I travel frequently, so I’m often drawn to travel tips. However, most of the tips I read are for infrequent pleasure travelers rather than frequent travelers. I’m not sure that there’s enough helpful information out there for those of us who do hit the road a lot, so if you’re a road warrior who spends more time on a plane than in your own house, these tips were written especially for you.
1. Make Use of Frequent Flyer Plans
If you travel more than five times a year, pick an airline, and stick with it. Airline frequent flyer programs work if you work them. For example, let’s say you have a big business trip followed by a vacation and then another trip. You may be able to qualify for an elite program. How, you ask? Airlines sometimes let you bid to become an elite member … you can pick a certain time frame (usually three months) and if you fly a certain amount of segments or miles in that time frame you will receive elite status for a fraction of the miles those that other frequent flyers have to rack up.
2. Request a Good Seat
A great site of finding good and bad seats on planes in SeatGuru. It features all carriers and models. It is a wonderful site for tips, tricks, and good seats.
3. Get Access to Airline Clubs
Check to see which elite credit card programs give you free access to airline clubs. American Express Platinum gives you access to American Airlines clubs for free. The Annual membership fees for the American Airlines Admirals Club are the same as the American Express card—so get the credit card and you get a “two-fer.”
4. Arrange a Private Car Service
Time is money and so every time you skimp and take some Super Shuttle to the airport you are wasting valuable time. For a few dollars more ($50) you could use a private car service. With door to door private service, you save a ton of time and hassle, so consider it next time and you may discover the cost difference is not as much as you would think, especially if you are flying with friends or colleagues.
5. Become an Elite Member
You can pay your way into elite programs. Often for a few hundred dollars you can buy your way into most elite programs. What are the benefits?
- You often don’t have to pay the extra check-in luggage fee.
- You get to skip the long security lines and go through the priority check-in lines.
- You get a discount on some airline lounges.
- You get to board before regular boarding groups.
- You get to put you name on the upgrade list—you won’t get it but you will feel better at having a shot.
6. Pack Smart
One thing I do to lighten the load is pack one pair of pants for every two tops. Pants can be worn twice, not as easy with tops. I also always pack a simple black travel dress. You can dress it up or down with the right shoes and accessories and it never wrinkles; TitleNine.com has one of the best ones on the market. Wear your heaviest and chunkiest shoes on the plane, saves a ton of space in your bag. I wear my running shoes or clogs on the plane and pack the little flats.
7. Be Informed of the Airport Security Rules
This is for all the pleasure travelers that drive all of us business travelers crazy:
- Know how much liquid you can take on a plane. Stick in the quart baggy and have it on the outside pocket of your suitcase for ease of getting to it. You can always put it in your luggage after you go through security.
- Yes, you have to take your shoes, jacket, and heavy sweaters off.
- Yes, if you are behind that guy that looks like he has stinky feet, he will … stay clear of his shoes.
- Yes, you have to take you computer out of your bag and put it in a bin all by itself, and No you don’t have to do the same for your camera or phone.
- Yes, you need to show your ID to that first guy and your ticket to the one on the other side of the metal detector.
8. Rent a Car When Necessary
What can I say, Hertz Gold is hands down the best. For convenience there is nothing like walking up to a board with your name and stall number, walking to your car, and leaving the airport. This however, is not one of my money saving tips, because Hertz is also one of the more expensive car rentals out there. However, I have found them to be competitive with discount brands so give them a look.
9. Stay Calm and Be Polite
Take a big deep breath before you leave the house, your car, the taxi, and try to just be present for the lovely madness you are sure to encounter once you walk through those airport doors. Be kind to each other. I cannot tell you how many times, stopping to look someone in the eye and say, “Thank you” or “Have a nice day” has resulted in a much more pleasant experience for all.
10. Disengage the Talker
You can tell the minute you sit down if you are sitting next to a talker. I have found that engaging in conversation before the flight helps them to get some of that talking out. I always have my headset and book right in the seat back so I can grab them at any time which allows me to disengage in a polite way. Having the brief pre-flight conversation also sets a nice environment for when you need to crawl over that person later to go the bathroom (or vice versa).
Originally published on 10Percent Solution