5 Expert Travel Tips from a Flight Attendant

iStock
iStock

Travel is one of the most satisfying experiences in life, but it can also totally wear you out. Between the crowds of people, the overpriced airport food, and flight delays, there are so many ways travel can go wrong. We talked to Bianca DiValerio, a flight attendant who also blogs about her goal of early retirement at MissMazuma, about how to make the travel experience more efficient. She gave us five solid tips for making the most out of your trip.

1. PACK LIGHT.

One of the biggest mistakes many travelers make is bringing too much stuff with them. “I once saw a hiking documentary where someone said that we carry all of our fears in our luggage,” DiValerio says. “What if I need this? What if this goes wrong? But what if it rains? Whatever it is, handle it when it happens. That is part of the joy of travel!”

If you’re traveling alone, you can likely bring everything you need in a small carry-on that fits under your seat. If not, pay to check your bags (or fly with one of the few airlines that still offer free checked bags) so that you don’t have to carry them all over the airport while you wait for your flight. Many people are afraid to do this because they don’t want to wait at baggage claim, but DiValerio says most airlines have sped up this process. “I promise they come out way faster than they used to,” she says.

One final packing tip: Instead of wasting precious luggage space for toiletries and essentials, consider buying these at your destination.

2. GET THERE EARLY.

You might be surprised at how many travelers don’t show up to the airport with ample time, DiValerio says. Err on the side of getting there too early rather than too late. “Planes leave at the scheduled time,” she says. “They can close the door for boarding 10 minutes earlier than the departure time and give your seat away to a standby. So get there early.”

A good rule of thumb is to get to the airport an hour before your scheduled departure. If it’s an international flight, get there two hours early.

3. GET SOME EXERCISE.

OK, so you’ve made it to the airport early and now you’re bored. What to do? “Most people hit the bars and restaurants to pass time,” DiValerio says. But she advises against this: As most seasoned travelers will tell you, the food is always overpriced and usually terrible. Instead, use the time to get some exercise and move around, which is especially important if you’re going to be sitting for the next few hours. “I like to take advantage of ground time by walking laps to get my steps in or just sitting and people watching,” DiValerio says. “Everyone is coming and going. There is excitement all around and, if we take a moment to look up from our devices, that energy is contagious.”

Of course, if you get sick of that, you can always get back on your device to binge watch some Netflix to pass the time. Make sure to download your shows in advance so you can watch without Wi-Fi.

4. BE CAREFUL WITH THE BOOZE.

If you feel completely out of it when you have a single drink on your flight, it’s not your imagination. “One drink in the air equals two on the ground,” DiValerio says. “Low cabin pressure equals less oxygen, which is the main attribute to such magic, so don't think you can beat it. You will wind up arriving a disheveled, drunken mess.” So go slow.

5. BE KIND TO THE CREW.

Yes, delayed flights can be a nightmare, but remember: It’s not the crew’s fault. In fact, they may be even more bummed about the news—it means they’re not getting paid. “Our pay starts when the forward entry door is closed,” DiValerio says. “That means every time we are boarding or deplaning or the flight is delayed due to weather, mechanicals, or medicals, we aren't making money.”

Thus, a little kindness will go a long way when you’re stuck on the ground. “We’re just as anxious to get on the move as you are,” DiValerio says. “If it happens to be the end of our trip, we too have families waiting for us at home, parties to get to, holidays to enjoy, and funerals to attend.” So remember, you’re in it together. And once you’re in the air, you want to make sure the flight attendant is your friend.

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]