Many things improve with age; airline travel is not one of them.  Even before increased airport security slowed things down, the flying experience was loaded with stress-inducing delays and rude behavior. Frequent flyers just grit their teeth and bear it as best they can, but a bit of pre-planning can improve the quality of the experience enormously.  

How can you avoid an exhausting flight?  Here are some simple things that can make a big difference in lowering the stress and hassles of airline travel.

 ° Be considerate of your fellow passengers.  Sounds obvious to me, but considering the number of folks I see who seem oblivious to others, this one needs mentioning.  My personal pet peeve is people seated in the back of the plane who fill the front overhead bins with their luggage so they don’t have to carry it so far. Later boarders, assigned to the front seats, have no place to stow their stuff.  That’s both annoying and rude.  Equally irritating are portable video games that produce sounds when they’re played.  

 Cramped airplanes, indifferent service and bad food are annoyances enough.  Don’t be part of the problem, if you can help it. Your fellow passengers are not your adversaries, after all. 

 ° Come prepared to amuse yourself.  I’m often surprised by the tacky books I see my flying companions reading, books hastily purchased at the airport gift shop. If you know you have a couple of hours that would be ideal for reading, why not be selective and use it to read something worthwhile? 

° Carry a snack.  Even on short flights, you may be overcome with hunger.  Depending on the airport to provide food can be dicey. It’s worth the extra trouble to bring something healthy along. Dried fruit, nuts and crackers are great portable snacks.  Once a year, I eat an airport hot dog.  That cures me of neglecting to carry my own provisions. 

 ° Simplify, simplify.  It’s astonishing to see the amount of stuff people drag along when they travel. Although the airlines are getting fussier about the number of items you can check, I’ve seen several people that I’m certain were moving all their worldly possessions via the airlines. 

If you travel regularly, keep a toiletry bag stocked.  You might also have underwear, nightwear, a hairdryer and an umbrella stowed in your suitcase ready to go. Pare your travel wardrobe to the bare minimum and refuse to pack anything “just in case”. 

Another tip is to proudly carry cheap luggage. The expensive stuff doesn’t survive baggage handling any better than the bargain bags so if you’re going to have to replace it regularly, spend as little as possible to begin with.

 ° Be more than a traveler.  Having something exciting to look forward to can lower the irritation encountered getting there. Once you’ve arrived, be creative about the way you’ll spend your time at your destination.  If your trip is primarily for business, try to leave some time for sampling local attractions. 

Scout out things that are of personal interest, too.  If you are wild about railroad memorabilia or Victorian architecture or Japanese gardens, add to your knowledge in the places you visit.   While it’s not always possible to indulge yourself on every trip, anticipating at least one special pleasure at trip’s end will have a positive impact on your attitude—which is the most important weapon you have for combating whatever unpleasant surprises you encounter on the way.

Explore More: Want to see the world and create a profit center at the same time? So did Anne Estes and she’s doing just that as an international house/petsitter.