I’m Going to San Francisco! (And flight tips!)

When I moved back home to Illinois from New York City in August one strong driving force was the desire to travel. I was spending waaaaay more for rent in the city than I care to admit and that money could be better spent going on adventures and having once in a lifetime experiences.

Originally I planned on saving money until 2017 (I’ve already got a few trips planned!) but a friend texted me asking if I wanted to go to San Francisco with her in November and I’d never been to the West Coast so I had to say yes!

Our tickets and Airbnb are all booked (and Airbnb even sent us a gift card to a local coffee shop – too sweet!) so now we are just trying to plan and jam as much into 72 hours as we possibly can.

We’ll be getting to San Fran early Friday morning and leaving laaaate on Sunday we have three full days of adventure. We are already planning on going to the Muir Woods on Friday for a lot of the day, the Golden Gate is a must, the Painted Ladies are high on my to-do list, and we want to hit Lombard Street, too.

We’ve got most of the super touristy destinations covered on our to-do list, but I was hoping some West Coast natives might have suggestions for things we should do, too!

We are both foodies and coffee crazy, so any restaurant or coffee shop recommendations would be so appreciated (bonus points if they are veg-friendly!) and I’m big into adventure, so if there is anything that might get my heart racing I’m in!

And so this post isn’t alllll about me, I thought I’d throw in some of my best flight tips for those of you who are also planning trips in the future.


Six steps to a successful flight:

  1. Dress to impress (the TSA agents). When I travel I make it a point to wear slip-on shoes, no jewelry, and my carry on is strategically packed so I can easily get my laptop out into it’s own bin. It takes me 30 seconds to get ready to go through security and 30 seconds once I’m through. The quicker you get through security, the quicker you can make it to the airport Starbucks.
  2. Don’t hurry up to wait. You know when the plane starts boarding and everyone jumps into line as quickly as possible, oftentimes before their boarding group is even called? I’ve never understood those people. I’m much more comfortable in the wide open airport than in a cramped plane, so you better bet that I’ll be the last person in my boarding group to board because getting on the plane sooner doesn’t mean it’s going to take off any sooner and this claustrophobe prefers to spend as little time in the airplane as possible.
  3. Bring your own waterbottle. Bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up once you get to your gate. Personally the dry air in the plane always makes me dehydrated and waiting for the beverage cart is no fun. Being prepared with water (and maybe some snacks!) will make the ride infinitely more comfortable.
  4. Neck pillows are a game changer. I will be honest with you – I always saw people who traveled with neck pillows as pretentious. I don’t know why, but my inner mean girl always made that association no matter how much I told her to keep her opinions to herself. But now? I’m a convert. Moving home from New York I brought a neck pillow with me and was able to fully and comfortably relax on the plane – something I’d never been able to do before.
  5. Bring a book, a game that doesn’t need wifi, or a movie loaded into your phone. There is some unwritten rule that makes time move much slower on an airplane. While you can easily kill three hours at home and not know where the time went, you’ll feel every single minute if you don’t bring something to entertain you on the plane.
  6. Be ready to leave the plane. By the end of the flight other passengers are cranky and a rush to make their connection, start their vacation, or finally be home. If you’re holding up the line of people leaving the plane while you fumble to make sure you have everything people will be angry. Yes, people should be more understanding but flights tend to bring out the worst in people. I recommend packing up your bag during your descent and being ready to grab your carry on from the overhead bin when it comes your turn. (Also, don’t be the person who gets noticeably annoyed at people holding up the line, they are probably just flustered!)

If the tips seemed like givens I envy you because you’re more well traveled than I am (these are things I’ve just learned in the past two years myself!) and I’d love to hear your tips for successful flights, too! Because no matter how prepared I feel and how smoothly my travel time goes airports and flights always stress me out.