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Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

Must Haves for Navigating the Path to Better Air Travel

Travel during the holidays can be chaotic, and today is certainly no exception.  As The Weather Channel pointed out, carrying a few extra items can help.  And really this applies any time air travel is involved, so I will shares the ones I consider vital while also expounding on their list and adding a few of my own:

  1. Water Bottle

Your health is your wealth as they say, so in addition to nutrition, proper hydration is also important.  I remember hearing that flying can make you become quite dehydrated when flying, even though you may not realize it.  It sure beats paying a couple of bucks for water after going through security, and airlines are notoriously bad about providing water to passengers.

So I always carry a simple plastic water bottle—just wait to fill it up after the going through security.  You are allowed to carry a water bottle through security,  it just has to be empty.  And I re-use an old one so that if I lose it along the way I am out no more than $1 or so I spent purchasing bottled water.

2. Additional Underwear

This is no joke.  After hearing case after case of ghastly stores about not making it to an airport bathroom or lavatory in time, these “crappy” situations are ones I never hope to end up in.  But just in case, I have started carrying a spare pair of boxers in my carry on.

And as a side note, from my experience, if you really gotta go and the seat belt sign is on, most flight attendants won’t stop you from using the loo.

3. Noise-Cancelling Headphones/Ear Plugs

Not only are these handy for listening to entertainment options on a plane—especially when airlines often charge for using their airbuds, they can be utilized to minimize the impact of cabin and engine noise.  But if you are mainly concerned about drowning out noise, ear plugs can provide much of the same benefit, at a much lower cost.

4. Eye Shades

If you find yourself tired and needing rest, the lighting around you can be rather annoying.  You make look a little silly, but a cheap pair of eye shades can make getting sleep much easier, especially if you have an…

5. Inflatable Neck Pillow

Even if a pillow is provided, it doesn’t provide the same amount of support as a full neck pillow.  But I also believe in minimizing the size of my carry on, so I like to use an inflatable neck pillow that can easily be folded up.  Plus, I am able to adjust the desired firmness of the pillow based on the amount of air inside it.

These can be found online and at most luggage shops.

6. Chargers

My phone’s a rebel.  For some reason, even when I may have completely turned my phone off per crew instructions, receiving a message may mean turning itself back on.  And a phone that is constantly roaming for a signal kills a battery in the same way Fat Albert destroys a buffet.  So I carry a USB charger with me so that I can even use my laptop as a power source if my battery gets drained.

7. Phone App

Having streaming real-time flight data and information can sure be handy, and there’s an app for that.  Most airlines now have apps for smart phones that will allow you to view reservations and flight data, change seats, and even look up your upgrade chances.

8. Club Lounge Access

There are a number of ways to receive free or discounted access to airline lounges, such as my American Express Platinum card, and being able to snag a free snack and a drink during a layover makes the experience much more enjoyable.

9. A good carry-on bag

With all of these lovely items, you need a good back to carry them all.  Even if you are not a road warrior, back packs and courier bags can wear out quite quickly.

When I was in college I went through a number of back packs before I finally bought a Swiss Gear bag.  It set me back $90 at the time, but has been worth every penny.  It has a number of different pockets and water bottle holsters, and even a separate compartment for holding a computer.  And but despite a little noticeable wear, I am still using it nearly 5 years later.

Also, I I have heard very good reports on Tumi luggage.

10. Flyertalk Luggage Strap

I appreciate the idea of being able to associate with like-minded mileage junkies, so I always have a FlyerTalk tag on my bag.  I received mine for free, though I believe they now cost $2, and can be pruchased on the FlyerTalk website.

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