I’m among those lucky people who gets to travel as part of their job.  And although sometimes it does seem to make for longer days, it is truly a privilege to be able to visit so many of the beautiful cities across the country.  Places that I probably wouldn’t get to visit otherwise.

For me, flying often makes the most sense in terms of timing and convenience.  And although I love to take the train when I can, I’ve learned a few things about how to make your flight a better experience for everyone involved.  Starting with getting to the airport.

  1. Although some people (my husband) love to get there at the last minute and avoid “wasting” any time at the airport, I find this quite stressful.  It’s great to arrive a little early – this gives you time to find water or a snack if necessary, to take a quick bio break or to spend a few minutes with a book or some last-minute emails.  Plus, if there are traffic or security back-ups, you won’t be stressed out when you arrive.  Or worst case, miss your flight.

  2. How are you getting to the airport?  For some people, driving is often the only option.  But there are great transit routes in many cities.  In Vancouver, for example, the Sky Train is a much less-expensive and almost always faster way to get to the airport. And if you are parking, there are options for pre-reserved spots that can make parking faster.

  3. Be prepared.  Check out the rules around bringing luggage – how big can your carry-on bag be?  How many pieces can you take?  What is allowed in your carry-on bag?  Check ahead of time so that when you arrive you won’t be surprised when security doesn’t allow your favourite face wash (in too big a bottle) or oversized bag on the plane.

  4. Read the signs.  Getting through security can be a rushed and stressful experience but reading the signs can help you get through, worry-free.  Take your laptop out of the bag.  Don’t try to take your full water bottle through security.  Have your boarding pass ready.  It slows down the line and may create frustration for the people behind you.  Have a question?  Just ask.  The security people can be quite helpful if you let them.

  5. Wear comfy clothes.  Don’t want to disrobe at security?  Take off any metal that might set off the security machine – don’t forget shoes or boots with buckles or anything with a high heel might have a metal shank – you’ll have to take those off too.

  6. Listen to the announcements at your gate.  They’ll tell you exactly when to get on the plane.  And they’ll let you know that you will need to show ID.  Have your drivers’ license or passport ready when you get to the gate.  And follow the directions – everyone will get on the plane.  Eventually.

  7. Once you pass the gate, you’re almost in your seat.  And the rules get a lot easier.  Just be courteous.  If your backpack, or coat, is bouncing along behind you and you’re not paying any attention, it may be hitting someone in the face.  Everyone wants to get their carryon bag on board.  So, make sure you put something under your seat and do your best to conserve space in the overhead bin for someone else that may need it.

  8. Finally!  Time to get off.  While it’s okay, if you’re in an aisle seat, to stand up in the aisle and get prepared, it’s not okay to try and jump to the front of the line.  Everyone one wants to get off the plane – patience is key here.  Oh, and if they ask everyone to stay seated because someone needs to make a connection – stay seated.  One day that could be you.

  9. Plan ahead for your ground transportation.  While we love Uber in Toronto, it’s not available everywhere.  Make sure you know what your options are before you arrive.

  10. Relax and enjoy!  Whether you’re in a new destination or somewhere you’ve been before, there is always something to see.  Try to take a few minutes to check out a new site, visit a local restaurant or connect with someone you know in town.

Happy and safe travels!