Top 10: Rules of Air Travel

by Lara on September 20, 2011

I am traveling to London this week to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding.  After many long-haul and a few nightmarish travel journeys, there are a few set “rules,” I pretty much always stick to en route.  I hope these don’t come off too righteous or obnoxious.  They are as much of a reminder for myself as they are for anyone else who is interested in a smoother journey!


  1. Leave the pepper spray at home and do not attempt to hide it in your luggage.  The big scary security men will find it.  Don’t ask me how I know.
  2. Wear comfortable clothes!  There have been a few times when I have dressed to impress rather than for comfort and I have regretted it.  I’ve always liked the outfit pictured above from Victoria’s Secret.  Way back when, I ordered that sweater and I wear it ALL the time.  Lesson: you can still look cute and be comfortable.  There is nothing worse than sitting on a plane for many hours having to adjust straps or waistbands.  (Warning: buying clothes from Victoria’s Secret will not instantly make you look like the model in the photo.)
  3. Buy a huge bottle of water straight after going through security.  How much water do you typically drink over a 10-hour period?  A lot more than those little airplane cups every two or three hours!  Yikes.
  4. I lied in Rule #2.  There is something worse than being in uncomfortable clothes, and that is being hungry and stuck on a plane.  I’ve been there, too.  So now I bring snacks.  LOTS of snacks.  Enough to make a meal (or two) if need be, because sometimes plane food is just intolerable any way you slice it.
  5. Consider arranging a “special meal” choice.  Even if you are dedicated to the rule of bringing your own food, there will likely be some point in life when you have little choice but to eat plane food.  I read somewhere to always order the low-fat option.  I tried it for the first time, very nervous that “low fat” would just equal a pile of bread or pasta.  I was pleasantly surprised and always order it now.  It’s simple switches like fruit for the breakfast plate instead of that scary cheese roll.
  6. Avoid alcohol like the plague.  Exception: on the rare occasion when I get to fly Business or First Class, I definitely accept the complimentary champagne.  Other than that, it’s bad news.  Don’t ask me how I know.
  7. Plane accessories: sleep mask (you might be seated next to someone who wants to read the whole flight!); earplugs (aka screaming baby blockers); socks (I wear these old-lady flying socks to help circulation, but anything to keep your feet warm); and reading material.  I do not recommend any action novels that start with plane crashes.  Don’t ask me how I know.
  8. Do not stop yourself from eating when you are hungry simply because it is not a scheduled mealtime.  In the past, I tried to eat only at set times while being awake for a 30+hours, and it was hell.  I was starving, cranky and in tears halfway there.
  9. Sleep whenever you can.  I do not subscribe to the “let’s stay up all night so I can sleep on the plane,” theory.  Most people don’t get quality sleep on a plane, anyway.  Sleep…whenever and wherever you are able.  Your body’s clock will adjust quicker than you think.
  10. When you aren’t sleeping, stretch.  Walk around.  I do stretches in the galley of the plane and roll my ankles and wrists in my seat.  I’ve walked circles around airports, and up and down the aisles of a 747.

Lastly, I always try to remember to be kind.  I have a theory that traveling brings out the absolute worse in human nature.  Pushing in airports, screaming at flight attendants…I have witnessed crazy behavior.  More than usual, I try to be extra forgiving while traveling.  Sometimes it’s hard and I am tempted to become the crazy person.  I will not.  I will breathe.

What travel rules do you live by?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea@WellnessNotes September 21, 2011 at 12:44 am

I like your travel rules! And mine are pretty much the same, except I’d have to add: Book an evening/night flight (if possible) if you fly with a young child. Wear the child out before getting on the plane (stairs are great, and they are great for your glutes!). Pray that the child won’t have a meltdown. And if it does, you may need that glass of wine after all…

Love that sweater!!!! I want one!!!

Have a great trip!


Tim September 21, 2011 at 7:00 am

I actually take a refillable empty water bottle in my luggage and just fill it up after security. It works really well because no matter where in the world I am I can get that precious water!


Lara September 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

Tim, where do you refill the bottle? I’ve heard of other people doing that but they had to refill in the bathrooms…yikes. I guess if there is a fountain, it’s a great idea.


Julia September 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I’ve done this as well. I will only fill it in water fountains which are available in quite a few airports. My husband had a problem internationally though, they made him dump out the water from the reusable bottle before boarding. Weird…and we have no real idea why.


Maren September 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm

When I’m traveling and have the whole in-plane meal situation I always order the vegetarian or vegan choice because it’s almost always a really fresh salad. It works for me. I’m one of those people that travel in borderline pajamas. Comfort is key! Who cares what you look like, you’ll never see any of them again… ever.


Lara September 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

I agree! Yes the vegetarian option has proven a good choice for me, too.


Pure2raw twins September 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

great list of traveling rules. I totally agree about being comfortable, have water, and lots and lots of snacks!!!

have fun traveling to london for the wedding, how exciting!!


Roz@weightingfor50 September 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

These rules are great Lara, and I hope you have a wonderful time over in London! My travel rule? If possible, leave yourself LOTS of time to get where you are going…because having to rush causes unnecessary drama. Safe travels!!


Lara September 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

Great tip! I would so much rather have extra time than be freaking out running all over the airport. The trip was great, thanks for the well wishes!


Lea @ Healthy Coconut September 24, 2011 at 8:09 am

I agree to ALL. We flew 16hours to Philippines for our honeymoon and could not agree more on your tips.

I also bring my noice canceling headphones, it really helps me get good sleep blocking out the noise (Thank you Bose!!). Before the last international trip, I also bought refillable water bottle that have filters. I can refill on water fountains for free.

Have a safe trip.


Lara September 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

16 HOURS?! I think the most I have ever done is 11. You’re a champ.
Matt & I really want those headphones, but they are so expensive! However given how much we travel I think they would be worth it 🙂


Julia September 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm

These are great tips. I have started always bringing socks on planes with me. The only flight I haven’t needed them was my most recent flight from Shanghai to LAX. They kept the plane very warm (there were no individual controls for air), and I was practically sweating when I put my socks on.
I generally can’t sleep on flights and rely on movies to get me through the long ones. I watched 3 movies on the way to Shanghai and the husband and I almost finished a season of Dexter on the way home.
Hope you have a great trip!


Lara September 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

Yes, socks are a must for long flights! The flights to London are always FREEZING for some reason. I actually bought a special “travel blanket” for this flight so I’d be sure to be warm!


Priyanka September 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I missed your blog, Lara! I tried to visit you older blog and I was disappointed to find no new post. I am glad you are back.

Oh talk about long flights and hating them! I am almost always in tears when I am midway because I want to be either in US or India already. Long flights are killers!


Lara September 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

Thanks Priyanka! I’m glad you found me 🙂


Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) October 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Great tips. I always bring a ton of food. And sometimes, I order the Hindu meal- it’s always sooo yummy and there are lentils and naan etc. I’m not veggie, but I like it.

I also bring lots of reading material (even though I never read it all).

I’m not too good about hydrating- better about winedrating. haha. Kidding unless it’s complimentary.

Also layers. I always have a multitude of layers starting with the wife beaters and adding on from there. Sometimes it’s hades hot then it’s north pole freezing.


Lindsay October 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I have visions of you doing lunges around an airport, and in the aisles of the plane… 🙂 Thanks for the tips Lara!


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