Many say one of our greatest accomplishments of the 20th century was the invention of flight. The human race has been captivated by the idea of flight as far back as 400BC when the Chinese were flying kites. Air travel in the 21st century is simply taken for granted by most of the world.
From booking your flights, to security issues, to navigating the airports, there are many new things we must be concerned with when flying. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, here are ten of my top travel tips that might make it smoother the next time you plan to fly.
1. When booking your flights, always inquire about sister airports. An example of this would be flying when flying to or from the Washington DC area, research the fares from Baltimore or Dulles instead of just Reagan National. Or maybe try flying into Colorado Springs instead of Denver. The additional short drive can save significant dollars.
2. Book at least 21 days in advance to get the lowest prices. And best advice for holiday travel times is to book as soon as you know you are traveling.
3. Take a look at the Air Traffic Control Center site for airport problems. You can find this helpful when planning your trip. Look up www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp for the best and worst airports for delays.
4. Check the security line wait time for your airports. You can do this at http://waittime.tsa.dhs.gov/index.html. Just type in your departure airport, day of the week, and time of day you are traveling and get an up-to-date posting of security line wait times.
5. Make sure you have the proper documents for your destination, such as driver's license, passport and visa if needed. Carry these with you in an easy access location, do not pack them.
6. Tag your bags and make sure you have your name and contact information on the inside of your luggage. Do not put your home address but rather your destination and cell phone number.
7. Wear comfortable and easy-to-remove shoes as you will have to remove them at all security checkpoints.
8. Don't forget notarized travel permission if you are an adult traveling with a minor child or your child is flying alone.
9. Medication needed for your trip should be in your carry on. It is also advised to have it in the original container (so officials customs can see your name and the physician's clearly printed on the label).
10. Be sure to check TSA regulations of what can be carried in your checked luggage, and remember the 311 rule (one quart-sized zip-top clear plastic bag containing liquids of 3 ounces or less per person.
Bonus Tip: pack your patience. The more patience you pack, the more enjoyable your trip will be.
Regardless if you're flying for business or pleasure, book early, use a checklist, and be prepared for delays and changes so you don't get caught off guard.
Although most of us like to look nice when we travel, try to dress in something you feel comfortable with. You always look better if you feel better! And the next time you plan to fly, take a moment to reflect about what it took to make that flight possible in the first place!
Sherry A. Mehalic is the owner of Travel Partners, LLC, a full-service travel professional with headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. To learn more or to reach Sherry or any of the Travel Partner professionals call 800-884-0070 or visit www.Trvlpart.com.