Avoiding the Middle Seat (and more travel tips)

September 14, 2012

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This week on NoSuperheroes, I am sharing some of the travel tips I have learned in 21 years of traveling to 39 nations.

We’ve already covered loyalty to frequent flyer plans, finding the best flight deals,  and racking up airline miles.

Here are a few more random tips:

Avoiding the Middle Seat – The only reason you should ever get a middle seat is if you are bumped to another flight. Here are some suggestions.

1. Choose your seat at the time of booking. Most airlines allow this online.
2. Check again two days before online or call the toll-free number for the airline. Even if you are overseas, skype to the toll-free number and avoid long wait times on hold at the international office.
3. Request your seat at check-in, or at least confirm it when you are handed the boarding pass. About 30% of the time, I am given a different seat than I have chosen.

Most times people are given the middle seat, it is due to lack of planning. Having said that, please remember to give grace to the frazzled single mom or the family who is going to be separated. It is true, they should have planned better. But put yourself in their shoes and give us your well planned for, non-middle seat.

Then chat with them and tell them to read this post to avoid this in the future 🙂

Reading material – It was only recently I picked up a Kindle. Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers,

I whole heartedly recommend it.  But don’t forget a small paperback or magazine for takeoff and landing, or long tarmac delays.

Headphones – Some travelers look like they took a mortgage out on their headphones. I found a great little pair of noise canceling ones I am extremely happy with. I use: Philips SHN2500/37 Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Water – take an empty water bottle to fill up past security. Almost every flight I find myself thirsty after the beverage service.

Snack – I NEVER pay for airline snacks – bring your own. Even when they sound appealing, they are not.

Socks and Eye Patches- International flights often give these out in an amenity pack when you board. Keep them and reuse them. Taking your shoes off make all flights better, but with the socks on you don’t have to worry about stepping in something interesting in the bathroom. The eye patches help me sleep much better on flights.

Research the cities you are traveling to – In every city, I find things to do. I am a coffee lover, so I google “best coffee in ___” to find the good local, non chain coffee shops. If I want to watch a game with my meal, I search for best sports bars (also the source of the best burgers!). I alway look for the top things to do. A short trip can cover some of the best that city has to offer in your range of interests.

Explore cities on long layovers – Especially when traveling internationally, I have taken layovers as an excuse to go see the city. I have explored London, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Newcastle, Glasgow, Zurich, and San Francisco to name a few. Public transport is often accessible from the airport itself, Pack a small carry-on or find a luggage locker and you are off.

What other travel tips would you like to share with your fellow travelers?

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God