Take disinfectant wipes onboard the plane with you and disinfect everything.

Arm rests, seat belt buckle, tray table- front and back, head rest. Everything you will touch during your flight. Assume the person occupying your seat before you had something highly contagious, and clean that thing down!

Airplanes don’t get disinfected in between flights. At best the tray table might get a wipe down overnight, but judging by the early morning flights I’ve been doing, don’t hold your breath!

Trust me, just one savage sickness caught on a plane and you too will be a convert! In all the years since I got sick on that flight I have never, ever boarded a flight and not disinfected everything. I couldn’t care less if it makes me look weird.

image via NY Times

Bathroom Rules

If you are on a shorter flight do whatever you can to avoid using the airplane lavatory. Pee before you fly and then hold on til you land if at all possible. Airplane toilets are more germy than you think.

On top of all the infections waiting to happen via the bathroom, recent studies have shown the water you wash your hands with is actually quite perilous too. Dangerous levels of Ecoli and Salmonella have been showing up in the water tanks, so dangerous in fact that it was recommended you not wash your hands, instead opt for handwipes and hand sanitizer.

RELATED POST: HOW TO AVOID BEDBUGS WHEN YOU TRAVEL

Hydrate

Before, during and after your flight drink loads of water. Part of the reason we get travel fatigue (that exhausting, headachy, feel like crap thing that happens after flying) is because we dehydrate so much in flight. I have read that we lose an additional 8 ounces of water for every hour we are in the air.

Either buy a bottle of water once you have cleared the TSA checkpoint or bring an empty bottle with you and fill it at any of the filling stations inside the terminal

I often add Airborne or EmergenceC to bottled water when I fly, just for the extra boost of the good stuff.

Hose Your Nose

Once you are in flight the pressurized cabin of the plane makes the air really dry. Dry air makes you more susceptible to colds, so doctors recommend using a nasal spray to keep the area hydrated.

Nasal sprays are also super helpful to travelers who suffer from allergies, sinus problems and headaches.

Neosporin Nostrils

One of my makeup artist friends who is constantly flying across the country and around the world for work always puts Neosporin on her nostrils when the plane takes off. Her theory is that she is killing germs on their way in. I don’t know if this works or not but I have started doing it too just in case!

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK LIKE A PRO

Stay Warm

Airplanes are notoriously cold so it is important to plan ahead and stay warm while you fly. The days of taking bulky sweaters and coats when you travel are well behind us now, the better option being super fine, thin merino layers and easy to fold, super warm puffer jackets.

Although I am from New Zealand I am a relatively new convert to the benefits of merino wool. As a rule I can’t wear wool – it’s too itchy scratchy on my skin. Merino is an entirely different experience. It is super thin, incredibly warm, wicks away both moisture and smells, and can be layered. Merino is also good in warm weather as it keeps you cool, making it the perfect travel fabric. It is also super soft and doesn’t itch.

Whether you invest in a base layer long sleeve Like This One from Icebreaker or a merino dress Like This One (there are loads of merino products for men too)

Merino is a great way to help fight off catching cold on the plane. An added benefit of wearing Merino when you travel is that it is cool in warmer climes.

Puffer jackets are still a big deal for travelers. They keep you really warm, even in frigid temps (especially with a super thin Merino base layer underneath!) and they fold down to nothing, so you aren’t trying to haul a heavy coat on and off the plane with you.

I’m in love with this one (pictured) from Michael Kors. It is available on Amazon, but I found it online for much less at Nieman Marcus Last Call here. I also like this one from Calvin Klein, available on Amazon. There is a huge selection of affordable puffer jackets on Amazon, including their most famous one, which you can see here. It costs less than $50!

My Secret Weapon…

This one may be a little much for some, but again I swear by it. I don’t always get to do it but invariably make it happen before all international flights.

Vitamin IV therapy basically takes vitamin protection to an entirely new level. Whether you choose a Myers Cocktail or a Super Immune blend, the practitioner adds to saline solution intense quantities of Vitamin C, B complex, minerals, everything from zinc to magnesium to selenium – all the fighter vitamins and minerals. These then make their way directly into your bloodstream via an IV drip.

Vitamin IV therapy has all kinds of beauty benefits. Your skin will glow, the whites of your eyes go super white, your hair gets really glossy and healthy. You start feeling amazing as soon as the drip gets going. It has been my saving grace when I travel and also when I am just working an extra punishing schedule here at home.

The easiest way to find IV Vitamin therapy places is to google Myers Cocktail and your city. You can read more about Vitamin IV therapy here.

Plane Gorgeous ~ How To Look Fabulous When You Land

Stand at the arrivals gate watching international travelers pushing their luggage carts through and you will notice most people look hungover after a long flight.

Their skin is grey, hair is all over the place, clothes are crumpled and they look well worse for wear.

But you don’t need to. After an entire lifetime of flying around the world, half the time having to bounce off the plane and straight in to a business meeting, a shoot or a dinner party, I’ve learned some tricks to help you look lovely after a long flight.

Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy available in paperback and digital on Amazon.com. Bestseller Italy travel guide

Hydrate During Your Flight

That grey skinned, beat up look that most flyers get comes from dehydration. Every hour you are flying the friendly skies you are losing an extra glass of water, so the trick is to keep hydrating before, during and after your flight.

It doesn’t hurt to add in some electrolytes from a hydration packet or an EmergenceC either.

