How to Travel Without Checked Baggage

How to Travel Without Checked Baggage

Given how long you sometimes must wait at baggage claim, many airline passengers’ dream is to travel without checked baggage. Doing so requires packing all your belongings into one carry-on case stored in the overhead bin during the flight. Is that even possible?

For people who have never tried to limit what they bring on their trips, the answer is likely “no.” But even the most undisciplined packer can learn how to travel lighter. It just takes planning and knowing some of the packing tips for your flight.  With a bit of practice, the choice to travel without checked baggage might become your default mode for airline travel.

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Essential Packing Tips For Your Flight

The ability to travel without checked baggage does not come easy for most people unless college students or people pack 10 minutes before leaving for the airport. For everyone else, some packing tips can help.

At Flying Angels, we’ve become a bit of an expert in his area because of the many flights we take each year. When you provide care for someone else who may require medical equipment and other special considerations, you learn to pack lightly. These tips can help you do the same.

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Change Your Thinking

The first and most important tip is to change how you think about packing for travel. You don’t need as much as you think. Some people, worried about getting caught out there in the world without something, tend to overpack and bring more than they need. If that sounds a bit like you, it’s helpful to change your way of thinking. It will help with the following steps.

Check With Airlines

In most cases, you can use a carry-on bag that is 9 x 14 x 22 inches, although some airlines may allow only smaller bags. Make sure to check and get the maximum size allowed. Also, you can use a backpack for other items, especially those you might need in flight.

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Some stuff can get left behind because it’s easy to buy it cheaply once you arrive. An example might be items you can rent for outdoor activities (bike helmets, fins, snorkel, etc.) and everyday items like shampoo, conditioner, cotton swabs, etc.

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What Can You Re-Wear?

You will need shirts and socks for every day. But your pants should be good for a couple of days, at least. And you might not need a heavy coat if you can re-use a sweater or hoodie with a light jacket. If your stay is longer, make plans to wash clothes after five to seven days. That’s easier than trying to pack two weeks of clothes.

Wear Your Bulky Clothes

If you have clothes that are difficult to pack, then wear them on the flight. This includes things like coats, boots, and sweaters. If you want to really push this idea to the limit, you can also put some of your items into your pockets to create more space in your carry-on case.

Use Packing Organizers

To get the most out of the space in your carry-on bag, consider buying compression bags and packing cubes that allow you to separately pack items such as clothes, laptops, cameras, smartphones, etc. Every cubic inch you save gives you a tad more room for something else.

Packing Strategies

Another approach to packing involves rolling your clothes rather than folding them. This cuts down on the space they take up and (bonus!) reduces wrinkles. Also, place shoes at the bottom and try to bring just one or two pairs. Picks shoes that will work in a variety of circumstances.

Minimize Electronics

We all want our gadgets. But most travelers don’t need that many. For example, you might not need a laptop or pad if you can do everything on your phone. And speaking of your phone, they come now with cameras that make the need to carry a separate camera unnecessary unless you’re a professional photographer.

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Run A Test

Pack everything into your carry-on bag a few days before the trip to see how everything fits. If it doesn’t, then go through and eliminate some items. Anything you’ve packed “just in case” can usually go, for example. When you decide to travel without checked baggage, you’re making a commitment toward minimal packing. But you may also quickly learn you don’t need as much stuff as you think you need. That may even spill over to how you manage your possessions once you get back home.

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Can I Hire a Nurse to Fly With Me? | How to Find Medical Help for Flying

Can I Hire a Nurse to Fly With Me? | How to Find Medical Help for Flying

You can hire a nurse to fly with you for any reason. Typically hired through Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT) companies, flight nurses travel with you on commercial flights, providing support getting to and from your flight and healthcare services during the flight.

You may choose to hire a nurse to fly with you for many different reasons, including having chronic health issues or injuries that prevent you from safely flying on your own. Nurses provide medical help for flying and have specialized training and certification to perform this specific job within the nursing field.

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What Flight Nurses Do

Flight nurses have a specific set of skills to meet your medical needs before, during, and after a flight. Working with a NEMT company, flight nurses have training and experience in emergency situations and in delivering medical care at high altitudes.

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Before the Flight

An RN Flight Coordinator works with you throughout your trip, starting with the arrangement of plans. The Flight Coordinator reviews your medical condition beforehand so they understand everything you may need. They also coordinate with your doctor or primary care provider to make sure any underlying conditions are addressed. Coordination includes reviewing procedures for particular airports and airlines. Nurses also contact airport and airline personnel ahead of time to determine any special steps needed to make your trip easier.

How Does a Flight Coordinator Help?

