Ready for Takeoff: Flying Tips From Departure to Landing
Ok y’all! Settle in for a long one… but I promise it will be good! Have you ever wanted to know how to travel like a pro? Or maybe how to find the cheapest airline tickets?
Air travel tips have been one of our MOST requested across our platforms and I decided it was finally time to find all the best answers for you guys and give you the best article full of flying tips!
From my personal experiences, to sources I totally trust, to official government and airport resources, we have your back! Let’s get down to it and make your next flight the best one EVER!
Throughout this piece, I will share some “flying tips” from a good friend of mine, Lucas! Look for his pic for his tips! He is, shall we say… a VERY frequent flier! So make sure to check out his advice and give him a follow on IG: https://www.instagram.com/lucasvieiraa/
Here are some of the most popular questions we have received about flying:
- “How to handle an overseas flight with long hours and layovers?” -Adabel
- “What’s the best place to find deals?”-Kim
- “What are your favorite airports tips?”-Kelsey
- “What items are must-haves when flying?”-Lisa
We are going to cover all these and even MORE flying tips! Here is how we will guide you through your next flight, from takeoff to landing!
- Planning: from price checking, fare alerts, planning is everything that comes before clicking ‘buy’
- Purchasing: where to buy, when
- Prepping: what do do after you’ve bought your ticket, and before you arrive at the airport (plus some of my FAVE things to have with you)
- At the airport: when do I need to arrive?
- In flight: How to make your flight more enjoyable…for everyone.
- Destination: getting where you want to go with less stress!
You guys ready? Let’s do this! Oh, and p.s. make sure to add your tips in the comments and feel free to Pin this or share with your friends who have the wanderlust too!
Flying Tips: Planning
Bonus Pre-Planning: Depending on how far out your trip(s) is/are you may want to start thinking about if you could benefit from Credit Card sign-up bonuses to get a whole lot of miles you could redeem for travel. If so, I personally use American Express cards because of their exceptional number of transfer partners. HERE is a link to my card!
Know your Codes (airports, that is!)
1. For those of you who don’t fly often, or if you are looking to book a flight from a different airport than your ‘home’ location, you will want to start with looking at all the local/nearby/reasonably located airports and become familiar with their codes (or at the very least, their names).
Some codes are easy to recognize if you know the name of the airport (think JFK, LAX, etc) but others are kinda random and can cause confusion (SNA is John Wayne, for example, in Orange County). Make sure you know what you’re looking at during research.
When are you flying?
2. Figure out when you want to fly, and decide if your dates are flexible. Many flight search engines and even airline websites now feature ‘fare calendars’ that show you the costs for an entire week or even month, which allows you to see which day will be the least expensive to fly.
How many stops?
3. Find out if you are able to get a direct flight, or if you’ll need to have a layover. If you’re going to have a layover, you may want to consider making it a stopover (more than 24 hours). One of my favorite travel sites is AirWander, which allows you to build stopovers into your itinerary, which can be like getting another destination for almost free!
Do you know where you’re going?
4. Make sure you know where you are flying INTO. I know, I know, sounds basic but just like a flight search may show you the best rates taking ALL local and/or ‘nearby’ airports into account when you are departing, it can do the same on the other end. You may end up at a regional or secondary airport that requires different transportation. For large cities and/or international and overseas flights this is usually not as critical as the airports are larger and well serviced, but if you’re flying, for example, within Europe, and you book a flight to Paris and land at Beauvais….you’re gonna be really annoyed.
Get the most bang for your buck!
5. Research flight costs. This is the one that I encourage you to spend a little time on. There are great apps that allow you to set ‘alerts’ for specific destinations and/or flights, as well as ‘fare watchers’ on various websites. If you have time, utilize those to see if you can find the best price possible.
In GENERAL, my favorite site for finding the best deals on flights is SkyScanner. It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t include every airline, but its pretty good.
If you’re planning to use MILES to fly (highly recommended by yours truly), I suggest looking up resources specific to mile redemption for some ideas on how to get the most ‘bang for your point”. I have a blog post up on getting business class tickets with miles HERE and I also love The Points Guy for all things mile related.
Regardless, make sure that you are aware of the destination airport and any applicable transportation requirements (example: flying into Paris Charles De Gaulle // CDG, you are connected to the city directly via the metro system, but the city’s secondary international airport, Orly, is accessed via OrlyBus instead).
From Me: There is nothing like booking a ticket too hastily and then discovering you have too many stops or paid too much. That was the first thing I did on my first international trip alone when I was about 19. I blew almost half the budget for my European vacation on arguably the worst flight-path and most overpriced ticket because I just trusted that the website price was static and the lowest it would get.
Flying Tips: Purchasing
From Me: When should I buy my ticket? Generally speaking, the travel community as a whole has found that Tuesdays are the best time of day to actually purchase your ticket. Airlines often release promotions on this day and compete with other airlines’ prices. As for when? Don’t book too early or too late: 30-90 days out for domestic flights and 45 days – 5 months for international
Another thing to think about when you are purchasing is trip insurance. It can give you peace of mind, especially if there are circumstances you know of that could interrupt your flight or trip. Make sure to check with your credit card too, as they may offer it as an included service.
