In the movie, “Up in the Air,” George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham was the ultimate example of an efficient traveler. With flight delays, baggage fees and lost luggage becoming more common, what can traveling executives learn from Bingham and real-life frequent flyers? Here are five expert travel tips to help you fly more efficiently and reduce stress when on the road.
Know the facts about your destination. The first step to increasing your flying efficiency is to know the facts about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Is the trip for work, pleasure or both? What will the weather be during your stay? How many meetings and formal and informal events will you be attending? This information will inform what you need to bring and how you pack.
Commit to carry-on only. With lost bags on the rise and airline luggage fees averaging $25 or more, now is the time to say goodbye to checking bags and embrace the carry-on culture. Before you start panicking about what you can’t bring, realize that, if you pack correctly, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can fit into a 22″ spinner carry-on. And once you experience the liberating feeling that comes with avoiding the checked-bag carousel, you’ll find carry-on fun and rewarding, too.
Roll, don’t fold. This tried and true packing technique has been used by flight attendants for decades. Rolling – not folding – the clothes in your luggage not allows you to pack more in less space, it does wonders to avoid wrinkles, too.
Know what to expect at security. How many times have you heard a Transportation Security Administration representative repeat this mantra as you worked your way through the security check-in line? Still, some people hold up the line as they fumble for their boarding pass and ID. Don’t be that guy-know what to expect as you pass through security. Have your boarding pass and ID out and ready. At the x-ray machine, remove your shoes, belt, coat, jewelry, phone, PDA and loose change and place them in a plastic bin to be scanned. Laptops must be removed from their bag and also placed on the conveyor belt to be scanned. All liquids, gels and aerosols, with some exceptions such as medicines, baby formula and breast milk, must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers and placed in single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bags. Finally, keep your boarding pass and ID handy until you’re through security. Once you’re at the gate, you will only need your boarding pass to board the plane.
Be on time, and be nice. This might seem obvious, but it’s true-when you’re well prepared for your trip and on time, your trip will go a lot easier and be much less stressful. Print out your boarding pass ahead of time if possible. Some airlines such as Delta now text an electronic boarding pass to your cell phone. Be at the airport on line to check in at least one hour before your boarding time. Also, be kind to the ticketing agents, flight attendants and other airline personnel. It’s their job to make your trip as pleasurable as possible. They’re working as quickly as possible, so cut them some slack if things get hectic. Remember they have to deal with people and deadlines all day long. Please and thank you goes a long way in the airport and on the plane.