An Experiment in Travel Hindsight: Flight Tips!

One man’s hindsight is another man’s foresight.

Ok, that’s not actually a saying…..yet. I just made it up. But I could personally benefit tremendously from the hindsight of other travellers who have “been there, done that” and are interested in sharing their insights. In fact, I’m hoping to put the hindsight of others to the test with a little experiment on Friday afternoon. I’m going to see if a little foresight on my part, stolen from the hindsight of others, can truly benefit me. So if you’ve got some travel hindsight you’re willing to share, I’m all ears.

Why the experiment? Well, I’ve learned over time that in most areas of my life I have very little foresight. I don’t anticipate things and therefore often find myself unprepared for life’s ‘situations’. One would think that given my fondness for travel that I would be an efficient flier with tips on how to make one’s travel time as comfortable as possible. Nope. I love to travel but when it comes to my travel style I seem to be a bit of an unintentional minimalist and a procrastinator. I pack for trips the same day I’m leaving and arrive with only half the things I need. I’ve suffered through countless flights with a full bladder, empty stomach and peeling skin having to watch the in-flight movie with no audio because I didn’t do a little pre-planning. I’ve had lack lustre experiences and travel disappointments because I didn’t take the time to perceive the significance of an upcoming trip or event. So, for once, I have decided to employ a little foresight. I’m going to use the wisdom and hindsight of others to improve my future travel experiences.

On Friday afternoon I’m flying to NYC and I plan to put into practice all of the tips and recommendations that I have accumulated from reading other travel blogs to see which ones actually improve my flight experience and which ones are not worth the effort and packing space.

Here’s a list of the advice that I plan to follow. Please comment below if you have some hindsight of your own to share and I’ll add it to my list.

Travel Hindsight for the Optimal In-Flight Experience

1. Before boarding the plane, use the washroom!

2. Bring a carry-on bag and consider packing the same items in the same pockets of the bag each time I travel. If possible, leave the items in the bag afterwards so there’s a few less things to think about for the next trip. I’m going to add that the bag should fit easily under the seat in front of me – I have no interest in digging in the overhead bin every time I need something.

3. Bring hand sanitizer to protect myself from all the germs that find their way onto planes. Use a little to wipe down the arm rests and my tray table before my flight takes off.

4.  Bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the airport (cost saving!!) and packets of powdered drink mixes like Emergen-C (contains nutrients, electrolytes and vitamin C) to help keep me hydrated, energized and boost my immune system.

5. Bring my own protein bar or trail mix – airline snacks are typically salty and not particularly healthy.

6. If flying for an extended period of time or overnight, bring a sleep mask to help trick my brain into thinking it’s nighttime. Ear plugs are a good idea too.

7. Bring moisturizer and apply frequently to prevent skin from getting dehydrated AND a face wipe to freshen up with at the end of the flight.

8. Bring my own headphones so I’m guaranteed to have a working set and save a few dollars (some airlines charge a fee for headsets).

9. Make sure my carry-on bag has a pen in it so I can fill out immigration/customs forms at my leisure rather than when I’m standing in line.

10. Bring an activity to help entertain myself (or to help rescue myself from a chatty fellow passenger) – e-reader, real book/mag, tablet with movies/music

11. Wear loose clothing for maximum comfort. Consider dressing in layers – it can get chilly and there aren’t enough blankets on most flights for everyone. Avoid tight socks.

12. Take off my shoes. Bring slippers or flip flops to put on during the flight.

13. Move around during the flight  – do a few seat exercises and/or walk the aisle from time to time.

14. Choose flight times in agreement with my sleep schedule.

15. Bring my own travel pillow. The covers on those little pillows they hand out on planes are apparently NOT clean.

16. Avoid carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Sigh.

17. Ensure carry-on bag has a few tablets of my headache medicine-of-choice (some may also choose to include sleep-meds)

18. Gum – you never know when you’ll fall prey to that horrid ear popping pain during take-off or landing.

Update: Thanks for all the great hindsight that has been provided since this was originally posted. I’ve added your great tips below (or modified those above) to be included in my experiment.

19. Ziplock bags – they have multiple uses:  for your small permitted liquids/barf bag/laundry bag/sea-shell collecting bag

20. Overnight sundries ….just in case I beat my luggage to my destination.

I know this is all sound advice but honestly, it seems like a lot of work. Instead of throwing a book, my phone and my wallet into my purse I’m going to have to go shopping (an activity I loathe) to pick up half this stuff. Regardless, I’m committed to my experiment and will reserve judgement for the end. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

I’ll be sure to pass along the insight I obtain from the foresight I put into action using your hindsight ;)






16 responses to “An Experiment in Travel Hindsight: Flight Tips!

  1. We have done our share of long and sort haul flights, and you have covered most of the bases here. I would add Afrin for those of us with dust or dander allergies, and especially if you are visiting a destination where many people smoke! For the non allergic, simple saline nose spray helps tremendously. Tissues, wet wipes, Ziploc bag…one for your small liquids, and one in case you or anybody around you gets sick. (Never has happened to me, but I have heard some with such problems, and they don’t always provide bags in every seat!) Load your tablet with movies and/or books. You never know quite what might appeal to you on the day, and choice is a beautiful thing… bon voyage!

    • Great tip! I actually read your tips (all very useful!) and included the in-flight ones in my list above but I must have missed the part about bringing an empty bottle. Nice cost saver, thx!

  2. Clean underwear and socks in your carry on in a ziplock bag. And a toothbrush,floss an small toothpaste. (Just In case the luggage doesn’t follow you). We have used these items a few times!

  3. I know you mention about throwing in a book — but can I add throw in a real book? As a Kindle user it baffles me that we can’t read those on the airplane during takeoff and landing, as they are just electronic paper! But I guess they are afraid you will have send / receive on. So I always pick up a magazine or two at the airport for those times when electronic devices are not allowed. One of the airlines here in Australia makes you turn off electronics 30 minutes before landing.

    And for long haul flights I have to say sleeping tablets are a must. I can’t sleep on a plane, and they are the best thing to get me into my new time zone. I take them for three days after a big flight and I RARELY have an issue with jet lag.

    Have fun in NY!

    • I rarely buy magazines at home but picking one up for a flight is a great idea, especially since this will be a short flight. I’ve always been perplexed by the need to turn off electronics too. I’d MUCH prefer to believe that the aircraft I’m on is too smart and too advanced to be affected by the transmissions of tablets and laptops. Last time I flew with my e-reader it ended up being wiped clean during the flight (or at security??). When I turned it on after landing it was frozen for days and then eventually came back to life but everything was gone….wished I’d had a real book for the rest of the trip.

    • Agreed. I always take my shoes off. BUT, I put them back on if I venture to the washroom. Seeing others enter that tiny (scary) place without their footwear on is one of my travel nightmares.

  4. Thanks for sharing this great list and travel ideas! You are inspiring me to get organized for our month long journey. I never had a problem managing my packing prior to kids, but I find it more challenging with the tribe. Have a wonderful time in NYC!

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