Business Travel 101 is a weekly series about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. Packing, security, comfort, and etiquette are all factors that, with a little planning, can contribute to a smooth and efficient trip. If you think of a topic I should include, email me at RoadWarriorette@gmail.com.
For some people, sitting in a cramped, crowded airplane is the same as sitting in their office. They feel comfortable, can get work done, and arrive feeling refreshed and ready-to-go. I am not those people. I have to work at feeling comfortable on a plane, sometimes convince myself to work, and often arrive feeling exhausted and frazzled. There are tricks I’ve picked up on over the years to make this process easier, and I hope they help you too.
- Pick your seat online. If there is a way that you can pick your seat before you check in, you have a better chance of avoiding the dreaded (and uncomfortable) middle seat. For Southwest, make sure you check in as close to 24 hours before your flight as possible to give yourself an earlier boarding number.
- Wear comfortable, wrinkle resistant clothes. The easiest way to feel good during travel: comfortable clothes. This is not the time for tight-around-the-midsection pants or a movement-restricting shirt. Make sure that you feel good sitting for long periods of time in whatever you wear. I prefer slacks with a bit of stretch in them and pullover blouses, not button downs, as well as flats.
- Stay hydrated. This is important for comfort, for health, and for looking good. Drink at least 8 oz of water for every hour you are flying. This will keep you from getting dehydrated, which in turn keeps you feeling more alert and prevents your skin from drying out.
- Bring a pashmina. I know I talk about the wonders of the pashmina often, but when you are freezing on your next flight you will be really glad you have it. This time of year you can use it as a blanket while flying and then as a scarf once you arrive. It can also work as a pillow if you have a window seat.
- Keep your skin hydrated. I always keep lip balm with me when I fly because my lips get super dry. A friend of mine always keeps lotion with her because her hands get really dry. If you tend toward dry, you will feel much better if you can address these issues before they become problems.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Shoes that are too tight can become painful during flights. A few years ago I was flying home from California, and because I was running late to the airport didn’t get to change into my softer, more flexible shoes. That flight was miserable–my feet were cold, sore, and hurt a LOT. My advice is to look for shoes that are flexible, breathable, and even a little bit loose.
- Bring entertainment. Whether it’s work, a book, music, knitting, or whatever it is you like to do, you will be happier if you have something going on. If your flight is bumpy and the person next to you is snoring, it’s much easier to block out if you are involved in an activity.
Readers, any other tips for being comfortable on the plane?