Before you fly

I know I haven’t really written much as I was thoroughly busy and on a different page during the Christmas holidays and since returning to school it has been a non stop whirlwind. I don’t know if I expected to be in the better hang of it and I’m not, or if I just haven’t caught up with the flow of new classes but it’s been a lot. But I don’t really want to bore everyone with the PT school is busy and stressful routine right now so on to why I started this post….

As I mentioned recently, my brother is headed off on a little international adventure in a few days. In a recent conversation, I thought of some things not everyone would think of if they haven’t been in that position before. These tips might not seem relevant to everyone or like common sense to others, but I wouldn’t have thought of them on my first longer trip or realized what a big difference they could make overall.  And so, I thought I would take a moment to share….


For long flights….

Check out Seat Guru. Seriously, you can learn a lot about the plane you are traveling on and an extra inch or a box in your foot space can alter the comfort of your trip tremendously. Additionally, if your flight offers a reasonable price for increased leg room, it might very well be worth it. Especially if you are over 6 feet and on a 10+ hour flight. It adds up.

On that note, bring a comfy pillow. My travel pillow goes with me everywhere! On long flights they do give you a little pillow but, personally, that doesn’t really cut it. Aside from the obvious, a pillow can be used as an elevated arm rest, between and under knees or under feet for more comfortable sleeping positions. If you are worried about space, my aunt offers the awesome suggestion of a blow up beach ball. That way you can inflate it as needed and it will pack flat in your carry on.

Tylenol PM (or other moderate sleeping aids). This may not be for everyone, but I know I get antsy after a while. There’s nothing worse than being slightly too uncomfortable to sleep and counting down the hours until you land. I also think it helps transition sleep cycles. If you are on the plane for that long, you might as well try to start switching over to local time.

On the note of medication, I am a huge advocate for having a few medicines on hand in your suitcase. Trust me, you do not want to be wandering around for a pharmacy or figuring out what medicine does what in a new country when you are actually not feeling well. I would say the essentials are Advil, DayQuil, and Imodium (or their equivalents). If you feel up to adding a couple extra, an allergy pill (if you’re me and have allergy issues) and emergen-c are also excellent and often usable additions.

The other thing that I don’t think gets mentioned enough is travel insurance. If you qualify and are going on a bigger adventure/plan to travel again, I highly recommend shopping around for a good travel credit card. That, however, is for another conversation. If you are interested though, there is a lot of great info just a few google searches away. I mention the credit cards because, aside from air-mile acquisition, a lot of the travel cards provide decent travel insurance benefits if you purchase the flight/hotel/etc. with said card. If you don’t have a card that provides these types of benefits, or, in my opinion, for any trip away from your regular insurance coverage, I highly recommend travel insurance. There are a lot of affordable plans out there, and if you are a student or “youth”, you can get a lot of great discounts. People don’t realize that travel insurance doesn’t just cover one flight. It will cover anything you do for the duration before you touch back down in your originating country. Depending on the plan, it will cover anything and everything from trip delays, cancellations, doctors visits, hospitalization, baggage damage/delay and more. I don’t feel like I have been through a lot of travel horror stories, but in the last couple of years I have made plenty of insurance claims and received reimbursements for plenty of things I wouldn’t have had the funds to cover on my own. Another tip, even if you have credit card coverage, a lot of plans will reimburse you regardless of other coverage or airline reimbursement. Yup, that essentially means double reimbursement. It doesn’t solve everything, but it sure can make luggage loss go down a little easier.

There are a lot of other little things I consider when preparing for a trip, but a lot of that has to do with the duration and location. Maybe one day I will write them all down. In the meantime, it’s back to the books….

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