I'd consider myself to be a pretty experienced traveler, particularly when it comes to solo plane journeys. I've had my fair share of opening up to strangers who sat next to me for eight hours, learning all about their home towns and their current trips. But my favorite type of person to sit next to on a plane is an older lady. Experienced women will always have great stories about their lives (and grandchildren), they will always be interested in my job, particularly when it comes to the world of social media. But best of all, they always have the best traveling hacks!
The best hack I ever learned was one of the simplest. I was on one of many trips to the US to visit family. During the flight, after we'd been given our hot towels, the lady next to me began using it to clean the tray table, TV, and arm rests. I immediately asked, "Do you always do that with your hot towel?" and she explained it's the dirtiest place on the plane, so it's an easy way to clean it, mess-free. She told me I should do the same, so obviously I followed this wise woman's advice!
Though the towels don't contain any antibacterial chemicals, I thought "it's got to clean some of the surface, right?" On every flight since, I've done this every time. While you won't get a hot towel on your next budget trip, it's a good tip to remember for other flights. Bringing wet wipes can also help ease those germophobe thoughts.
To the very nice lady I met flying from London to Michigan, thanks for the lifelong tip!