Hot tip from Lucas: “We all love deals, we all love cheap flights. But you get what you pay for. If you book your family of 5 all tickets for an insanely cheap price, chances are you will not all be sitting together. However, its worth checking the actual airline’s website. Sometimes, with Delta for example, for a small fee they’ll allow you to put everyone together”
BONUS purchasing: I love using my American Express Membership Rewards points to travel, because they have so many amazing transfer partners. What does that mean? I can use one card (my AmEx) to accrue points, then transfer them to dozens of amazing partners like AirFrance, British Airways, Delta, and more!
Flying Tips: Prepping
Getting ready to go now that you have your ticket booked can be either the most fun, or the most stressful, depending on how you prepare. Having the right gear is one of the most critical things in my book for making your trip as seamless and enjoyable as possible!
So, I’ve done all the legwork for you LOL (you can thank me later) and compiled a list of some of my FAVE items to have with you when you travel (yes, some of these are affiliate links and no, you don’t have to use them, but they help keep the blog going!)
View my full list (its not that long! A few investments will make your travel so much easier!)
Sneak peek of what’s on the list:
I love packing cubes to help maximize space in your luggage as well as keeping you organized.
A cute passport holder that is light and bright makes it easier to spot. I love this chic and understated marble one that will match anything and be totally instagrammable for your airport pix 😉
Travel containers let you bring your favorite cosmetic and beauty products with you in your carry on. This is a life saver after a long flight when you want to freshen up before you land (especially if you have a morning arrival and will be getting straight out onto your adventures and waiting several hours for hotel check-in)
Wander eye patches are a splurge but having used them multiple times myself, they are a miracle worker after being on a long flight in air that tends to dehydrate.
There are some really great other items I love (like compression socks and a travel pillow!) so check them out! Tell me your own favorites in the comments!
Flying Tips: At the Airport
Hot tip from Lucas: “Now a days, with security checks like Clear and TSA Pre-Check, there may not be a reason for you to get to the airport 3 hours before your flight. Always check your local airports website, most of them will tell you how long TSA is taking that day. If you do want to get to the airport early and eat, the best app to know what food establishments the airport has is GateGuru”
Interested in investing in TSA Pre-Check? Check out all the info here.
Flying Tips: In Flight
One of the questions I get asked all the time is “how do you handle long-haul flights?” WELL, to be totally honest, they just aren’t my favorite. However, I have been able to get more accustomed to them with time and they aren’t nearly as bad as when I first started traveling. Here are my top tips to help you make long flights more pleasant:
- Dress comfortably and appropriately. What does that mean? Well I personally realized that way up there it gets pretty chilly, especially at night. Bring some items that function as multi-purpose layers. I love to have a large, lightweight scarf on me that doubles as a blanket if I get cold. I also make sure to have warm socks with me. Don’t wear items that are constrictive. I am a strong supporter of LuLaRoe leggings (buttery softness) and a nice flowy tunic style top.
- Move around a little when possible and when safe. Long flights often have snacks in the galley when people are sleeping. I like to get up and do some stretches once or twice.
- Bring a travel pillow. Trust me on this one. You can find one on my travel must-have list.
- If you are flying overnight, make sure you are tired when you get on the plane. This is not a universally agreed upon theory, but hear me out: I cannot just ‘sleep’ on planes easily. I have to be REALLY tired. I make sure I don’t oversleep the night before, and it helps that I no longer stress about staying up doing some last minute packing…the more tired I am, the better chance I can sleep on the plane and it will go faster and help me avoid jet-lag.
- My BEST suggestion is to fly in upgraded seating. This totally transforms the travel experience. Especially on long-haul flights. If you can budget for it, yasssss! If not, check out my tips on redeeming points and miles for business class tickets. The bottom line is that having a diner served on real china and then getting to sleep in a fully flat bed makes long flights not only manageable but downright peaceful.
Bonus In-Flight Tips:
Hot tip from Lucas: “Put all your MUST NEED items in your pockets or purse. That includes: phone charger, headphones, a blanket, snacks and medication. That way once you board, you put your luggage in the overhead bin, take your seat and you’re ready to go”
Flying Tips: Destination // Arrival
1. Listen up as you are about to land! They will often times announce which gates connecting flights are, as well as which baggage claim to head to.
2. If you’ve flown internationally, make sure you have your customs form filled out if applicable (if this step is necessary, the flight crew will distribute them to you in-flight) as well as your passport. You’ll likely need to clear customs and immigration and you don’t want to hold up the line or your own clearance by digging through all 5 bags for your paperwork and ID.
3. Look ahead at transportation options. If there is a metro/public transport system, check the schedules and fares. You may also need to have local currency on you to buy a ticket if you are travelling internationally.
4. Plan on getting an Uber or cab? Check up on if Uber is available/legal and if the pickup spot is different. Taxis may also be regulated and there may be posted signs regarding who is authorized to provide rides, so make sure to be aware.
Hot tip from Lucas: “If you’re gonna tell the pilot “great job” at the end, tell the flight attendants “great service” (if its deserved), after all, if that plane had crashed, they are the ones who would’ve saved your a**”
I hope you like this post and found it useful! What are your best / top travel and flying tips? We would love to hear them! Share your flying tips below, in the comments!