Happy Flying.

Month Four. Reserve. #SEA.

This morning I received two e-mails from friends, both asking for advice for the everyday frequent flyer. This is not the first request, and it inspired me to dig out my favorite tips and tricks for flying safe and comfortable and happy, whether you are jumpseating, buddy passing or just straight up using them miles like a pro.

Without further adieu, I introduce The Guide to Happy Flying:

1. Pack well. Be mindful of what you actually need to bring. Things that take up a lot of room and weight in your carry-on bag (never check a bag, if you can help it!): bulky sweaters, heavy shoes and PRODUCTS (ladies, you know what I'm talking about!).

2. Choose your clothes wisely. If you can, wear one pair of all-purpose shoes (cute slip-on loafers or ballet flats are my jam) and pack a pair of light-weight running shoes in the carry-on bag. Skip the bulky clothes and try to pack things you can easily layer if needed. Things that do not wrinkle are awesome.

3. Leave the products at home. Seriously. Go for the bare minimums. Don't bring your giant hairspray (even if you are jumpseating) or your shampoo. The hotel will have everything you need, and plus, have you ever had your giant bottle of conditioner explode all over your bag? I have. It sucks.

4. Take care of yourself. Flying is really hard on your body. Try to get a good night's sleep the night before. Pack several Cliff bars or granola bars. I pack Emergen-C packets as well to boost my immune system. Don't drink alcohol before you fly. For people who get motion sickness, avoid anything that might make your stomach feel funky. I cut out dairy and coffee on flying days. On that note, wait until you land to dive face-first into a Trenta Frappuccino. Caffeine does weird things to your innards at 40,000 feet. Drink water throughout the flight, but don't tank up until after you land. The changes in pressure, alongside a full gut of water will make you bloat like crazy.

5. Prepare for the worst. It happens. Flights get cancelled. You get bumped. Airports close because of snowstorms/tornadoes/bomb threats (just speaking from experience). Bring a little blanket, a good book, your ear buds and your phone charger.

6. Network. If it is looking like you're not going to get to where you're supposed to be, send out an SOS on social media. Chances are, you might hear from your old college roommate's sister who lives in that city and has good advice for a cheap hotel near the airport. Or maybe she's even willing to let you crash on her couch, who knows.

7. Get comfy. In the off chance that you are truly stuck, and it looks like you're going to be spending a night at the airport, get comfortable. Sleeping in the gate area, stretched out across three chairs with those terribly unflattering lights shining in your eyes isn't rest. Seek out a nice little corner with an electrical outlet. Ask at the gate counter (as long as the gate agent isn't busy!) or any query any airport employees who seem friendly. These guys will know the best-kept secret spots in the airport for catching some Zzzs. If you are an airline worker, ask if there is an airport employee lounge that you can access.

8. Have a back-up plan. Especially if you are jumpseating, non-revving or Buddy Passing, make sure that you have a back-up plan. And a back-up plan for your back-up plan. If you can't get from Point A to Point B, consider going from Point A to Point C to Point B. Check out Passrider.com for what airlines go where. Remember: If you are using a Buddy Pass, you are the pretty much the lowest priority non-revenue passenger and unless a flight is wide open, you probably won't get on.

9. Getting around. Once you finally land in your destination city, have a plan for how to get around. Does you hotel have a shuttle van? Is there a budget airport shuttle service to downtown? Are you planning on taking public transportation? Are you renting a car? Does this city have ZipCar, or Car2Go, or other carsharing options?

10. Don't stress. It's all part of the journey, and without a crazy story to tell about how you got stuck in Madrid for two days and slept in the airport and lived off of ice cream and espressos, your life wouldn't be such an adventure. Take it all in stride, and remember that you will eventually get to where you need to go.

Happy Flying!


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