Ok, so we exaggerated just a little, but almost everyone who travels on a regular basis has come up with at least one or two tips, tricks, or just common sense rules to make their experience a little bit smoother. After all, its human nature to want to learn and make things better, right? Some tips work and others don’t – like our plan to adjust to the European time zone by staying up the night prior and then attempting to sleep on the flight while everyone else was drinking and partying. That definitely does not work. You can call our process trial and error (or just dumb and dumber), either way it’s obvious we don’t have the market cornered on “great ideas”, but we do have a few suggestions for all New Jetsetters.
It’s only a passport right? Tell that to the police when you walk out of the Guatemalan jungle! This should probably fall under the “Dumb and Dumber” category but be it can happen. Make two photocopies before you go. Leave one at home, and take one with you just in case things go wrong; keep the copy separate from the original! Use the safety deposit box at your hotel. Is there a bigger waste of money than spending your vacation tracking down consulates and misplaced documents? If your passport is lost or stolen you can take the copy to your consulate so they can trace the number, cancel the original passport and issue you a new one.
Tune In. Zone out. Simply put, use noise-cancelling headphones. From the cheaper models to the most expensive, any kind of quality noise-cancelling headphones will help you survive those long international flights. We are talking about headphones, not ear buds. You will probably want to listen to music to remove that endless roaring in the background. We personally recommend the “Bose” brand. You’ll strain your eardrums less from the competing sounds of the engine, plus you’ll arrive at your destination more refreshed. As a bonus, it removes you from that endless conversation about the meaning of life with the stranger next to you.
No, we are not talking about “A Nightmare On Elm Street”, although air travel does have a certain horror component to it. We’re talking about how to get you mind and body into the correct time zone as quickly as possible. We’ve tried Melatonin (which didn’t work) and we do not recommend trying what we did on our way to Europe (see above). We found the best way to adjust quickly to an unfamiliar time zone is to not allow yourself to fall asleep until nighttime locally. Even if you are tired, the earlier you go to bed, the more difficult it will be to get settled into your new time zone. Getting over jet lag more quickly will give you more time to enjoy your vacation.
We realize that it’s not always possible to get to the “front of the line” unless you are travelling either First or Business Class, but with many of the major air lines continuing to add more seats, with less room for luggage, the boarding nightmare is not the best way to start your travels. We’ve discovered that a number of airlines, including many of the discount carriers are offering early boarding for a nominal fee. You can board, stow your luggage above your seat instead of 10 rows back, and be enjoying your first Martini while everyone else is fighting for space….just kidding about the Martini!
This is probably one of the most important – if not the most important – things we’ve learned about air travel over the last few years. Don’t over pack! Think about what you will wear and actually use on your journey, and then take half of it. ( Don’t Take Too Much Stuff ). About 80% of the time, we travel with small carry-ons and one laptop bag each. Most airlines allow you to check one bag for free on international flights, but domestic flights are more stringent. You could be charged up to $100 per additional piece of luggage, or overweight luggage, but it’s not just about the money. It’s about mobility, practicality…..and your bad back.
Steve Thompson is Co-Founder of New Jetsetters with over 20 years experience writing about luxury travel. You might say Steve was “born” with the travel bug. Born in the western foothills of the legendary Black Forest in Germany, he spent the first 12 years of his life tagging along behind his parents as they explored Europe. His first memories are of exploring German castles, and his early childhood education consisted of navigating the Austrian Alps, and mastering equestrian skills at the small sea-side town of Maspalomas, along the Spanish coast. Find out more about Steve below: