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Airline Tips for Your Hawaii Vacation

Beat of Hawaii is on the move and in the air. So far this year we’ve been on each of the Hawaiian islands, and have visited several of them more than once. We’ve also flown to both east and west coasts on different airlines. Sometimes everything goes great when traveling, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s an updated list of our top airline tips to make the most of your Hawaii flying experience.

Water: Staying hydrated

Fortunately the crews usually provide frequent water service on board long Hawaii flights. Occasionally I’ll buy water at the airport for my flight, albeit expensive and the bottles in most cases small.

Most of the time, however, I travel with a stainless steel water bottle, brought empty through TSA. Once past security I stop at the first chilled water fountain to fill up.

Clothes and Shoes: On board and for arrival

It’s hard to predict whether the temperature on the plane will be hot or cold, so how can I stay comfortable under any condition?

I typically wear pants with zip off legs. Once I arrive back in Hawaii, I remove the legs to convert them to shorts. I have several pairs of these reserved primarily for air travel and they work like a charm. A very light, waterproof jacket serves well for the plane and for unexpected rain here in Hawaii.

Comfortable and not tight shoes work best for me. I keep my slippahs for use in Hawaii since I don’t much like cold feet on planes. At other times though I’ll put on socks under the slippahs and that works too.

Avoiding jet lag

I’ve suffered from jet lag this past week, having just returned across 6 time zones to Hawaii from New York. At some level it’s unavoidable in east-west travel.

I start the time change as soon as I board my flight from or to Hawaii. If the airline requests that lowering the window shades during flight, I leave them open at least a crack to maintain awareness of the sun. It’s important for our bodies body to see the light or darkness to aid in a quicker time change adjustment.

I’ve heard that Melatonin at night, supposedly letting it dissolve under your tongue, has helped some deal with jet lag. I’ve never tried it, though, so can’t quite figure about the dissolving under the tongue. Another thing I’ve heard that may help is SamE plus Gaba, anytime. They’re good sleep – chemical precursors I was told. Do you have any experience with these?

Germ reduction

Airliners are germ laden. And the last thing I want is for an illness to impact my precious travels.

I bring anti-bacterial wipes to clean off all surfaces before flight. This includes the tray and buttons on arm rest. I try to be mindful of everything that I might touch.

Sleeping in flight

I want to sleep on trans Pacific flights but it’s not that easy to with the noise on board or a talkative seat mate.

Try this: I pack disposable foam ear plugs that reduce the sound level by up to 33 decibels. It’s also a sure sign to others that I plan on sleeping. If the airline doesn’t provide one, I also travel with my own airline blanket. It’s clean and more comfortable anyway.

Avoiding the worst seats

I walk on board and notice that some coach seats seem to have much more airline leg room than others. We wrote about that this past week. Meanwhile sometimes I seem to get stuck in the worst seat possible.

I check out Seat Guru so that I have some idea in advance what seats to avoid if possible. Most airlines now offer upgrades to exit row or bulkhead seating for an additional fee. If two are traveling, I sometimes choose the two aisles of a three across section towards the back. It’s a gamble, but chances are the center seat won’t be taken unless the flight is full.

Comfort items on board

Chap stick, eye drops, toothpaste, and other small items; samples work great. These are a subset of my one quart liquids bag that are then in the seat back pocket when needed. I also like to have handy items including stomach upset remedies, hand wipes, eyeglass cleaners, Shout wipes for spills, reading glasses, foam ear plugs, and for longer flights, eye shades. How about an inflatable neck pillow? I’m still suffering from a stiff neck gotten aloft.

Bring your own airline food. Well we’ve written about that before, and it’s a whole other story. Bottom line is I don’t generally eat airline food.

Two final tips

I bring my USB chargers in my under seat carry-on. On my flights to and from New York, I realized that Hawaiian has USB chargers below each seat on their Airbus planes. I was able to keep charged throughout my flight.

A pen is useful en route to Hawaii as you’ll be completing a State of Hawaii agricultural form prior to arrival.

What are your best airline travel tips?

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6 thoughts on “Airline Tips for Your Hawaii Vacation”

  1. Hi Jeff and Rob! Last trip over from Ohio, I wore my sandals with sandal socks on the plane. I like to wear my sandals all winter long, hence, I have started buying these socks. Not very alluring, but functional. They worked beautifully on the plane as they kept my feet warm and I could kick off the sandals easily for comfort. I just slipped off the socks when I arrived in Hawaii and was set for the beach! Also work great in the airport security line. Sandals off and on easily and no going barefoot in the airport…. (Yuck!)

  2. melatonin is far less reliable than over the counter Benadryl 25 mg for safe sleep. Stable, reproducible, absolutely safe,billions of doses used, possibly trillions

  3. Aloha. Since I am planning a trip from Hawaii to New England to visit my mother, I really appreciate your fabulous tips for long trips. Love your earth consciousness about bringing your own stainless steel water bottle and filling it up at airport water fountains. Thanks, friends. And keep up the good work.

  4. Get a reasonably priced pair of noise reducing headphones. They work wonders in reducing the air and engine noise. They come with multiple adapters for different airplane jacks.

    We recently flew Kona-San Francisco-NYC, the second link a redeye. Airline didn’t provide either blankets or pillows. A trick I learned flying space available military is pack one of those disposable mylar survival blankets. Only weighs an ounce or two.

  5. RE your comment wondering why Melatonin is better taken under the tongue – enzymes lose their potency in gastric juices so dissolving under the tongue means most gets into the bloodstream directly. Like nitro for heart attacks and ativan for anxiety it also works faster.

    Water in plastic bottles can be drunk before security or in line, taken across empty and reflilled tho not as ecologically acceptable as the reusable metal ones.

    Michele – retired RN

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