Airport Tips And Tricks

Friday, April 28, 2023

All pictures used before the text are from a Google search. The bottom 2 were shot by me

Traveling is... FUN 👻👻👻

Don't let anyone or anything convince you otherwise!

With the following hacks, you are guaranteed a smooth and enjoyable trip with very little stress.

So what are you waiting for? Read on!

- when you booked your flight, and this also applies to traveling by train or bus too, you were flexible. You made use of your miles. Remember to choose your seat when you can. This might sound trivial but if you want to sleep on the trip, it's better to pick that window seat to avoid being bothered by someone who needs to go to the loo! If you are traveling with someone and the plane is not overbooked, you can reserve the aisle and window seats so that the middle seat between you remains empty. Avoid exit seats unless you don't mind storing your laptop and your hand luggage in the compartment above your head. And apply the rule of your carry-on to be less heavy than you can lift because you will be placing it in the compartment above your head.

- in order to chill at your gate and escape having to rush from one place to the other, make sure to know which terminal your plane departs from. Many airports have multiple terminals that are dedicated to specific airlines. And if you are talking about gigantic airports like Frankfurt in Germany or Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in the USA, the layout is completely different from a small international airport like Beirut's. Getting from one place to the other may take you 15-20 minutes. Or require you to board a shuttle or a train. You can check the airport map/layout online before heading to the airport. And keep updated on your gate information to avoid going to the wrong one.

- if you are in for a long haul with one or multiple stops, make sure your toiletries are in travel-sized containers. This requires you to know what are the rules of the airline you are traveling with: what can be transported in your hand luggage and what cannot. A good toiletry bag can keep everything organized for you. And it will be easier to pass the security check that way. You can also pack your essentials individually in a transparent Ziplog bag, or more. You will want to brush your teeth and freshen up if your meeting is all the way across a continent. Or two. And even if you are traveling as a tourist, it will make you feel better to reach your destination in your best state 😉

- before you depart, download your maps for offline use just in case you don't have WiFi when landing. In some cases, an old-fashioned paper map can also do. I know in this digital era many of us don't use maps or books to move around. It's lighter and easier to use our phones or pads. I remember on more than one occasion when I ran out of battery or didn't have a signal to check which route to take. I'm blessed with a photographic memory and a solid sense of orientation that have both come in handy more than once where ever I was stranded.

- Keep all your electronics and batteries charged. It is also practical to have a fully loaded power bank. Or two. Just in case. You never know what can happen. And sometimes, it can never harm to be prepared. In the same line of thought, think about your multi-plug converter and make sure you have what is adapted to your gear and the country you are visiting. Keep in mind to have at least one or two cables extra. Sometimes a cable can break and you don't have access to the same model or one that can charge your device(s).

- wear your extra luggage to avoid paying for excess weight. You need several layers because of temperature differences. It is important to keep comfortable. You can still look chic and fashionable. Read more about this here. Buy a digital luggage weight that allows you to know how much space you have if you plan on buying things to bring back home. It is an important tool that comes in handy, especially with all the restrictions we now face when traveling between continents. Some agents will bend the rules for you and allow for 1-2 additional kilos but some others will not. You can use your home scale when getting ready but it will not be with you. So before you fly back, you will need to do some good evaluation of what you are carrying back with you.

- try to get to the airport early and avoid the crowds. This differs from airport to airport. It is also conditional of the season and the time of the day. I used to show up an hour before departure because I mostly travel light and I check in online around 24 hours prior to my departure. Nowadays, this is not possible anymore. You need to be at the airport at least 2 hours ahead of your flight because security checks might take longer than expected. Security lines are not the same everywhere but in most cases, if you head left, the lines will be shorter somehow 🤷🏻‍♀️ Some airports are not requesting that you remove your laptop from the bag anymore. Some still do. Be ready before it's your turn and don't be rushed. Traveling is not about being stressed or pressured!

- remain active to avoid your feet and legs from swelling from long sitting periods. There are simple exercises to move your limbs if you cannot walk like a weirdo along the isles. You can take the excuse of getting a glass of water to keep hydrated, which is essential, going to the bathroom, or just stretching your legs. You can use that leg rest too! You will not have the space to do some Yoga poses but even with these few pointers, you should be fine.

- there is no need to rush to the gate or to go off the aircraft. The plane will not leave without you and your luggage needs clearance before it is sent on the conveyer belt. After landing, you can spot your luggage easily if you have tagged it or if it comes in a recognizable color. Some people go for cockatoo shrill tones but you don't have to. You can add some vinyl patterns to your plain colored/looking luggage. Add a recognizable ribbon to the handle. It's true that sometimes bags keep rolling on the carousel and don't seem to belong to anyone but again, don't let that stress you out. Sometimes it takes a little more time. Arm yourself with patience and all will be well. In case of lost or delayed luggage, if you have packed as advised in my previous post (read here), you should be ok until a solution is found.

Happy traveling ✈️✈️✈️✈️

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