Does anyone love flying nowadays? Ask Casey and she’ll likely say it’s the worst part of the trip and you can’t blame her. Seats are smaller, planes are crowded, delays are rampant and cancellations abound. For better or for worse, flying is often times unavoidable to get you to and from your destination. So, what can you do to make your journey more tolerable, or dare we say, enjoyable? Read on for 5 worthy splurges to elevate your next flight experience.
1. Choose the Right Seat
It used to be as simple as aisle, middle or window, but no more. Most airlines have implemented fees for seats that are more desirable: closer to the front, an exit row, a little bit more leg room, etc. Annoying as they are, sometimes these upgrades are worth it, but not always. If you’re not getting extra legroom, we think this is a pass.
On the other hand, we think that springing for premium economy is well worth it. This is the Goldilocks of cabins: more legroom, extra seat pitch and extra amenities (varies by airline, but we’ve seen amenity kits, meals, alcoholic drinks, lounge access and more). You’ll pay more than an economy ticket, but usually much less than business class making this a smart pick. Keep in mind, premium economy class is newer so there are usually fewer seats than other classes and they’re not found on every airplane, meaning they go fast. For premium economy, we recommend you snag these tickets as soon as you get your trip dates set.
2. Pack On Point
A quality carry-on that’s functional is a must. If you can find one that is both functional and beautiful, that’s a win! Choose a durable polycarbonate option: we ♥ Away, July & Monos to name a few. With built-in compression panels, pockets, laundry bags and more, these bags are up to the task. Need more room? Kitte loves her Metro Weekender by Monos in the hard-wearing nylon option. Slip it over the handles of your carry-on and off you go!
What should you have in your carry-on? Always pack essentials that you can’t do without like your passport, wallet, valuables, any medications and personal hygiene items like toothbrush and toothpaste. We also recommend 1-2 outfits in case your checked bag doesn’t make it to your final destination (we’ve been there and the outfits we’ve had in our carry-on’s have come in clutch many a time).
3. Be A Known Traveler
Hate waiting in line? Us too. We’re big fans of known traveler programs like TSA Precheck, CLEAR and Global Entry. Even if you only fly a few times a year, the hassle of waiting in airport security lines is often enough to justify enrolling. According to the TSA, PreCheck passengers wait less than 10 minutes in line at security. Kitte swears by the combination of TSA PreCheck and CLEAR for getting her through security in just a few minutes, and as an added bonus, CLEAR is also used at venues around the country meaning you’ll be able to skip the long lines there too. These programs are truly some of the best money you can spend on travel!
For international travelers, Global Entry, grants members expedited entry back into the U.S. This means shorter waits at security and U.S. Customs. Even if you are only traveling internationally one time a year, this service is well worth it.
4. Hit the Lounge
The secret is out…airport lounges are the best way to relax and unwind before a flight. Lounges vary in their quality (some are definitely nicer than others), but no matter what, they still beat sitting in the main terminal waiting for your flight. Inside you’ll find perks like food, drinks and full-service bars along with spacious, comfortable seating. Some even have rooms for sleeping, showers, gyms and even saunas. The sky is the limit!
Fortunately, lounges are no longer just for those flying business or first class. Many premium credit cards offer lounge access as a perk and this is how we’ve accessed lounges ourselves. We love American Express for their AMEX lounges which are some of the best around.
5. Fast-Track Arrival Services
Navigating the customs process after landing in a foreign country can be intimidating. However, savvy travelers have discovered a valuable secret weapon to streamline this process – fast-track services. Skip the long lines with dedicated immigration and customs counters. At many airports, a dedicated assistant will help to translate for you and also help to decipher complex customs forms. The end result is a quick, smooth and stress-free entry for you into your destination country meaning your vacation will be starting that much sooner. Not all airport offer this service, but if we offer it to you, take us up on it!
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
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