Traveling by air can leave even the most seasoned traveler feeling helpless and trapped by the system. Between security lines and flight delays, there are many things out of our control when flying. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Smart travelers can take several steps before they fly to help solve any problems that creep up.
These five tips will make flying easier, even on the worst days:
Getting the Best Seat
A friend of mine who frequently flies between New York and Johannesburg on a South African Airways Airbus A340-600 always tries to get seat 73D. Why? It doesn't cost any more than other coach seats, but because of an emergency crew hatch on the floor there is no seat 72D. That means extra feet—not inches—of legroom.
Q: Any advice on flying with skis? —Hitomi Ueda, via e-mail
A: Most airlines treat a collection of sporting equipment as a single piece of checked luggage—so your skis, poles, and boots count as only one item, not three. We recommendPark Accessories, a new line of bags made with Italian coated canvas. Shown: the Northern Lights, which holds two pairs of skis ($1,150).
• 2 nights' accommodations in a standard room at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro, with mod-retro rooms in the theater district • 2 tickets to Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club, owned by the iconic artist himself • Admission to Chicago’s History Museum to see the “Crossroads of America” exhibit on the history behind America’s Blues Capital
Cost: $270 ($135 per night)
Book via telephone only for travel between February 1 and March 31.
For more information, please visit Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro; to book, please call (800) 643-1500 and use booking code BLUE14.
How can you look your best while on the road? From the initial packing and planning stages to the moment you arrive at your hotel room, here are beauty travel tips from lifestyle vlogger, Jessica Harlow, of the Hyatt Place's new Seamless Travel Series.
Be realistic. Only bring what you're actually planning on using.
Separate your products into makeup categories, with individual plastic bags.
Stay powder shatter-proof. If you're planning on checking your makeup inside your luggage, use cotton balls for a little added cushioning.
Invest in a travel bag to store toiletries.
Look your best, feel your best. Make sure to visit your hotel gym and boost your endorphins.
Make this list and check it twice!
Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure
Flu season is at its peak, and with the polar weather showing no signs of taking a mild turn, people across North America are feelings its effects.
Just take a look at the Flu Near You map, which showed a spike in flu-activity for the week ending of January 14. The multicolored dots represent the more than 50,000 participants reporting flu-symptoms or illness, allowing the site to generate a crowd-sourced chart of the disease.
These mobile tools—each vetted by T+L tech correspondent Tom Samiljan—will help you get closer to nature without cutting the (phone) cord. Pick your adventure alter-ego and find out which app is the best for you.
This stargazing app sees the sky through your camera and instantly annotates the applicable constellations. Location-specific animations tell you when you might see certain stars based on where you are anywhere in the world. The best part: this pocket astronomer works seamlessly without data roaming. $2.99, iOS.
Frequent travelers, it’s time to conquer our worst enemy: jet lag.
While there’s no easy way to completely beat jet lag, there are several steps you can take to ease the pain of crossing multiple time zones quickly.
Travel wasn’t always this difficult on our internal clocks. But each technological advancement in transportation also brought changes to our time management. When long-distance railroads took off, matching timetables with local times became a challenge. So in 1883, we created standardized time zones.
The advent of the jet age in 1958 brought a new problem. We suddenly could traverse several time zones faster than our bodies could adjust. Eight years later, the term “jet lag” appeared in the Los Angeles Times (the earliest recorded mention, according to Air & Space magazine).
The term caught on, of course. And, as we know, jet lag is particularly bad when flying east.
Travel is exciting, yes. But, the packing process—especially for families—is stressful. To do it efficiently takes time and focus. To avoid mass dumpage into the suitcase, I start packing two weeks before we leave. And, I challenge myself to halve what I “think” we need.
I place a cardboard box next to the table and drop things in as I think of them: books, sunscreen, shampoo, and medicine. First, I pack the kids. I begin laying the clothes out by category on the dining room table: undies, PJs, tops, bottoms, dresses, hats, shoes. Then, I create a small grooming kit for each kid with brush, toothbrush, hair ties, and Band-Aids. A few days later, I revisit the mounds and remove what is not entirely necessary.
When it comes to saving money on flights, booking early is key—especially since many ski areas are accessible via mountain airports that accept only a small number of flights each day. Other smart times to look for tickets: right before Thanksgiving and just after the New Year. Kayak crunched the numbers for us, and found that the average domestic airfare to Salt Lake City was at its lowest during those periods last year.
Staying in touch with your loved ones while on a business trip can be tough.
You want to maximize your limited time away, so you get up early, schedule meetings all day, then have a business dinner followed by cocktails. By the time you’re done and get back to your hotel room, your family might be long asleep and you’ve missed a chance to connect.
And that doesn’t even factor in long flights, time zone changes, and cell phone dead zones.