KEILANA'S TOP 10 TRAVEL HACKS
Hi, reader! I start this blog post as I sit at my gate (Fun fact: Gate 30 is the very last gate in Terminal 5 of New York's JFK Airport. It's also Hawaiian Airlines only gate). Sooo that was a bit of a walk, but I was super early so it's fine. The craziness was this though: Today I witnessed a full blown brawl in the TSA line between a worker doing her job and an impatient traveler. It was INSANE. He literally tried to take a swing at her!
**SHORT RANT ABOUT NYC MY RECENT AIRPORT EXPERIENCE**
Before I start, let me just say--- don't expect aloha spirit at New York's largest airport. Obviously, that's a given. But be ready to expect TSA agents yelling at the masses like herds of cattle to create order. On top of that, I don't know if it's just my luck, but New Yorkers or even NY travelers have very little patience (sorry NY readers!). I literally witnessed a traveller get so impatient with an airport worker that he started a fight and argument smack dab in the middle of the TSA line. The traveller even took a swing at the female worker, which got the military guards and security involved... it was c r a z y.
As I got to the TSA belt, some people didn't understand that you must (and almost ALWAYS) take off your shoes. So, the guy in front of me ever so sloooowly took apart his laces, untied them, and gracefully pulled them off, in a line of angry travelers. People behind me were making comments and it was just overall a nasty experience...
All that made me excited to come home. But more so, it compelled to make a blog post about traveling hacks that have been useful for me. I want to make sure my readers/followers never experience some of the headaches I've gone through while traveling. So here we go!
Here are some tips that help make checking in, going through TSA, sitting on the plane, and your overall traveling experience a whole lot better!
KEILANA'S TOP TEN TRAVEL TIPS FOR EASY CHECK IN AT AIRPORTS
1. Go Digital: Download your boarding pass on your phone. Download the app of your main airline service provider and take advantage of not having to print out that piece of paper that you may or may not lose while running to your gate because you carelessly stashed it in your bag after going through TSA (personal experience). Or go online to airline's website, check-in online and after your boarding pass pops up, take a screenshot. This works in the TSA line and at the gate. Some airlines have additional features on their apps too. (Example: Hawaiian Airlines lets you upgrade from the app, shows you the seat map and flight load, so you can check if you'll be seated next to someone!).
2. Have a portable luggage scale and weigh your bags. Buy one of these (pictured above). Take it with you, always. I cannot stress how many times I've seen travelers get flustered, angry, and worked up! Holding up lines because they're in shock that their bags are overweight. If you have one of these bad boys, that will never be you. And please, weight it before you get there.
KEY: OVERWEIGHT IS 50+ POUNDS OR 23 KILOGRAMS FOR MOST AIRLINE CARRIERS
3. Bring two forms of ID and TRIPLE CHECK you have all documents needed.
I've had issues with my Hawaii Drivers License while in places like Florida or on the East Coast because of the movie Superbad and it's use of Hawaii fake IDs. So now, I bring my passport + Drivers License for all travel. If you have a temp License (the paper kind), you'll need another form of ID (this can be a check with your address and name, a pay-stub, or birth certificate as well).
If you're traveling international, not only make sure your passports up to date, but also make sure you have all appropriate visas (work and leisure!). Even when you're traveling for leisure, you may need an additional visa. It just depends on the country and how long your stay will be. So double check that! The countries I've been to or am going to that have required a visa from me on top of a passport are: London,New Zealand, Australia (I missed my flight bc I didn't have one!), China, and Indonesia. Better yet, here's a website to double check if you need Work and/or leisure Visas. You're welcome ;) https://cibtvisas.com/visa-quick-check
HACKS FOR GOING THROUGH TSA AND AT THE GATE...
4. Wear laceless, slip on shoes. Please, please, PLEASE do me a favor: DO NOT wear shoes with laces. I understand that some people have a sense of style they like to rock at airports, but wearing shoes with laces will almost always hold up a line just a tad. The reason is (1) you need to untie them (2) Then you slip them off (3) Then you put them on the conveyer belt. If you have shoes without laces, that takes out one whole step! Here are some examples below:
Also, don't forget the socks. Some airports are larger than others, which means you might have a walk. And if you're running late, a brisk walk or jog to a gate can do damage to un-socked feet. So don't skip that step either. (spoiler: i've done that, it sucks) PS: Slippers with socks do the same job.
