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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Wandering Gator: Plane and simple; essentials for transatlantic travel

Traveling across the world can go one of two ways: carefree or painful. Here are some of my own tried and true tips to taking off and landing with ease, leaving no disaster short of terrible jet lag left to chance. 

Before You Go 

Check and double-check both your itinerary and your correct, recent passport. Keep a folder in your carry on with copies of your itinerary, emergency numbers, and scans of your ID. 

How to Pack

You are allowed one carry-on (normally my shoes bag) and one “personal item”. That being said, try bringing a small purse that can fit into a backpack when you walk through the gate. Technically, that’s one piece of “personal item” and later you can take it back out again. But carrying around a laptop and snacks and toiletries etc. in your purse is a general pain. 

At Security

Wear comfortable shoes like TOMS or sandals that can easily slip on and off. Keep any liquids you have in a Ziploc baggie at the top of your carry-on, and your laptop easily accessible. You don’t want to be that girl holding up annoyed businessmen going through security. 

The Food Situation

My personal experience with long flights is that they tend to be feeding me continuously. However, if you aren’t up to some questionable airplane delicacies, you are allowed to bring snacks. Baggies of almonds, trail mix and granola bars are good choices. When you get to your gate, invest in a bottle of water. 

Where to Sit

If you have a weak bladder, or think you’ll want to get up a lot, go for the aisle seat. If not, window seats tend to feel a bit more comfortable when you want to attempt some sleep; at least you know you’ll be lying against the window and not the person next to you. 

Bring Your Own

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Headphones, headphones, headphones. Maybe I’m one of the few people who have forgotten this in the past, but the free headphones the airline provides are not comfortable and will leave your ears aching. Another note: if you have contacts, bring your case and a small bottle of solution to relieve your eyes mid-flight.

What to Wear

I always make an attempt to look somewhat nice on flights in a pair of jeans and a decent top, since you never know who you’ll run into. But my backpack always has a pair of sweatpants and some socks in case it gets cold, which often happens, or I want to get comfortable to attempt some sleep. 

When to Sleep

Eventually, the captain will turn off the cabin lights out of courtesy to those attempting to avoid the worst of jet lag. That’s your cue to turn off the movies and at least attempt to hit the sack. Pack some melatonin to regulate your sleeping schedule when you land. 


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