10 Travel Tips From A Frequent Flyer

10 Travel Tips From A Frequent Flyer

From my Frequent Flyer miles to you

1. Pack your hand luggage light, and your check-in back heavy

The worst thing is searching through your large-sized Kate Spade to try and find your passport, because you chose to bring a big carry-on so you could fit your crafts kit in there for the boring mid-flight hours. Take a small carry-on with JUST the essentials i.e. dump the books and the passport, and go with the crafting kit.

2. Take earplugs

There is nothing worse than falling asleep finally and being woken up by screaming child. Furthermore, earplugs indicate that you do not want to be woken so will stop flight attendants from disturbing you.

3. Stay warm

Planes get really chilly, especially when you're on the back of the back section, in the nosebleeders, because you spent all your money on the clothes you're going to wear on your trip. You're right by the vents in this area of the plane, so take a scarf and an extra pair of fluffy socks so you don't get cold.

4. Snacks are free

Ask for free stuff. You don't realize JUST how many bags of peanuts and pretzels lie beyond that mysterious curtain at the front of the plain, but it would be enough to feed a starving country.

5. Use the First Class bathroom

Sneak up and use the First Class bathroom. It is slightly bigger, and their soap smells nicer. Flight attendants also check on this bathroom and keep it nice and clean.

6. Don't carry your laptop

For long-haul flights in the modern age, most planes will have a TV. If you are trying to do some work on the plane a) don't do it, relax b) there are amazing movies which aren't on Netflix yet! If you really feel the need to work, take a mini iPad on there as laptops are heavy, take up a lot of space, and are often checked at airport security if they are in your carry-on.

7. Use a colorful check-in bag

Speed up the process by knowing which back is yours on the belt and avoiding a luggage switch-up.

8. If using the overhead storage, put your bag at the front of the plane

This way, in the rush to get to customs, you won't be waiting in your seat to retrieve your bag from the back of the plane.

9. Advil, melatonin, and a glass of wine is the recipe for a peaceful flight

This doesn't need an explanation but has been my remedy for the last couple of years, as I do about six 11 hr flights a year

10. Don't have children

Or at the very least, don't fly with them.

Cover Image Credit: Alan Light

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Meet The College Student Who Took A Solo Road Trip Across The United States

With only a cooler, a bag of electronics, and a bag of clothes, Alex Kim embarked on the trip of a lifetime.


Not many college students can say that they've taken a road trip across the United States. Even fewer can say that they've gone on that journey alone.

However, Alex Kim can say that within one month, he drove from the east coast to the west coast of the United States by himself. And he made sure to hit all the major attractions on the way.

You name it — the White House, Cloud Gate, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Yosemite — Kim has been to all those places.

Kim is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina, majoring in religious studies with a minor in human rights. He plans to attend law school in the fall of 2019. So, he knew that if he wanted to take a trip across the states, the summer of 2018 would be the perfect time.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

I had the opportunity to meet Kim when he briefly stopped by Lawrence, Kansas, near the final stretch of his journey. When he told me about his trip, I was baffled, intrigued, and impressed all at once.

To take a long road trip with friends is one thing, but to take a month-long road trip by himself is an entirely different story.

Kim said he simply wanted to meet people. He had the opportunity to meet other brothers in his fraternity, Pi Alpha Phi, and made quite a few friends (myself included!) on the way. He also visited family friends and people that he knew through Greek life.

Besides meeting people, this trip also consisted mostly of driving an 6-8 hours per day, listening to educational podcasts, and traveling to national parks, monuments, and memorials. He even bought along a burner and pot to cook ramen noodles in the national parks. Kim called these meals his "ramen adventures."

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Kim said this trip was extremely of out of his comfort zone, but it helped that he went alone because he was able to set his own schedules, plan his own routes, and do everything at his own discretion.

When asked about why he decided to go alone, Kim said "Going with someone else means that I will spend way more money than I should… If I went with another person, I also have to cater sleeping accommodations as well."

There were many times where Kim simply slept in his car because he didn't know anyone in the area, or he didn't want to pay for a hotel or Airbnb. But he didn't have to sleep in his car the whole trip. Half the time, he had friends or family members who were willing to house him for a night or so.

