When I think of airports, I usually think of the movie Home Alone and the time when I was six and I thought the wheelchairs were for people who were tired of walking. My mother, though, thinks germs– lots of them. And while we’re nothing alike and I hate admitting she’s ever right about anything, she does have a point about airports being dirty. Luckily, I’m no rookie at airport etiquette, and there are a few hacks I’ve discovered that have made traveling easier.
Carry around hand sanitizer
I know you probably resent me for even suggesting it because your mom made you in the fourth grade (or was that just me?), but you’re going to need it. Thousands of hands touch about every surface in an airport daily, and studies show that literally 95% of people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. They could be carrying E. coli or the flu or a bacterial infection and you could be susceptible to it just by being the same area. It may look dorky, and washing your hands is always better, but carrying around hand sanitizer is no joke, especially in airports.
Bring a pillow
Trust me, you are not going to want to nap on whatever polyester knockoff material the seats are made of. Even if you’re flying first class, there’s a strong chance someone else’s dandruff has been on the headrest, and no one wants that for themselves. It’s pretty easy to find cheap, specially tailored pillows online that are made for airplane headrests, so I wouldn’t skimp on them.
Sleep in the airport
Airplanes can experience turbulence really easily, and that can throw even the most cast iron of stomachs off. Chances are if you’re going on a long flight, you’ll get your best sleep at the airport. They’re pretty boring anyway, and it’ll pass the time you’d otherwise spend being bored. It’s not a bad place to shack up in if you don’t have a hotel, either–if you’re in a risky area, sometimes it’s safer than a motel. It sure cuts down on costs.
Bring your own snacks
Chances are you’re going to be super sleep deprived between getting up early to catch your flight and fighting off jet lag, and that will make you hungry as anything. As a result, you’ll likely be cranky, and paying 7.99 for a candy bar isn’t going to do anything for your mood or your bank account. It’s mostly junk anyway, and you don’t need that. Packing your own isn’t a glamorous, but it’ll save you money and calories, both of which are far too easy to expend.