At our recent all-firm meeting, the topic of travel came up; not surprising, given that most of our team covers a lot of ground each year. Soon enough, we all began sharing our favorite travel tips, and were pleased to discover a few that even our hardened LI “road warriors” hadn’t heard of. Given that our average reader is no stranger to airports either, we thought we’d share our best travel tips here, in the hopes they make your life a little easier as you travel the friendly skies.
Top 10 Travel Tips
- Stay Charged. If you’ve got a lengthy flight where you hope to get a lot of work done, try to book an aircraft that has AC electrical outlets available for the cabin. When booking flights online, airlines will list the type of aircraft that is anticipated to be used for the flight; furthermore, most will have a page that gives the layout of each aircraft and whether it is equipped with WiFi and DC or AC electrical outlets. SeatGuru is another great option for finding out the amenities of your specific flight and comparing with others. If outlets aren’t an option, there are a number of reasonably priced external charging banks for phones and laptops.
- Skip the Security Line. Take the time to sign up for TSA Pre✓. Eligible American Express cards will even reimburse you for the charge. And beyond Pre✓, consider Clear, a subscription program that – ironically – helps you skip past the ever-growing Pre✓ line. Delta Air Lines offers it for free or for a discount, depending on your status level.
- Protect Your Phone. These days, our boarding passes tend to be on our phones. So a little phone handle is great for getting through security without drops or other mishaps. There are plenty of different types out there, but one of our favorites is called the LoveHandle – it’s a thin elastic strap that fits snugly around a finger or two and makes scanning a boarding pass a breeze.
- There’s an App for Everything. The right travel app is invaluable if you’re in a rush or an unfamiliar place. One we love is GateGuru, which provides your itinerary, lets you check on your flight status, and tells you everything that’s around you at whatever airport you happen to be in. (No more wandering to the opposite terminal in search of coffee.)
- Take a Screen Capture of Your Boarding Pass. Seems like every time we want to use our electronic boarding pass, it takes forever to load on our phones from the airline app. One easy solution to circumvent slow internet speeds is to take a picture of your boarding pass using your phone. Just pull up the boarding pass on your phone and use the key stroke necessary to take a screen capture of it; it will save under your photo folder. This way, your boarding pass will be ready to pull up anytime you need it.
- Paper Is the Best Backup. Electronics aren’t perfect. Keep a paper hard-copy of essential confirmation numbers, telephone numbers, addresses, and any other information you might need in the event you aren’t able to access the Internet straight away, or your cell runs out of juice.
- Never Separate Yourself from Your Gear (aka Always Carry-On). This one comes straight from the mouth of an ex-marine client. Being stranded or re-routed, you’ll always have your clothes and essentials. Not waiting for baggage claim, getting your bags lost, or paying bag fees is also a plus. The key is to pack lightly and efficiently so checking bags isn’t necessary.
- If You Have To, Check Bags for Free at the Gate. If for whatever reason you want/need to check luggage, but don’t want to pay the bag fees, you can often avoid them by checking luggage at the gate; nearly every airline will check them for free at the gate because they’re always low on overhead space.
- Avoid That Traveling Bug. No one likes getting sick – especially while traveling. During cold and flu season in particular, bring a pack of disinfecting wipes to wipe down the worst offenders: These tend to be buttons and tray tables on planes, and handles and light switches in hotel rooms. For your hotel TV remote, even better than wiping it down is wrapping it in the plastic bag that comes with the ice bucket. Just slip in the remote and tie a knot at the end – since it’s clear, you can still see all buttons perfectly.
- Avoid That Other Traveling Bug. It’s not fun to think about, but bedbugs can come from even the nicest hotels. To avoid bringing any unwelcome guests home with you, keep your luggage in the bathtub (or on the bathroom counter while showering), and hang up your clothes on the shower rod overnight. Even the wooden luggage racks can house bedbugs, so only use a luggage rack if it’s metal, and keep it in the bathroom. Never put your luggage on top of the bed.
Bonus Travel Tip: Make Lemonade. Figuratively, not literally. Travel can be rough. Flexibility, small kindnesses, and a sense of humor help ensure an enjoyable journey even when the usual – or unusual – travel annoyances pop up. Sugar, not vinegar, goes a long way with gate agents who are accustomed to dealing with angry travelers.
Are we missing any? What tips do you swear by when you travel? Let us know – we’ll include our favorites in a follow-up post!