Have you ever noticed how business travelers and people who fly frequently seem to move through airports easily, not even slightly flustered, keeping their cool and looking chic, while you are juggling your carry-on, your handbag, your boarding pass, your I.D and your coat, trying to remember if there are liquids in your bag, hoping you didn’t just drop your iPhone, and getting totally stressed out?
There is an art to air travel. Simple tricks that make everything work seamlessly, get you early boarding and upgrades, make navigating airports easy and have you arriving to your destination looking cool, calm and collected. Business travelers know these tricks. People who fly often know these tricks. And now you are going to know them too!
10 Travel Tricks Every Business Traveler Knows
1. Choose One Airline and Stick With It
Business travelers know whenever possible you should stick with one airline.
Sometimes you can save a few dollars by flying with a cheapie airline or by using a competitor airline but often its just not worth it
Sticking with one airline is beneficial not only for accumulating free flights but also for getting upgrades. Loyal customers tend to get more opportunity to board early and to be upgraded to better seats, and are less likely to be kicked off the flight if it is oversold. Airlines want to build loyalty (hence the frequent flier programs) and understand there is value in taking care of good repeat customers. Also there is a huge benefit to you as a traveler already being familiar with the airline and the way they operate.
2. Choose Your Seat When You Make Your Booking
Business travelers and frequent flyers seldom get stuck in the middle seat.
One of the ways that airlines are making more money is by charging you to choose your seat and staggering the costs depending where on the plane that seat is. You seldom find half empty flights anymore, and most flights are full, even the red eye flights that used to be mostly empty in the good old days. You can safely assume that if you don’t choose your seat ahead of time you will in fact get the dreaded middle seat and be squashed in between two overweight, itchy passengers!
For a short flight it doesn’t matter so much, but for a long flight or for an international flight this can be very important.
Use an app like Seat Guru and evaluate the pros and cons of a seat before committing to it. For example avoid being next to the toilets, look to see if that seat has limited recline or no recline, look to see if the seat has a shorter pitch than others and also see if there is an entertainment system under the seat in front of you taking up both your leg space and your space to put your extra bag. I have been saved countless times by using the Seat Guru app.
3. Never Check In At The Airport
Business travelers don’t wait til they get to the airport to check in.
Most airlines will offer you the opportunity to check in online 24 hours prior to your flight. Even if you are checking bags always take this option. Apart from it being a time saver, especially if the ticketing area at the airport is busy, it lowers the chance that you will be kicked off your flight if the flight is oversold.
With most airlines this enables you to either choose your seat or at least get a better seat assignment. Your boarding pass can either be printed ahead of time or even sent to your phone. Every step you take to streamline the travel process is worthwhile.
4. Be Ready For TSA Security Checks
Business travelers sail through the TSA security check points quickly and effortlessly.
This is huge. You can tell who are the business travelers and frequent travelers just by watching them move through the TSA check points at the airport. And you can learn a lot from them too.
The travel pros are ready for the security X-Ray machines. Jewelry and belts are removed before getting to the conveyor belt, often not put on in the first place until they have cleared the screening point. Keys and coins are removed from pockets and either stored inside their bag or put into a small tray. They know that if they don’t have TSA Pre Check they will have to remove their shoes, so they wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.
Their cabin baggage is organized, with laptops and properly sized, properly packaged liquids at the top, easy to access and put in the trays. Frequent travelers don’t hold up the line and don’t waste time fossicking around in their bags to find the items that set off the x-rays machines. Surplus clothing – coats, hats and scarves are already removed and folded. They have their boarding pass and ID in hand, they are ready.
Frequent travelers will scan the lines at TSA and avoid the ones filled with children and disorganized people. Why get stuck behind someone who is taking up too much space and time?
They know to go left – most people are right handed and will instinctively veer to the security lines to the right. The lanes to the left typically move more quickly and have both fewer people and fewer disorganized people.
By being prepared you can expedite the security process, avoiding some extra stress in the process as well as lessening the likelihood of losing personal items in the process.
5. They Board ASAP
Business travelers don’t waste time hanging around the gate – they board their flights as quickly as possible.
Although it means a few more minute on the plane vs standing at the terminal gate (and who wants to do that anyway?) frequent travelers know to board their flight asap. Have you ever noticed that first class passengers are seated and comfortable with their bags stored in the overhead bin before anyone else is allowed to board?
The first reason to board immediately is to get your share of valuable overhead bin space before it’s gone. Simple and small things such as being able to fold your coat and put it away neatly (rather than having to hold in throughout the flight or have it crushed while you try to squish it in around other travelers rollaway bags) can make all the difference in any flight, be it a short or a long one.
It is much easier to keep your inflight belongings organized when you have had time to board your plane comfortably. Trying to organize your book or laptop, your phone, your earphones, your sweater or scarf, your water and anything else you need out with you, while trying to climb over other passengers and trying to find overhead bin space is not only really difficult but also raises your chance of losing items. You seldom see business travelers or frequent fliers losing their travel items – they board early and stay organized. Which makes them both look and feel calm.
6. Don’t Bring Unnecessary Valuables
Business travelers know that bringing unnecessary valuables when you travel is plain stupid. The streamline whatever jewelry they are bringing and use the hotel safe to store anything surplus they do have to bring.
They also know that all laptops/medication/jewelry/cameras/valuables have to go on the plane in their carry-on luggage and never in their checked bags. If it has value, never, ever check it.
7. System Boosting
Frequent long distance flyers know that getting sick during a flight can ruin the best business meetings and the best vacations.
Face it, airplanes are full of germs. Not only are all the surfaces dirty – they are not chloroxed down in between flights, but they are also covered in whatever the previous passengers have been sneezing and coughing up, and you don’t even want to know what else!
On top of that along with everyone else you are breathing in recirculated air that is not fresh or clean. Add to that your defenses being down due to lack of sleep and change in routine and you have a recipe for catching every bug that is floating around.
Before you travel build your personal defense system with extra vitamins. Instead of indulging in airport food, which is typically starchy, fatty, high in sodium and relatively bad for you, pack healthy snacks. The same applies to airplane food, which is not known for its health benefits.
Business travelers typically don’t drink endless sodas or alcoholic drinks during their flights either. Both break down your body’s defenses and make you more vulnerable to getting sick while traveling.
8. Avoid or At Least Minimize Jet Lag
Business travelers and people who fly a lot know how important it is to stave off jet lag and travel fatigue, or at least minimize it.
Sometimes you just cannot get away from jet lag, such as when you wake up in Los Angeles and go to bed in Singapore, but you can minimize the effects of it.
The game changers include staying super hydrated before, during and after your flight, banking some extra sleep in the days leading up to your flight and by making really good food choices. In the lead up to a big flight avoid heavy, starchy foods, salty foods and junk foods. Eat lean and clean.
Another great way to help mitigate jet lag and travel fatigue is to get extra exercise in the days leading up to your flight and then getting quality exercise when you land, either from taking a really good, long walk or working out at the hotel gym. Even 20 minutes sweating on a treadmill can help your body to recover by getting the blood pumping and reducing swelling in the feet and ankles.
9. Stick To Your Home Schedule
When moving through different time zones, crossing datelines or just traveling across country one of the best ways to acclimate your body is to maintain your home schedule.
If you don’t drink alcohol during the week at home, avoid drinking during the week while away. Try to get the same number of hours sleep per night as you do at home, keep up your exercise routines and watch for the devil that is sugar. It is easy to start indulging in novelty foods while away but remember sugar is at the root of most evils. A body getting excess sugar is more likely to get sick, feel icky, get bloated and have trouble sleeping, as well as many other negative things.
10. Dress The Part.
Business travelers and frequent flyers know that wearing the right clothing to travel in is a must. You can see them deplaning after a 10 hour flight looking chic and stylish instead of completely crumpled.
Simple pieces made in breathable fabrics that you can layer are the key to easy travel.
Most people will bloat a little during the flight as the cabin air pressure changes, so clothing that is too tight or that doesn’t move with you can make a long flight incredibly uncomfortable.
Look for fabrics that don’t crease and that although thin are nice and warm, such as Modal and merino. Airplanes get cold but heavy bulky clothes aren’t fun to fly in.
Choose shoes that are comfortable and that you can wear with socks, and definitely avoid heels! Add a pashmina or large scarf that you can use either to wrap up in or as a blanket if needed.
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