Traveling can be just as fun as it can be stressful. I travel quite a bit for both business and pleasure and I can attest to the fact that knowing the ropes makes it a breeze. That said here are eight travel hacks that you’ll definitely want to know before you embark on your next trip.
1. Get “away” when you go away.
I know you think you can easily get by with that duffel bag you’ve been using for the last five years. Truth is you may be right, but you aren’t traveling efficiently. I recommend investing in a quality and durable suitcase for all your travels. Have you ever seen the way airport employees handle your bags? It’s alarming to say the least.
I recently started traveling with an Away suitcase and I could not be happier. It’s affordable, durable, and most of all — it can charge my iPhone — five times. Their products have a sleek design and are perfect for both vacations and business travel.
2. Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Tired of those hour long lines to get through security? Fed up with taking off your shoes, belt, and laboriously unpacking then repacking your bag?
The TSA PreCheck program lets eligible “low-risk” travelers breeze through security. You can fly through busy terminal security lines without removing your shoes, belt, and even laptops from your carry on bag. You have to be a U.S. citizen and have no serious crimes on your record, but gaining PreCheck status is easy. All you have to do is fill out the paperwork and go for a short in person interview.
If you travel internationally I strongly recommend looking in to Global Entry as well. If you’re granted Global Entry you will have TSA Pre-Check as well so there’s no need to do both (TSA PreCheck does not qualify you for Global Entry however).
Global Entry provides the same expedited screenings as TSA Pre-Check including border control and customs. It’s awesome. You can easily apply online and will need to do an in-person interview as well. Wait times depend on the airport so you should look at all nearby airports when applying.
3. Fly on Boeing 767s.
If you are looking at two similar flights, and one is on a Boeing 767, choose that one every time. These mid to large sized aircrafts have fewer cramped middle seats than most other plane types, so you’re less likely to get stuck with no room for your elbows.
If this isn’t possible, check out seatguru, which provides live seating charts for every flight. It also gives you insider tips on proximity to bathrooms and extra legroom.
4. Download your airline’s app.
Most travelers don’t travel enough to think that they need to download these apps. The truth is, airlines invest a ton of money into producing them so they often offer tremendous value. These apps give you real time updates on delays, gate changes, and you allow you a streamlined and paperless boarding system. Flight apps give you more peace of mind when you are rushing to the airport.
5. Think about investing in a flight service membership.
For those of you constantly travelling between two offices, it might make sense to look into some of the new startups offering charter flight memberships. Take Surfair in California for example. This new company offers an “all-you-can-fly” membership between twelve private airports in California.
Surfair company boasts that you can arrive only 15 minutes before your flight and enjoy a seamless transit to your next location. This could be a cost effective way to jet set around California in style.
If you’re a high roller you can try membership apps like Jetsmarter which give you access to a more affordable (comparably) private jet experience. If you’re considering a membership, make sure you check common flight times.
These flights are cheapest when you can hop on a leg with an “extra-seat.” For example, if you have weekly or monthly commutes for business there may be a leg you can always count on.
6. Always have your go bag ready.
If you keep a separate set of clothes and amenities like a toothbrush and charger in your travel bag you won’t ever forget them. This will also prevent you from accidently bringing liquids or shampoos over the three-point-four ounce limit.
One pro-tip that I use over and over again is to order sample or hotel sizes of your favorite shampoos and lotion online. They usually come in the perfect travel ready containers.
7. Don’t fret if you forget your charger.
Phone and computer chargers are some of the most frequently forgotten items in hotel rooms. Housekeeping usually collects these in a box that is kept at the concierge desk in the off chance that someone comes back to collect it. If you say that you left yours at home, they usually let you dig around the box for one that you can use.
8. Don’t forget to tell the airline your frequent flyer information for business trips.
This is one of the most important tips of them all. Always use the airline’s frequent flyer program. We all love free flights, and when you can accumulate miles especially on your companies dime that next vacation can be greatly reduced.
Most airlines count on the fact that people forget to get credit for the miles that they’ve traveled. Don’t be that person! Always remember to inquire about frequent flyer points as you are checking in.
You can never avoid all of the unexpected’s that will occur. There will always be a chance you’ll sit in between two families with a crying newborn. However there are definitely ways you can optimize your travel experience. If you’re ready for your next trip try some of the hacks listed above and bon voyage.