Flight nurses also pack the medical kit for your trip. They ensure they have all the medications you need, as well as any medical equipment. They work with transportation officials on getting your equipment through security and safely stored during the flight. They also ensure you stay on schedule and that ground transportation issues are set up and in order.

During the Flight

With specialized training in flight physiology, nurses understand how to administer medical care at high altitudes. They also understand and can recognize any signs of psychological distress. Their familiarity with your medical condition prepares them to see any signs of physical distress or other problems. They also know when to administer medication and check on your condition during the flight.

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After Landing, flight nurses make sure you disembark safely from your plane, navigate the airport and reach your ground transportation. In some cases, flight nurses travel with you to your final destination, although most return on another flight to their point of origin.

Who Needs to Hire a Nurse to Fly?

People in many different situations want to hire a nurse to fly. The specialized skills and high level of training attained by flight nurses gives people the medical services and sense of comfort they need. Those who hire flight nurses include:

  • Seniors with medical conditions that prevent them from moving well on their own
  • People of all ages with debilitating conditions
  • People who are injured on trips, including to foreign destinations, who want medical care for their trip home (and help setting up a flight back)
  • Retirees who are relocating to a new city
  • People who must travel for business or personal reasons with an injury (such as a broken leg or arm)

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How Do You Hire a Flight Nurse?

Hiring a flight nurse to join you on a commercial flight is convenient through a medical transportation company like Flying Angels. You can hire a nurse to fly with you to destinations within your state, in another state or in another country. Flight Nurse companies have experience in speaking with medical doctors in the United States and abroad. They also have contacts in the healthcare and transportation fields. If you want the safety and security an experienced nurse can bring to your trip, you can hire a nurse to fly with you. It’s a smart choice for those who want to ensure they arrive at their destination on schedule and in good health.

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Simple In-Flight Exercises

Simple In-Flight Exercises

The ability to fly across the country and around the globe has enriched the lives of millions of people. But flying, especially longer flights, also can lead to aches, pains, muscle tension and stiffness. That’s why it’s important to make in-flight exercises part of your travel itinerary.

Fortunately, there are some simple in-flight exercises you can do. You also can get into the habit of doing some pre and post-flight workouts and exercises that can help you better prepare for flying and help you relax and feel better when it is over.

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Pre-Flight Workouts and Exercise

Before flying, do some simple pre-flight workouts that stretch your muscles and keep you loose. Also, remember to hydrate before a flight to prep for dry plane air. It’s worth noting that many exercises work well for both pre-flight and post-flight exercises. The idea is to stretch out muscles and get the blood flowing.

If you have time, within 24 hours of your flight, put in a full workout or go for a long run (if running is your thing). That will strengthen the body and build up the immune system for the flight. It also will increase blood flow and reduce the chance of swelling in legs and feet from sitting in one place for too long.

If you only have 30 minutes or so at home before you leave, or even at the airport if there is space, you can try squats, reverse lunges, planks and push-ups.

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In-Flight Exercises

You only have a certain degree of control during the flight. If the plane encounters turbulence, pilots may ask you to remain seated during the flight. But even so, there are in-flight exercises you can do while seated, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance. They include the following.

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  • Ankle circles. Lift and twirl your feet as if drawing circles with your toes. Continue for 15 seconds, then reverse direction.
  • Foot Pumps. With your heels on the floor, lift the front of your foot as high as possible. Hold for a moment, then flatten your feet and lift your heels as high as possible, keeping the balls of your feet on the floor.
  • Knee lifts. Bend your leg and lift your knee to your chest, holding a moment. Put your foot back down and do the same with the other leg.
  • Forward Flex: With both feet on the floor, bend forward and reach for your ankles. Hold for 15 seconds and slowly return to a seated position.
  • Overhead Stretch: Raise both hands over your head. Grab the wrist of the opposite arm and gently pull to one side. Hold for 15 seconds, then repeat with the other arm.

If allowed by the flight crew, stand up regularly and even move a bit in the aisle, just to get your blood flowing. This will help prevent aches and reduce the risk of inflammation.

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Post-Flight Workouts and Exercise

Even if you get the chance to do in-flight exercises, you still may have tight muscles and stiff joints, especially after longer flights. The best post-flight workouts involve stretches that stretch your back, open your chest and hips, and target your inner thighs and calves. Here are a few that can help. Keep in mind, these also work well for pre-flight exercises.

Resistance band. One of the best things you can invest in for a bit of post-flight exercise is a resistance band. They are not expensive and make post-flight workouts easier. You can try resistance band squats and resistance band bent over rows. You can also do hamstring, hip and chest stretches using resistance bands.

