I have had several experiences traveling by plane: some fantastic, like 2 years ago, when I was going to Sweden for the first time when somehow my travellingg class was upgraded by the airline when I checked in and I ended up traveling in World club or something like that, with complete privacy and a seat that could move to make me sleep in a kind of bed; some a bit tight but cheap and fast, like traveling by Ryanair with friend to any lighting event in Europe; and some pretty exhaustive, like this time I went to Sweden, in which I hardly slept, my first plane was delayed, lot the other 2, and feared not being able to reach Sweden or home as my flights back were cancelled because I didn't take the previous two.
Anyways, travelling by plane has been an adventure for me, as after being old enough, even though traveling with my family I and kind of in charge of the papers, tickets, passports, finding the way and so on. Well, at least now I feel I can move all around the world without feeling, well, completely lost. I felt this way when losing my plane in NY and not knowing what would happen next, going to Frankfurt airport instead of Heathrow and not having my bags, not even knowing where they could be. And I finally made it. When coming back to Mx, my parents and bf mistook the terminal and waited for me in terminal 2 instead of 1, so I found myself alone when going out and was ready for taking a cab. (If my family wouldn't have come for me, or I would be living alone or something like that, I think I would have taken a cab, gone home, drop my bags, and go to a friend's birthday party... or go directly to the party. I stopped feeling that as something crazy).
I've learnt some things, and I think I'll apply them next time I fly, anywhere in the world.
- Light packing. I bet this is the most important thing I've learnt. You don't really need 5 pairs of shoes. Pack just what you need. There's no need on going through the airports with heavy bags, and when finally arriving taking a huge bag. Besides, you always need space for the stuff you buy in your trips. Well, I like shopping, so I do need the space in my luggage and don't really think like throwing any of my older stuff away.
- Personal luggage basics. I don't know if it is called personal luggage, but i call that way the backpack you take with you in the plane. If there are short flights, this may be the only one you'll carry, if not, it's important you have your basics with you. You never know what happens to your bags after you check them in. Always have in this bag at least one change of cloths: t- shirt, underwear, maybe a pair of pants, socks, etc. Have at least a jacket with you, depending on the place you are visiting, where you are coming from, season, temperature and so on. Basics: Toothbrush, small shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, make-up if you consider it a basic (just if you are someone who thinks no way someone will see me without make up), if not, just to not look destroyed, sunglasses, and lipgloss, and I guess some mascara a spoon and eyeliner won't take much space, oh, don't forget a pocket mirror. Cash (if you don't have money from the country you are visiting, dollars are accepted almost everywhere). Your card, id, passport, ticket and any important papers you'll be using (keep them in a separate, easy to reach pocket). Camera (you never know). Lap top if you are using it, if not, don't even take it. And all the things you are planning to take there, like fragile objects, presents or that kind of stuff.
- Get on time. Sometimes you can be pretty lucky and take the flight if running and arriving just on time, but it's better to get there some hours before. You never know what can happen, like your ticket being canceled, you going to tax free service, the check in line too long, or the baggage drop line too long. It's better to wait in there than to lose the flight.
- Dress for the ocation. If you are going on a long flight or one or more stops, avoid high hills, short skirts, and any kind of uncomfortable clothing. Use travelling cloths, and take a jacket with you, sometimes the plane is too cold, although some times you have blankets and pillows in the plane. Something funny happened to me this time due to my cloths. I was wearing a comfortable t-shirt with the legend: "No pictures, please". I had a great time! Ok, terrible flight and flying incidents, but nice people in the JFK airport smiling and joking with me, even with the pic taken when you show the passport, and also in Frankfurt, I met a couple because of my shirt. The man asked me for a pic with his wife just because my tshirt said no pictures, please. Nice people, and fantastic talking to them. This brings me to the next advice.
- Have always a smile and travel in a good mood. I think this is extremely important. Take whatever comes, and always treat people the best way, smile and be nice. It's great how peoplein the airport smile to you, and how you can meet people, or get the help you need if asking in a nice way. Also time goes faster when waiting.
- Tax free shopping. First question: do you have another stop before your final destination? If the answer is yes, forget about buying liquors, they won't be let into the plane as hand luggage in the next airport. Do you have a limit that is taken seriously? Then don't buy anything that cannot go into your hand luggage.
- Seating. If you are not interested in seeing through the window, then please, ask for an aisle seat! Also if you go frequently to the toilet. you wouldn't like to be bothering people. Oh, also a pillow would be nice for not bothering people, and remember not to be poking nor kicking the seat in front of you.
- Luggagge. Mark it! All bags look the same! Put a mark on yours and also a card with your name and adress. Important if it gets lost.
- Buying the flight. Analize all the possibilities and expenses. Sometimes the cheapest flight doesn't happen to be the cheapest at the end, due to transportation towards and from the airport, the time it goes (sometimes it's just too early), the things you'll do in the different stops, the money you'll spend there, and the possible problems you might have when having more stops, or travelling with a certain company, or towards a certain airport.
Hugs and kisses and wishing you the best of flights,