Flying habits

Like so many other frequent fliers, I’ve got my habits. They’re not hacks or unique in any way, just things I’ve started doing on a regular basis because it makes traveling less stressful. Key here is to reduce stress, because traveling takes a lot of energy as it is, and stressing about it just adds to the load.

So here you go, things that I keep in mind when I zip back and forth across Sweden, and through Europe. Actual gear isn’t found here, although noise-cancellation headphones really should be on the list, because getting on a plane without them when traveling solo is out of the question…

  • Aisle seat, always. I’m tall, worst case that gives me room to stretch. Also, I get off the plane faster which could mean I’ll have a better shot at catching an earlier airport train.
  • Get a ticket with fast track if you can, because not only is standing in line stressful, said ticket often give access to a lounge as well. I use the time saved to write, maybe you have more important things to do.
  • Airport trains almost always trumps taxis, if the airport is outside of the city centre and your destination isn’t too far off.
  • Use apps for tickets, and suffer through airline apps for live updates on delays. Check-in queues are so 2000, right?
  • Never check luggage. Carry-ons are big enough, I’d rather buy additional things at my location. Oh, and remember that plenty of airlines lets you bring a second small carry-on for your computer.
  • Speaking of bags, make sure that you have one with easy access to your computing device, as well as your toiletries. That makes it easier and less stressful going through security.
  • Put as many things as possible in a coat or jacket pocket that you can close when passing through security. That makes it go more smoothly, especially if security is crowded.
  • I keep my toiletries and liquids in a see-through toilet bag. You could use a zip-locked plastic bag too, if you can’t find a toilet bag you like.
  • Generally speaking, rolling clothes is better than folding. Divvy up clothes in bags (I use disposable plastic ones) is often a good idea, and you can keep your clean clothes separated from your laundry using said bags.
  • Mesh bags with zippers are great for organizing smaller things like cables, vitamins, and other things you want to bring but don’t need to store in a toilet bag, or have easy access to. Some people swear by mesh bags for everything, but I like to have disposable bags as well.
  • I always bring my passport, despite rarely crossing a border where I actually need to show it. That said, weather could land you someplace else, and knowing I’m prepared for the unexpected helps.

The best travel hack to date though, is pack less than you think you might need. There are a lot of nifty gadgets that sound like a good idea, but question each and every one of them. For example, external batteries are amazing when you’re out of power, but will you ever be that far from a power outlet at your destination? Each device, each gadget, each piece of clothing needs to earn its place when you travel. I’ve yet to use all of my packed t-shirts, ever, and I travel light. Apparently not light enough though…

For more about the stuff I use, check out my setup. It gets updated on a somewhat regular basis.

Agree or disagree? Let me know by tweeting to @tdh. I’m always interesting in opting my travel days with clever hacks.

Have you read <em>Haunted Futures</em> yet? cover

Have you read Haunted Futures yet?

I’ve got a story in the science fiction/near future anthology Haunted Futures, together with the likes of Warren Ellis and Tricia Sullivan. Check it out!