With the holidays rapidly approaching, it seems like the airline industry would be a pretty lucrative business. As if Christmas weren’t expensive enough – with buying gifts for family and friends (and maybe that cute co-worker) – buying a plane ticket seems inevitable, but usually isn’t something you splurge on. As you search on travel comparison sites trying to find the best deal, you usually end up with a coach ticket. “But I got a good deal!” At least that’s what you tell yourself as you board the back of the airplane and sit in a seat that could afford to be 10 inches wider.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive that coach seat and maximize your cost-effective travel experience.

Buy An Organizer

Whether it’s wrangling all your charging cables or trying to shove all your travel necessities into your small carry-on, it can seem impossible to have everything you need at your fingertips. Thankfully, some genius out there created a hanging airplane organizer so we don’t have to suffer. This “High Altitude Flight Bag” includes space for all your electronics, a built-in charging system, magazines and books AND it straps onto the back of the seat in front of you for incredibly easy access to everything you need.

Bring Your Own Snacks

No one likes a “hangry” passenger. It always seems that when I travel, I get on the plane feeling full and content, and about two hours into my flight, I start to wonder when the heck I’m getting some mini pretzels. This might seem like a no-brainer but remember to stuff your carry-on with snacks, so you can eat food you actually enjoy, on your own time. So what if first class is being served grilled chicken with couscous? You’ve got Skinny Pop and a Kind bar.

Invest in a Portable Charger

There is nothing worse than imagining your device dying right in the middle of Pride and Prejudice on your four-hour flight. Okay, there are definitely worse things to imagine, but that device can be a lifeline to entertainment, and without it, you have to resort to reading SkyMall – and wonder if you’d really use that gourmet hot dog roaster. Thankfully, there’s a ton of great portable chargers out there, like this one, that can power up to three devices at the same time with high-speed recharging.

Don’t Wear Bulky Clothing

As Shakira famously sang, “my hips don’t lie,” I am beginning to feel that in my soul every time I sit down in an airplane seat. I’m not sure if I’m getting bigger, or the seats are getting smaller, but it’s become downright uncomfortable to squeeze myself into these tiny coach seats. It can be annoying to constantly fidget, trying desperately not to have any part of your lower body touch the person next to you. In an effort to (somewhat) avoid this inevitable predicament, try wearing yoga pants or a light fabric on your lower half. This will maximize the small amount of wiggle room you have and, as a bonus, you won’t get overheated when you’re seated at the back of the plane next to a window.

Splurge a little

Yes, buy the $12 wine that comes in a plastic bottle! Here’s my philosophy: you’ve already done a fabulous job of saving money by purchasing your coach seat. If that $12 bottle of wine – although somewhat frivolous – puts you at ease and makes the flight easier for you, then by all means, do it. Thankfully, most flights have a full menu from which to order, with everything from tapas boxes to cheeseburgers.

AuthorLauren Cook