RELATED POST: HOW TO SLEEP ON A PLANE – 10 TIPS FOR SUCCESS

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Fly Makeup Free

Maybe you don’t want to cavort through the airport with a bare face, but either arrive with no makeup on or remove your makeup with some facial wipes once you take off. Wipes are notoriously destructive to the area around the eyes, so go easy on mascara that morning or don’t wear any. If you do have eye makeup on you do need to remove it gently.

Don’t fly overnight with mascara on. Even if you don’t sleep you will probably snooze a bit/go into twilight sleep, and those long luscious lashes you boarded with will look like morning after drunk girl lashes.

Facial Spray

makeup artist favorite Caudalie Beauty Elixir spray in travel size
Makeup Artists and customers alike have turned Caudalie Beauty Elixir into a cult favorite

Invest in a travel sized facial spray and spritz your skin throughout the flight. It feels nice, and helps your skin stay hydrated. Recommended product Caudalie Beauty Elixir is available in travel size at Sephora.com

RELATED POST: BUSINESS TRAVELER TRICKS – 10 Things To Know Before You Fly

Complexion Superfood

Apply a supersonic moisturizer either before your flight or after takeoff (depending on whether you board with makeup on). Weleda Skin Food is one of the most amazing deep moisturizers ever. Even after a 12 hour flight you will deplane with a glowy complexion.

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask is perfect for travelers
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask is the perfect travel companion.

Another option is Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. It wears like an intense moisturizer while you fly and leaves your skin beautifully prepped when you land. All three Summer Fridays Masks are available at Sephora.com

Keep Your Under Eyes Hydrated

The skin under your eyes dries out faster than any other skin on your body, so needs some extra loving if you are going to arrive looking fabulous. My latest favorite under eye product when I fly is this Cooling Water stick by Milk. It comes in a travel size and not only hydrates but has a very cooling effect as well.

Milk Makeup Cooling Water is the perfect undereye product when you travel. Hydrating and cooling it is ideal for long flights
Milk Makeup Cooling Water is the perfect travel companion. It both hydrates and cools tired under eyes, leaving your skin fresh and nourished. Available at Sephora.com

Allowing for the fact that every surface on a plane is a germ-fest I love that this particular product comes as a wind up stick, so your fingers don’t have to pollute your jar of expensive eye cream. It is the perfect travel companion.

Keep Your Lips Luscious

Another sign of dehydration is grey, cracky lips. Avoid this my using a good hydrating lip balm. I love the little round EOS lip balms. They travel well, don’t dry out and make your lips more cracked, aren’t too waxy, and if you apply a couple of times during your flight you will arrive with soft, lipstick ready lips.

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

Before You Land/When You Land

Either before you land or in the space between de-boarding the plane and your bags arriving into baggage claim, do a quick tidy up. Quick as in under 5 minutes.

1. Brush Your Teeth

Trust me, your breath stinks after a long flight. A fresh, minty mouth makes you feel better, and shiny, clean teeth look 1000 times better than mossy, dirty teeth!

2. Avoid Foundation And Powder

Instead of applying base or powder gently use a facial wipe to clear away any remnants of the flight, give your skin another spritz and some moisturizer. It will love you for it. If you really do need some color support use a lightweight BB or CC cream

3. Groom Your Brows

Your eyebrows are one of the most important features on your face. Give them a quick tidy up and pencil in a little color. This draws the viewer’s eye up and away from your under eyes, and makes you look polished.

RELATED POST: THE BEST TRAVEL ACCESSORIES ON AMAZON

4. Luminize Your Under Eye

Apply a little luminizing color correction under the eye to neutralize dark rings and pop a little light off. My favorites are YSL Touche Eclat and recently ColoreScience Total Eye. Either of these will hydrate, color correct and brighten, leaving you looking fresh faced and lovely

5. Show Your Lashes Some Love

Lancome definicils mascara
Lancome Definicils mascara has been around for a while. It is a tried and trusted mascara that will probably be around forever..

If you feel so inclined add a couple of coats of a lash defining mascara. Nothing goopy or thick, just something to make the lashes look defined, lush and shiny. I have been using Lancome Definicils for the past year and love it.

6. A Bright, Bold Lip

The best trick to wake up your skin and look fresh and fabulous is to apply a bright lipstick. Reds will highlight the blue/grey in your skin and unless you are JLo will make you look more haggard and beaten up, so I avoid them when flying. My favorites are fuchsias. They are bright but don’t fight with your skin tone. Even if you just wear a hint of it.

I also avoid matte formulas when I’ve been flying as they can make already dry skin and lips look dead. I prefer a sateen or very low gloss.

7. Put Your Hair Up

Sometimes something as simple as a fluffed up high ponytail can add layers of glam to your look. If there is absolutely no redeeming my hair I will backcomb it a little and put it into a high pony. This at least looks fresh.

8. Palazzo Pants

Heads up ladies, palazzo pants or pants with a little movement in the lower leg are God’s gift to frequent fliers! For the past 10 years or so I have been flying in simple black palazzo pants. They are comfortable to wear, especially in cramped seating, but even better, they swish when you walk.

Miranda Kerr walking through airport in Palazzo pants

Have a look at your fellow flyers. Their clothes look bunched, wrinkled, and slept in. On the other hand a palazzo in a travel friendly fabric that swishes a little as you walk makes you look fresh and fabulous.

If you have read my book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy: Secrets To Glamorous Travel (On A Not So Glamorous Budget) then you will already know about my FREE RESOURCES for travelers. These are downloadable PDFs that help you with everything from planning your trip to pre-travel checklists that help you to travel stress-free! You can download your FREE RESOURCES TRAVEL PDFs HERE


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