In addition, going alone gave Kim a lot of time to reflect on his past and what's to come in his future.

"I can't tell you how many times I thought of what my next chapter of life will be," Kim said.

However, going alone also presented its fair share of obstacles. Some difficulties included bad weather, over exhaustion, too much caffeine, and lack of sleep and nutritious food. One of the biggest problems that he faced was loneliness.

Kim admitted that there were periods of time where he felt extremely lonely. When he knew that he wasn't going to see people for a while, he would call his parents in the morning to tell them where he had been and that he was doing well.

There was one instance where he was first traveling to a national park, Yellowstone Park, and he internally freaked out. For the most part, Kim heard nothing but complete radio silence because there was no reception. Kim said that he felt scared because he wasn't in control of his loneliness.

Aside from those challenges, Kim was glad to say that the road trip went well, and he didn't have any car trouble.

For him, some notable locations were New York City and Los Angeles. Kim didn't really go to L.A. for sightseeing, but rather to pay his respects to an old mentor who passed away. Even though he explored much of nature and national parks, he said that the most breathtaking view was not in fact at a national park, but at a family friend's farm in Harlington, Nebraska.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

"I never thought I would say this, but I really enjoyed the countryside in Nebraska. Being away from the city lights, it was very peaceful and quiet. The sunset was breathtaking," he said.

Overall, Kim approximated that he traveled across the United States for a grand total of 9,700 miles, and despite some challenges, he really enjoyed this trip. He met new and old people and witnessed stunning views that he wouldn't have seen back in North Carolina. As a lone traveler, Kim practiced humility and now sees the world with a fresh perspective.

Kim also learned many lessons along the way and here are six that he shared:

1. Learn to rely on yourself.

2. Sometimes it's good to play it by ear. You'll have the freedom to do so much more.

3. If you can't play it by ear, always have a contingency plan.

4. The people who constantly kept up with you throughout your whole trip are you true friends.

5. Get out of your comfort zone; learn to be versatile.

6. Take time to yourself to reflect on your past, make amends if possible, and plan out your future.

After his trip, Kim returned to North Carolina, taking with him all the experience and lessons he gained from his travels. Nowadays, he keeps busy by studying for the LSAT in September and working towards getting into law school.

But would Kim take this extraordinary road trip again if he could? Most definitely.

See more pictures from his trip below.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

All photos here are provided courtesy of Alex Kim.

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Hate Me If You Want, But You Don't Need A Car As Soon As You Turn 16

You don't need a brand new car the second you get your license.


I didn't get a car for my 16th birthday, and at the time, that was very disappointing. In fact, when I got my license, I wasn't allowed to use the car at our house whenever I wanted. I got to use it maybe once every few months.

I recently bought my first car because I'm going to need to get to school and work once I leave for college. I paid for it myself, and as I've learned more and more about what goes into owning your own car, I've realized something.

There's no way I would have been ready for a car at 16.

Sure, it would've been cool to drive my friends places and not rely on my mom for a ride all the time. But do you know how expensive a car is? Constantly putting gas in it? Repairs? Tires? Plates? INSURANCE? It is absolute madness!

And as a 16-year-old who only babysat occasionally, I just didn't have the funds to pay for all of that.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are some cases when it's necessary to get a car at 16. You work in the summer, and your parents can't drive you. Your parents want you to drive your siblings to school so they don't have to. You're helping your family out and making it easier on them. I understand that.

But I don't think that you need a car when you first get your license, just to drive around in it. If you need to go somewhere, I think you can ask your parents for a ride, or ask if you can use their car. I think it's unnecessary for you to have your own. #sorrynotsorry

Hate me if you want, but you don't need a brand new car the second you get your license.

I had my dad's old car that didn't even run. A couple months later, it was crushed by a tree when it was being worked on. Now, I'm driving a '99 Camry. It's nothing new, but I love it. And I know that after everything I put into it (all the gas money and insurance), I am ready for it now, when I wasn't at sixteen.

So if you don't get a car for your 16th birthday, don't be upset. Enjoy other people driving you around because, before you know it, you'll be driving everyone and paying for gas out of your own pocket.

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