Jumping Jacks. Doing a set of jumping jacks is a great way to get the blood flowing again throughout your body. 

Inchworm. This simple exercise allows you to stretch muscles in your legs and shoulders. If you’ve never done one, it works like this: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at the waist, placing your hands on the floor. Walk your hands forward until reaching a “push up” position, with your hands flat and straight under your shoulders. Hold a moment. Then, slowly walk your hands back to your feet. Do this about a half dozen times.

Chest stretch. Chances are, you spent much of your flight hunched over, sleeping or looking at your phone. A simple chest stretch can open your chest. Stand with your arms stretched behind you at butt-level and your finger interlocked. As you keep your back straight and shoulder blades together, raise your arms until you can feel the stretching in your chest. Hold that position for about a half minute. Remember, you don’t have to do any of these perfectly. The idea is to stretch out your muscles and open any areas that may have tensed up or stiffened during the flight. Coupled with in-flight exercises, these pre and post-flight workouts will leave you feeling better and ready to face the rest of your day.

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How to Buy an Airline Ticket for Someone Else

How to Buy an Airline Ticket for Someone Else

At some point in your life, you may find yourself needing to buy an airline ticket for someone else. In many cases, adult children purchase tickets for their parents to visit grandchildren or attend a family get-together. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy once you know how.

You will need certain information and must follow specific steps. Equally important is that the people you book the trip also know the kind of information they will need to carry to the airport. While you’re paying for the ticket, they will need to correctly identify themselves before getting the tickets and boarding the plane.

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Steps to Buy An Airline Ticket For Someone Else

The following steps provide a general guideline for how to buy an airline ticket for someone else. These apply whether you are a member of an airline’s rewards program – such as Southwest’s Rapid Rewards – or buying for the first time from an airline.

Important Information

Much like when you buy your own ticket, you will need to provide the birth date, full name (as it appears on their driver’s license or other official ID), and country of residence. This seems simple, but it often trips people up because they don’t ask their parents how their name appears on their IDs! You want to have an exact match. If the flight is international, you may have to fill in passport information.

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Using Air Miles

Most airlines will allow you to buy an airline ticket for someone else using your frequent flyer or air miles. Double-check to make sure that is the case with your airline, as it can save you big bucks.

Add Amenities

When you buy an airline ticket for someone else, especially your parents, you will want to think about adding extras that can make the trip more enjoyable. For example, think about early boarding, requesting a seat close to the front, and getting seats with more legroom.

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Send the Itinerary

Sending the itinerary is a simple step that people can forget. With some airlines, you can send the itinerary directly to the people who are flying. However, in some cases, all the information is going to come to you. Make sure you forward all the information to your parents. Also, communicate any other useful information, such as parking garage locations and all the extras you may have purchased.

Bring the Proper ID

At this point, everything works as if your parents had purchased the tickets themselves. They can download the ticket on their phone or print it out. They will need to bring IDs that match the name on the purchased tickets. Otherwise, they are good to go! Buying an airline ticket for someone else is a great gift. It’s especially true if it’s your parent and they want to come to spend time with you, their grandchildren and other family members. With the ease of purchasing online, it’s easier than ever to book travel for parents and spend quality time together.

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Can You Fly After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Can You Fly After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Is it possible to fly after a traumatic brain injury? Even considering flying after such a serious event seems risky, but it’s typically safe after a certain amount of time passes and a doctor gives you the OK and you seek the support you need to make the air travel experience less stressful.

Much like those who want to fly after a heart attack or fly with COPD, just the idea of trying to fly after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) seems intimidating. The key is in planning travel after a TBI that takes into account what you will need for a safe flight as well as getting the proper support.

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What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

The official definition of traumatic brain injury is any sudden event that causes injury to the brain. The most common events that lead to a TBI include bad falls (for example, from a ladder or down a flight of stairs), car accidents, sports injuries and, for members of the military, explosions and other combat injuries.

Some of the symptoms of TBI, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulties with speech
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Confusion and agitation

Clearly, any of those could make it difficult to fly after a traumatic brain injury. However, time and medication can help with these issues. Most experts believe that flying is generally safe if it’s done at least 10 days after the brain injury. That varies, depending on the health of the patient before the incident and the exact nature of the brain injury. 

It’s also crucial to get an opinion from your doctor before deciding to fly after a traumatic brain injury.

How Non-Emergency Medical Transport Can Help TBI Victims

If a doctor gives the green light for flying, then the next important step is to get the support you need for the flight. By flying with a flight nurse affiliated with a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) company, TBI patients can better handle all the details of airplane travel. A NEMT company and flight nurse offer support to TBI patients in a number of areas, including the following.

