While flying isn’t quite as glamorous as it was during the golden age of air travel, you can still feel like a star upon arrival. Feel refreshed and in vacation mode when you follow some simple guidelines for etiquette and self-care during your flight.
The next time you fly:
Don’t sit for the entire flight.
Stand up, stretch, and walk a bit each hour of your flight to prevent blood clots and provide some relief to your back, legs, and muscles. A lumbar support pillow can also prevent a sore back upon arrival.
Don’t zone out during the safety briefing.
The information shared during a safety briefing doesn’t take much time, and in the event of an emergency, you will know what to expect and do. Turn off your device and lend an ear to the crew while they present procedures to passengers.
Don’t use the seat pocket.
Flight attendants remove rubbish from the seat pockets, but this part of the plane is never properly cleaned. When you consider some of the disgusting items passengers dispose of here, do you really want to store your bottled water or iPad there? No. You don’t.
Don’t turn off your air vent.
Airplanes can be quite cold, but instead of turning off your overhead vent, try adding layers of clothing to warm up. When you allow your air vent to work at a medium to high level, you help circulate cabin air and can prevent germs from hovering around your seat area.
Don’t put a bag overhead than can fit under the seat.
You might not want to give up the space for your feet, but if your bag can fit there and you’re storing it overhead, you’re being inconsiderate of other passengers. Plan your bags accordingly. Keep items you will want to access more often easy to grab.
Don’t order beverages made with water.
It’s no secret that water on airplanes can be quite gross – pipes and tanks only need mandatory cleaning four times per year, and your hot beverage water is coming from this tap. Skip the tea or coffee and bring along your own bottled water for drinking or mixing with baby formula.
Don’t skip the moisturizer.
The combination of low humidity, recycled air, and dry cabins can wreak havoc on your skin when you fly. Before flying, slather on lip balm and a moisturizer with SPF (those windows don’t protect against UV rays!) After landing, wash your face and apply moisturizer again to keep your skin clean and soft.
Don’t drink carbonated beverages or too much alcohol.
Ordering your beloved Diet Coke onboard might be tempting, but the carbonation could cause heartburn, gas, and bloating, leaving you uncomfortable for the duration of your flight and beyond. Alcohol can affect you more quickly in the air, worsen motion sickness, and prevent you from boarding your connecting flight if the gate agent deems you intoxicated. Stick with your bottled water to stay hydrated and comfortable.
Passports are the ultimate form of identification when traveling - many people don't realize how meaningless a driver's license is once you are outside of our borders.
If you're planning a vacation outside of the United States and its territories (such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands) you must have a valid passport.
Here is what you need to know:
- Passports are valid for ten years, so it is a good investment!
- It generally takes about five weeks to have your passport processed. During busier times, it can take about eight weeks, so plan accordingly.
- You can download passport forms right from your computer (see link at the end of this post) or pick them up at post offices, county clerk offices, or passport agencies.
- Many local drug stores will help you with the required 2x2 passport photos. Fees vary depending on location.
- Your passport must not expire within six months of your return date or you might not be permitted to board your aircraft and fly home.
- Yes, you need passports for the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico.
- While you are not required to have a passport for a cruise itinerary departing and returning to a U.S. port, we strongly encourage our clients to have them anyway. It takes a great deal of stress away from travelers when they have this ultimate form of identification on hand, otherwise, several very specific documents are needed to board the ship. If you make a mistake with even one of them, your cruise vacation ends before it even begins - you will not be permitted to sail. (Avid cruisers can tell you tales of the many potential travelers hanging out around the cruise terminals not able to board the ship.) Further, in the event of an emergency and a need to return home sooner, a passport would be needed to depart any other countries for the United States. (Yes, the Bahamas are another country!)
Your airline tickets, travel reservations, etc. must all match the name on the passport, so book your travel and obtain your passport in your maiden name. When you return from your honeymoon and have your marriage certificate, you can have your passport changed to reflect your new last name. If it is within twelve months of original issue there are no fees for this. If the original passport was issued more than twelve months prior, you will pay a fee with your application.
For more information on passports, please visit the U.S. Department of State.