Travel Hacks

Top 10 Airline Pilot Travel Hacks and Tips

Airline pilots travel all over the world and they know all the in’s and out’s regarding travelling, packing suitcases and airports. Today I share my top 10 airline pilot travel hacks with you.

1.     It all starts with the right suitcases and bags. Travelling light and efficient is one of the quickest ways to make your life super easy while on the go. This requires bags and suitcases which are comfortable but at the same have enough space to carry whatever you need.

When talking about hand luggage I suggest to buy a bag which can be used as hand luggage. Efficiency is key, so find a bag which is ideal for the beach and city trips as well. I use the Anywhere Large Hobo bag from Baggallini. It’s a great bag for those activities and does exactly what it needs to, in any condition, wherever I am on the planet.

Travel Hacks

2.     Do stand in the que before boarding! When you are flying low cost, usually the ground staff only accepts a certain number of trolleys. After that cap has been reached, all remaining trolleys need to be stored in the hold. This means that in case you just had one single trolley with you, now all your device and valuables have to be stored in the cabin since electronic devices shouldn’t be stored in the cargo hold. Apart from that you will also need to wait at the luggage belt to pick up your luggage.

There are basically two ways to efficiently deal with this:

–       Stand in the que for half an hour in order to make sure your trolley will be accepted in the cabin
–       Don’t wait in the que and take a handbag or a bag without wheels. Usually they’ll let you take any kind of hand luggage as long as it is not a suitcase/trolley.

Again, this depends on the kind of suitcase you are taking with you. My handbag is the perfect carry-on bag.

3.     Get yourself a couple of packing cubes in order to save space and to keep your clean clothes separated from the dirty ones. The large compression cube is see through to help you find essentials with just a glance and mesh fabric helps to keep things fresh and ventilated. I always travel with a couple of these in my suitcase or bag. My uniform and my clothes have to stay neat, clean and well ironed.

Packing Cube - Travel Hacks

4.     Toiletry Kits. Make sure to bring a small toothbrush with toothpaste, Facial refreshing towels, hand cream, a hairbrush in combination with a mirror. Nothing is worse than the feeling of being dirty after spending hours in the same seat. You can organize and identify the items easily by using a transparent bag.

Travel Hacks - Packing Cubes

5.     I don’t think I need to mention to bring chargers and travel adapters. What I do think is important to mention, is to make sure you don’t buy any suitcase with a built-in charger. Airport Securities don’t accept these kind of built-in non-removable batteries in the cabin as they can catch fire. A suitcase which contains a charger plug/battery which can be removed from the charger is perfect though.


6.     Be prepared for another ice age. This means you should take a sweater and warm socks with you in case the temperature is not the desired one. I am mainly talking about the temperature in the airplane. I made a video about this subject: Why is it always so cold or hot in an aircraft?

7.     Avoid gaseous drinks and food as this increases the likability of having pains in the stomach. On a short flight you will be ok, but on a 12 hour flight it is best to simply avoid those kind of beverages. The same goes for food. Usually the airplane food is not the healthiest food on the planet. Make sure you eat well beforehand and to take some fruit with you.

8.    Stow your passport and important items in a specific divider in your bag. In this case you never lose it. Also, scan your passport & credit card and email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. In order to easily access these documents you can save them on your phone. That way you also have access to them in case you have no internet connection.

In case you use RFID credit and debit cards, protect them! Apparently it’s easy to skim them if they are in an unprotected wallet. That’s why I use the Take Two Crossbody by Baggallini to store my cards while I am travelling. It has a RFID protected interior with 5 card slots.

9.    Sign up for the frequent flyer programs, even if you are not a frequent flyer. After just a couple of long haul flights you will have enough points to upgrade your seat or a discount on your next flight.

10.  Is tax free, really tax free? No, at some airports it isn’t. So don’t get scammed and check local prices and currencies against the prices at home. Most international airports do offer tax free shopping. Since I am sure none of you will ever run late, you should have a couple of minutes to browse a bit.

That’s it, some of my travel hacks! Do you have travel hacks which aren’t mentioned in the article? Be sure to comment below so we can all benefit from each other’s knowledge! In case your travel plans bring you to Amsterdam you should definitely check out this article. Wondering what it’s like to be a female pilot? I wrote about that too! All the best, Michelle

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Airline Pilot Travel Hacks and Tips

  1. Thought I knew them all, but 7 was new for me tnx ! got to find something else to dilute the whiskey.
    As international service engineer and also love to travel for my holiday, my hacks

    Prefer to Fly from a Airlines hub, not an airport , where you check in with third party staff. They are most of the time less helpful.

    Think what you can buy at you’re destination. When you go on a holiday, esp road trips it is so easy to buy shampoo, soap, toothpaste etc and even camping gear can save you heavy suitcases, and even access luggage.

    Power; buy chargers for you’re camera batteries on Ebay/Amazon what are USB powered. So you can charge in you’re room, car and also sometimes plane and bus. And they are often much smaller an lighter as the factory chargers. If you buy something, if it is camera, flashlight, etc…… make USB- chargeable an argument to buy.
    Not all countries have the power outlet what will fit the standard travel adapter. Alway’s check before you travel.
    Often again Ebay/Amazon got cheap travel adapters for those countries. ( South Africa, India and China are not in the standard Travel adapter.) South Africa again you can buy every where the adapter to the EU 2-pin plug .

    When looking for cheap flights , always calculate what are the extra costs, travelling to a more remote airport, parking costs , long connection can mean expensive meal , lounge access, early departure no or limited public transport etc.
    Price differences of 100,- to 150,- for a return flight, you can easily loose in extra costs.

    Currency exchange, try to check online where you best can buy your foreign currency. Most of the time it is at the airport or official banks of you’re destination. But it can vary.

    Prepare for the security check, when you are in the cue , put wallet , phone, key’s, headphone etc already in you’re jacket or bag. Remove belt.

  2. Hey Michelle,

    I fly so often I keep 2 “Go Bags” this will definitely change how I pack them.

    Almost have that file finished, should have it done by Friday. And on the other discrepancy that you should see early next week.

    I absolutely LOVE these picture’s. 🙂 And may I say, next to being an AWESOME pilot, you are seriously Cat Walk Model Beautiful. 🙂 You would be great in an airline commercial campaign. 🙂

    Excellent article as always

    Safe take offs and landing’s

    Take care

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