WEAR LACELESS SHOES OR SLIPPERS WITH SOCKS FOR EASY REMOVAL IN TSA AND ON THE PLANE.
5. Put your laptops, iPads, and large electronics in a bag with a specific compartment for them and nothing else. Whether it be a backpack with a laptop compartment or *better yet* a laptop bag! Invest in this. And DON'T pack things in that section of your bag, over the electronics. You always have to take out your electronics going through TSA. Don't be the guy that everyone has to wait and watch forage through a bunch of clothes and snacks to get to the bottom where your laptop is. So make it easy for yourself and the people behind you. Trust me.
6. When possible, put all your snacks in a large Ziploc or plastic bag. TSA has been cracking down on travelers taking out their food items to scan separately. Like electronics. I've seen many people open up their bags foraging in different pockets to grab their packet of trail mix, musubis, chips, etc. And I thought to myself how easy it would be if all of those snacks were bunched together in a ziploc. Yeah, these are things I'm thinking while in TSA lines.
7. Pack or buy a water. You can get easily dehydrated on a long haul flight and most airlines have limited food and beverage services. When dehydrated, it's easy to feel sick and dizzy from change in air pressure! This happens to me, ALOT.
WHILE ON THE PLANE...
8. My Sleep Hack!!! Use a neck pillow for back support or to press your head against the monitor in front. The most comfortable sleeping position for me wherever I'm seated on a plane is with my chair upright and my head leaned on the monitor in front of me. This may sound dirty or weird, but trust me, I knock out in seconds. I used to feel self-conscious, but now I don't care cause I'm the one getting shut-eye. What you do is grab your neck pillow, place it on the monitor in front, and rest your head directly on top of it. Picture it like you're on a massage bed with your head looking through the donut, but you're upright and at a 45° angle. It prevents my back from hurting because I'm propping my head upright for 5+ hours. When you're awake though, place the neck pillow at the small of your lower back. This provides lower back lumbar support!
9. When you don't have a neck pillow, pull the sides of the head support of your seat up. THEY BEND SO YOU CAN LEAN ON THEM! Some people do not know this, and it's totally fine! But it's definitely useful when you're traveling alone or don't have someone next to you to lean your head against. I tried to find pictures on the internet, but there are none, so you'll just have to take my word for it! I do it all the time!
10. Store your carry-ons under your seat to create a foot rest if your seat doesn't have one. I hardly put my luggage overhead (it's not cause I have a hard time grabbing them because I'm 5'2", okay?!) I like putting them under the seat in front of me, because I can create a foot rest, to elevate my legs and make myself more comfortable. If you're over 5'7" or taller... then this might be difficult. But the luxury you have is you can get into a upright fetal position and have your legs touch the seat in front, so good for you. I can't do that. Congrats.
Bonus tip: Bring a long sleeve turtle neck with you on flights 3+ hours long no matter where you're going. I don't care if you're headed to Hawaii or some other tropical, warm destination. Lemme ask you this: How many times have you sat next to someone with uncontrollable body odor, stink breath, or right next to the lavatory? I have a few times on 9+ hours flights and it was torture. What I do now is, I simply grab my turtle neck, put it on, and ride the neck up to cover my nose and mouth. I no longer smell the stink! Also, you never know if the temperature of a plane will be colder than expected. Better to pack an extra layer, because rapid temperature change + airborne bacteria can up your chances of catching something before you get to your destination. And that's already setting yourself up for a no bueno vacay experience.
Well, there you have it folks! My all-time best hacks that help me when traveling. I've had so many travel fails (missed flights, blisters, held up lines, didn't realize I needed a visa, getting sick from travel) that I've learned from. So for those of you who want to plan to travel more, here are some ways to enhance your experience. Let me know what your fave hack is!
Thanks for reading through this! Let me know your thoughts and if YOU have any tips to share! Comment below!