I do quite a bit of traveling for work…
Travel has always been a pleasure for me and I rarely stress out. As a matter of fact, many years ago – a former boss once told me that I was the easiest person he knew to travel with. I am not sure that is still the case as the years have made me grumpy and the apparent ignorance of other travelers sometimes makes me a bit nuts. But I have learned a few tricks to ease my process and make my travel life easier. Perhaps these will help you too.
1. Check Reservations for air, car rental, and accommodations a week before and then the day before. You don’t need to print travel docs anymore prior to arriving at the airport – I haven’t printed for years. Just be prepared to scan your ID (license or passport) at a self-serve kiosk or hand it over first thing to a customer service rep.
2. Download the App – Check to see if your travel vendors of choice (airline, rental cars, hotels) have a mobile app and check in from the app – and say yes to alerts and notifications. If you use a mobile device regularly, you will benefit greatly from less reservations printed or lost in the travel chaos and shuffle, as well as receiving updates regarding your reservations like delayed or canceled flights.
3. Do not pack these items in luggage you are checking: jewelry, medications, cameras electronic devices, and chargers. Keep this items with you in a carry-on bag. An LAX theft ring was recently penetrated and exposed, with several arrests made. The thieves had a method of breaking into luggage and stealing the above items in less than 5-10 seconds per bag. This consistently goes on in airports around the world.
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4. Pack snacks in your carry-on bags. Airport food is rarely worth the price and the food sold on the airplane itself is most certainly not. No beverages or liquids are allowed past the security check-points.
5. KNOW the airport security and TSA rules and guidelines. Don’t be THAT guy by bringing full water bottles through the check point or complaining about having to take off your jacket or sweater. These are standard rules that everyone has to abide by. Travel and dress so that this process is easy for you and those around you. Avoid belts that are difficult to remove, lots of metal jewelry, heavy lace-up boots, and carrying more that two bags. You will get flagged and you will piss off other travelers. The security checkpoint process is stressful enough without adding undue pressure on yourself and other travelers.
The ONE Thing You Need to Know
Last week, I traveled from LAX to Montreal on a red eye. I was in Row 12, one row outside of first class. I try to always book a window seat, as I rarely get up during a flight – I just like to decompress and either read, watch a flick or get a little work done. A woman sat down in the middle seat next to me — she looked straight ahead the entire flight, fidgeting off and on.
When the plane landed she stood and pushed her way past first class passengers to try and disembark before anyone else. Her fellow passengers, including me, were appalled – there is an order to exiting a plane and she had her own agenda and did not care about a pre-existing order. As I watched her push her way to the exit, I thought – “something isn’t right” – meanwhile eye daggers were being cast at her by everyone around. I watched her practically run up the jetway and into the airport, passing and weaving in and out of other travelers.
She made a beeline for the bathroom. I didn’t see her again until I was waiting at the baggage carousel. She was a rumpled mess. She had either gotten airsick or some other kind of sick – it was clearly evident she was not well. She was very much alone as she stood waiting for her luggage. It was then that I thought everyone here has a story and it isn’t mine. It’s most likely nothing like mine. And I can be ok with that. I tend to look sideways at other travelers or think bad thoughts about the “travel facts” they don’t know or don’t understand. I am positive others have thought the same about me.
Here’s the one thing you need to know:
All travelers are human beings – like you – with their own lives, their own issues, their own heartaches.
You have no idea what their life is like or what their day was like prior to arriving at the airport. Cut them some slack. Think about it. Losing sight of their humanity is the reaction to your own being lost. Hang onto your humanity. Try to “golden rule” it on your travel days. It just might make all the difference to someone else. And to you.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana