Travel Planning

How to Turn Your Flight into a Vacation

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This is for all the moms (and dads) out there who occasionally get to/have to fly without their children. I did it wrong for years but I have finally seen the light and consider myself liberated! No more will I tolerate boring flights! No more will I check my watch every half hour! No more will I use my time catching up on boring tasks! No more will I watch movies I’m not interested in because they are available! No more!

That’s a lot of explanation points.

I used to travel for work on a semi-regular basis. These trips usually involved 4-5 hours in airports and on planes to participate in a 2-hour meeting and then catch a flight back. Whenever possible I timed my trips for the minimum time away, which meant that I’d take return flights the same day or at the crack of dawn the next morning. At the time, this worked best for my work and family schedule. It was killer for my sleep schedule and I never got to lounge around a business hotel catching up on my shows, but it was right at the time.

Looking back I’m realizing that the opportunity for relaxation wasn’t in those hotels I never spent enough time in, it was on all those flights! I can cut a hotel stay to a ridiculous number of hours, but no amount of planning on my part is going to reduce the flight time from Raleigh to Detroit.

The solution?

Embrace the flight time!

I recently flew cross country with both kids and thought to myself, “My next flight is solo, it will be like a vacation.” When the time came I prepared for it as if it was a vacation and it was heavenly. Here’s how you can do too!

Turn Your Flight Time into Vacation Time

How to Turn Your Flight into a Vacation

#1 Pack the Right Snacks

You can’t relax when you’re munching on airline pretzels! So bring what you really want. Don’t buy it at the airport because then you’ll feel guilty about paying the inflated price. Make a quick stop at your favorite grocery store and grab the sandwich, wrap, or salad of your choice! I swung through Trader Joe’s and grabbed some shrimp rolls and a salad.

Toss your meal of choice into a small lunch bag with some freezer packs and away you go!

Calipers on a sandwich
Never settle for airplane food and prices when you don’t have to!

#2 Pack the Right Entertainment

You could make the argument that a long flight is a good time to catch up on some education or required reading. Practically speaking, you’re probably right.

BUT I say that a long flight is when you should catch up on some fun reading that makes the time fly by! (Get it?)

Yesterday I finished the Crazy Rich Asians series and loved it. Life is too short to read books that are easy to put down. šŸ˜˜

If you’re slowly working your way through a fun TV show or you’ve been dying to watch some new movie, bring that! Don’t rely on there being something good on the airline’s entertainment.

Woman reading
To me, books only fall into two categories: tedious chore and impossible to put down. With TV I’m far less discerning.

#3 Wait in Style

We have had 2 free tickets to the United Premier Lounge hanging on our fridge for a year. They came as a credit card bonus but we always had more than 2 people and never found time to use them. Yesterday I finally remembered to grab them on the way out the door and spent an hour enjoying the free snacks and drinks is a cushy quiet room. I had soup, salad, cheese, and brownie bites and I didn’t even get to take advantage of the complimentary bar but will keep it in mind for next time!

By the time I sauntered up to the gate my group had already been called so I could go straight to the front of the line and just walk onto the plane. I wasn’t even cutting it close, I arrived at exactly the right time!

Premier Airline Lounge
If you have an airline credit card, you may already be eligible for a few lounge passes every year.

#4 Get Comfy

The number of gadgets and gizmos they make for air travel is staggering. Do a quick Amazon Search and you’ll be floored by the results! Whether it’s a jacket with built-inĀ neck pillow or a hammock for your feet, splurge on a little something to make your flight more comfortable.

Flying coach
If someone comes up with a product that truly revolutionizes comfort in coach, they should go a Nobel Peace Prize!

#5 Take Your Zen to the Next Level

I packed a few refreshing face masks to use on the flight to totally maximize my time and relaxation. For something a bit less obvious, try some under eye masks or even a lip mask. I think I’m also going to pick up some teeth whitening strips for the flight home.

The idea is, pick something you don’t have time for at home, or you can never complete without constantĀ interruptions! Here are some more ideas:

Face Mask
I wouldn’t always have felt comfortable wearing a face mask in a public place like a plane, but I’m all the way there now.

What do you think? Are you getting more excited about your next solo flight? What else do I need to add to my list?

Oh, and if you’re looking for slightly more practical and functional advise on flying with children? I have that too. šŸ˜Š


 

 

What do you think?