First off, we should begin by me explaining my credentials for providing you with travel tips. I am essentially what one would call "a travel expert" [I'm not at all]. I used to hate airports. THEY ARE THE WORST. I once got nachos at the Oakland Airport and they were so disgusting I contemplated never returning to the Bay Area again. I learned you're just not supposed to say "nachos" and "Oakland" in the same sentence. I guess since then, I've gathered a lot of really beneficial tips that I can share.
My travel schedule is honestly pretty frequent and busy. I have decided in order for me to be even remotely happy, I need to travel by plane once [or more] a month. [Where I am going and why? We'll get to that another time and it will be a darn good story]. Southwest Airlines has become a very dear friend of mine, and let's just say I'd rather get their excellent customer service than have to A) pay for checking a bag and B) deal with snooty attendants to C) sit in first class and not get free peanuts.
Now, before we get started, keep in mind this was my suitcase at 3:00AM last night [when I had to be at work at 9 this morning AND catch my flight right after that], so nothing I say is even actually credible:
1. Get a spray tan before you go. Think about how colorless your skin looks after you fly somewhere- adding some color is wise if you want to look radiant [with no effort] upon landing. Wherever you're going- you may not have access to your makeup collection as you would at home, so a spray tan will help even out your skin tone. I get hand-sprayed airbrush tans [that means I got my first one last night] and I swear by it. Yes, it may be awkward, but not as awkward as having blotchy wrists and neon palms from the Mystic machine. And when you land, the paparazzi may very well take your photo- just make sure to keep it a natural color so they aren't yelling "Snooki!"
2. In regards to packing... don't follow my timeline. I am always shoveling things into my bag, full knowing I have to leave in 3 minutes. Make a list a few days before your trip, and add to it as you remember things. For clothing, pick a color palette. Sounds boring, I know... but this will allow you to bring quite a few basics and a few staple jewelry pieces. You'll arrive knowing everything is going to match and you can change up your outfit ideas at your final destination. For my trip to Seattle today, I chose primarily black, tan, and grey. Everything goes together and can be worn numerous ways, so I can decide how I feel each day [and also see if it is raining or something, I'm still not sure on the rain].
**side note on clothing- Wear your bulkiest clothing for your travel days. This provides the most room in your suitcase. For example, if I am bringing boots, I always wear them on flight days. Ballet flats take up little to no room allowing for 50 "basic tee" options in that bag of yours [mine].
3. Don't over-do it on your "airport survival kit" AKA your carry-on bag. This means you do NOT need to bring 8 magazines, 2 books, a blanket, your computer, work documents, a coloring book, yarn+knitting needles, your makeup bag, DVDs, and a baggy of carrot sticks. You're likely going to only utilize a few of the things, and you're not going to be able to get them out of your jam packed bag. Also, your shoulder will hurt. Even during my longest day of travel, I did not even come CLOSE to finishing all the "airport projects" I brought, and I had to haul them everywhere. I take my essentials only: iPad- preloaded with 1 book and 1 movie [if you don't have a tablet, bring some reading material, and an MP3 player], headphones [key to not losing your marbles if you're an anxious traveler], powder+mascara+lip gloss to touch up when I land, a little extra cash for a snack [drink] because I am not on any diet restrictions currently [ever], and... my airport ritual: nail polish. Yes, it's true, I hide in an abandoned corner of the terminal and paint my nails before I board. I don't annoy anyone with the scent of the polish AND my nails are perfect when I land. I just get my boarding pass ready so I can walk on. By the time I'm at 30,000 feet my nails are set AND I won't be prone to biting them [due to the nerves]. If even one nail has chipped before I board the plane, all polish will be off before the fasten seatbelt sign is.
Believe it or not, I do NOT take my laptop [blogger fail]. If I plan on traveling, I pre-write my posts and have them ready to post via iPhone so that I am not wasting my vacation on my computer. I swear, you just don't need that much stuff. YOUR SHOULDER WILL HURT FROM CARRYING IT ALL AND YOU'LL GET TIRED AND THEN YOU WILL LOOK TIRED, I KNOW OK.
4. Stay calm. There are going to be a lot of REAL jerks in the airport on your day of travel, it is just how it works. My most valuable lesson is that maybe, just maybe, you don't know where they are going. They could be flying to a funeral, or terrified of flying. Cut them a break and don't let it get to you. Airports truly are stressful [and scary] and if you pay attention to the jerks, you just might become one too. Keep sass to a minimum, and just really enjoy the fact that you live in a time where you can literally get on a huge piece of equipment and end up a zillion  miles away in about an hour.