I Only Fly Coach, But These 5 Expert Travel Hacks Make Me Feel Like I'm in First Class

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With a heavy roster of flights this summer and beyond, my group chats and social media feed is filled with chic outfits, incredible landscape photos, and lust-worthy hotel shots during a period of intense travel. My secret to partaking in a fun-filled, luxurious summer abroad is to save your money anywhere else you can—which, in my case, usually involves taking red-eye flights and sitting in the back of a cramped economy section.

I’m an expert traveler (last year, I logged over 150 hours just flying!), so trust me when I say that I’ve hacked making economy seats feel like I’m in first class. Whether it comes to maximizing your in-flight beauty routine or packing those viral travel accessories for a long-haul international flight, these five travel tips will make your experience to your final destination that much better— no upgrades needed!

Invest in a High-Quality Carry-On Suitcase

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Long gone are the days of tumbling through the airport with a half-broken suitcase that’s missing a wheel or two. After severely upgrading my $35 carry-on I fished from the clearance bin to a Rimowa cabin-size suitcase, I’ve been telling everyone in my life to do the same. Unlike checked luggage, you’ll be with your carry-on throughout your flight, so it’s important to buy an investment piece that lasts. Who cares if you’re in row 33?

Plan Your In-Flight Beauty Routine

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I’m guilty of neglecting my skincare when I’m traveling on a long-haul flight. Instead of washing your face with bathroom soap and hoping for the best, opt to upgrade your wellness experience with travel-size products you can apply from the comfort of your seat. Sheet masks, eye patches, and lip balm are all small changes that can have a big impact if you’re traveling for six or more hours.

Pack a Cozy Matching Set for Long-Haul Flights

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As much as I wish I could be one of those chic travelers who wears a white button-down shirt and jeans to the airport, I have to be realistic. Instead of turning a look for the tarmac, opt to wear your favorite, yet cute, two-piece matching set so that you look (and feel!) put together while wearing something more akin to a pajama.

Don’t Forget the TikTok Travel Accessories

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Although TikTok Shop and Amazon might have some questionable viral flight accessories, I have to admit that some of the travel-focused products you see on the apps are worth it. After succumbing to the algorithm and buying things like portable chargers, supplement cases, and packing cubes, my in-flight experience has been elevated to the max. Nothing brings more comfort than knowing I’ve maximized my economy seat!

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Just like wearing a matching set, don’t be afraid to wear your favorite pairs of cozy slippers or tried-and-true sneakers on your flight. While it’s tempting to opt to wear your chunkiest, heaviest shoes on the plane to optimize your luggage space and avoid overweight baggage fees, you’ll end up regretting it shortly after takeoff. If you’re not into the cozy slippers look while walking around an airport, buy a thin, packable pair you can change into once you’re up in the air.