Here are some tips that will be useful to all travelers, economy and business. Some are more for economy, some others more business or ‘clase ejecutiva’ in Spanish. Since I have been on both sides (free upgrades) I thought I’d share them with you.

  • For international travel always take adapters for the power outlets.
  • Have ebooks/books/offline stuff to read/do. Bring more for unexpected delays.
    Be hydrated.
  • Bring luggage tags.
  • If you leave your car at the airport, take a picture of where you parked and email it to yourself with the airport name in your email. You may forget 2 weeks later.
  • If you’re traveling on an unpopular flight, select your seat as late as possible. This way you can choose a seat where the remaining row is free.
  • If you have an aisle seat and no carry-on, be the last person that boards. I’ve never understood why so many people rush to line up.
  • When the plane lands there is no point of standing up right away. It takes at least 10min until people start exiting so you can just stay seated.
  • Many airports have wait areas where you can charge your phone. Charge your $10 online battery and then charge your phone on the plane.
  • Put something on your baggage that’s easy to identify.
  • Prepare your laptop and electronic devices. Have your laptop, phones, iPad, etc handy and ready to get them out of your bag at security check points. Don’t waste your time looking for your stuff.
  • Check for free Wi-Fi. Most airports have free connections, some you have to give your email. If you don’t want to be bombarded with ads, set up a free GMail account just for that.
  • Download offline maps before leaving.
  • Watch your flight departure gate often on the TV screens. In larger airports, the gate can change.
  • Bring water onto the plane. You need more while flying and unless you ask for a million cups.
  • Compression socks are great for flights over 5 hours, it helps with jet lag.
  • If you don’t want to get into conversations on the plane, bring headphones.
  • Never, ever take the first row of a 2-row exit seat configuration. That seat doesn’t recline. The second row does.
  • Avoid picking a seat next to the galley or the bathroom. Self-explanatory.
  • If you are flying with a companion on the same reservation, on a three-seat row, pick the window and aisle seats, leave the middle empty. Good chance no one will pick that seat. And if they do, you can always switch after boarding.
  • Bring a jacket. For security, all your thing can into the jacket pocket. I use a photo vest (see photo). Best to keep everything safe and in one place. Easy through security.
  • Use shoes without laces. Not just for security.
  • Keep your laptop and electronic devices on standby or sleep mode. You may be asked by security to turn them on, the time your laptop or smartphone to cycle to on can feel like an eternity.
  • Carry small bills, US$20 for example, in your pocket/wallet, the big bills in safe, out-of-reach place.
  • Plan on having your luggage lost, stolen or damaged. Never pack anything irreplaceable for that reason.
  • Always travel with earplugs. Carry spares.
  • Try to only pack carry-on.
  • Always ask for upgrades while checking in.
  • If you go over your weight limit, wear your extra clothing.
  • The front of the airplane does not shake as much and is quieter.
  • Carry a tiny bottle of antibacterial gel.
  • Never joke with security. They have no sense of humor.
  • Accumulate air miles
  • Always use the web-check in.
  • Experience window shopping in the duty free shops. It doesn’t mean you have to make a purchase.
  • Bring a USB cable. Most new airliners have USB ports for e-readers, charging phones, etc.
  • Always have a picture/screenshot of your boarding pass or save to your smartphone wallet. This includes any reservations for forward flights for immigration, if required.
  • Always buy your ticket from the airline website. Problems, you can complain to the airline directly that sold you your ticket.
  • Be nice, be respectful. Don’t be rude, just be calm. Always.

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