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Making Flight Arrangements

TBI patients don’t have to worry about booking flights, dealing with airport personnel or handling the details of getting medications through security. A NEMT company handles all your travel arrangements and works with the airports and airlines to make your trip go as smoothly as possible.

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Tracking Medications

Most TBI patients carry medications to deal with the symptoms listed above, as well as other TBI-related issues. A flight nurse will handle the transport and administering of medications throughout your trip, taking a major burden off your hands (and a lot of worry off your mind).

Expertise in Flight Healthcare

Flight nurses, in addition to training in emergency room settings, also have knowledge, skills and experience in providing healthcare at high altitudes. They understand the impact that flying can have on all medical conditions, including brain injuries. They will be ready to provide any care needed throughout the flight.

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Peace of Mind

It’s impossible to quantify the peace of mind people experience having a Flight Coordinator handle all the travel-related bookings and a flight nurse to oversee care during the trip. Just the relief from anxiety that TBI patients experience can make having a flight nurse along worthwhile.

With a doctor’s clearance, it’s possible to fly after a traumatic brain injury. But TBI patients should also seek assistance to make the experience go much more smoothly. A flight nurse is an outstanding choice in this regard.

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Why is Flying Scary?

Why is Flying Scary?

Travel has become a consistent part of life for many people, with more than 4 billion seats purchased for flights in 2019 alone. But some people still believe flying is scary because of fear of accidents, confusion over getting through the airport, or anxiety about flying while injured or post-operative.

The feeling that flying is scary is common. However, these fears are rooted in misconceptions or a lack of facts. Learning more about flying can lessen that “scared to fly” feeling. Here are several of the common reasons to feel that flying is scary and ways to deal with them.

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Fear of Accidents

This is one of the most common fears, but it’s one that’s easier to keep in check when you know the facts. Around the world, the safety of aircraft keeps improving. The International Air Transport Association reported that in 2019, the airline industry saw its safety record improve yet again. There were 46.8 million flights and only 250 accidents. In the United States, there hasn’t been a fatal commercial airline crash since 2009. The odds of being in a plane accident are about 1 in 11 million (compared to about 1 in 5,000 for a car accident).

However, many people still deal with anxiety and think flying is too scary to try.  Some tips that can help lessen that anxiety include the following.

  • Look at pictures of airplane interiors to get you used to the environment
  • Choose the best seat on a plane that will keep you close to the bathroom if you need it. An aisle seat is also better for those who don’t want to see how high off the ground they are
  • Bring something fun and relaxing to read or watch during the flight
  • Stay away from anything that induces anxiety, such as the news
  • Avoid caffeine, as it can heighten your sense of anxiety
  • Try people watching, both in the airport and on the plane. It can take your mind off your own anxieties
  • If you have a travel companion, take the opportunity to have a long conversation with  them

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Fear of Flying When Injured or Ill

Those who are recovering from an injury, recently experienced a health emergency or want to fly after surgery often fear getting on a plane. However, it is possible to fly in all these situations, especially if you have the right support.

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This is a common situation and one that a flight nurse can help you handle. Flight nurses can:

  • Fly with you on your flight, ensuring you get proper medical treatment if needed
  • Carry and administer any medication you need
  • Guide you through the terminal, security and gate procedures
  • Ensure any equipment you have is properly stored, such as a wheelchair
  • The non-emergency medical transport companies they work for can even handle all your travel arrangements.

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Fear of Navigating the Airport

Some people feel intimidated by the experience itself. Airports are huge, busy and confusing. That can give rise to feelings of anxiety, in some cases escalating to fear. Some tips to keep in mind for these issues are as follows.

  • Research and pick your parking location ahead of time. Go on your departure airport’s website and pick a place to park that will be the most convenient for you
  • Arrive early. It’s OK to arrive hours ahead of time, giving yourself plenty of time
  • Ticketing is your first stop, and you can now printout boarding passes at a self-serve kiosk. You can also use a pass on your phone if you have that function. Both save time in line
  • At security, wear shoes that are easy to slip off and slip on. Remember you will have to take off your belt and empty everything from your pockets, so don’t carry a lot.
  • Once you reach the gate area – and if you have time – find a relaxing airport lounge to wait for when boarding starts on your flight (typically about 30 minutes before departure)
  • Remember you are in control of how you react to this experience, it doesn’t control you
  • If you are elderly, post-operative, or dealing with a condition that impairs movement, this is another area where having a flight nurse with you is of great help

Flying is scary to some people, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By keeping these tips in mind and focusing on positive thinking, it’s not as difficult as you might think. You might even find that eventually you start to enjoy the experience!

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