Aside from returning home, airports are the worst part of any trip. Angry and unenthusiastic airport staff, expensive food, long delays/layovers and lineups for any and everything are just a few of the things that can make an airport experience horrible. Today I’m going to school you on a few easy tricks that are guaranteed to make your next trip to the airport much smoother and enjoyable.
Kick your trip off on the right foot with these 13 Airport Cheats To Make Traveling Enjoyable.
Ask And Ye Shall Receive:
Want to change your flight time? Want a flight upgrade? A free drink? Extra snacks? Good things come to those who ask. This goes better when you’re asking for a particular reason.
Me: “Hey, sorry to disturb you. It’s my birthday today (YAY). Any chance I can land a free upgrade to business class?”
Flight Attendant: “Why of course you can sir!”
Me: “So long puny coach class mortals!” (Just kidding, don’t be a jerk … but pat yourself on the back, especially if it’s not actually your birthday.)
This works in hotels and restaurants too. Say you’re recently married (or recently single), celebrating an anniversary or anything else worth celebrating. It can go a long way. Just be discrete about it. If they say no, ask them “Do you know who I am? Where’s your manager!?!?” (in your outside voice).
Again, just kidding, ha!
Blankets & Sweaters:
Airplanes maintain airflow by pressurizing cold air inside cabins throughout flights. Airports are usually pretty generous in their use of air conditioning. Unless you like feeling a slight chill for hours on end, pack a sweater or blanket to keep warm. They can also double as pillows whenever you feel like taking a nap.
How do you plan on Snap Chatting, Facebooking, Instagraming, Vining, Tweeting and whatever the hell else without any battery life? One does not simply travel without taking hundreds of useless selfies. Get yourself a portable charger and thank me later.
Charging stations are on a first come first serve basis and people hold on to them for dear life once they’ve gotten a hold of them. Extra cool points to you if you bring an adaptable charger with multiple outlets. You’ll be sure your devices connect all over the world, and you’ll probably help/befriend a few travel buddies along the way.
We all hate parting with our gadgets (especially those lame travel bloggers). Storing your camera, GoPro, smartphone, MacBook (or other) somewhere practical will make your security check-in way easier. 99% of airport security staff will ask you to have it scanned separately from the rest of your belongings. Also, empty your pockets into your carry on to help speed up the process.
I once spent an hour breaking into a complete stranger’s luggage for a friend of mine. I needed to find some way to find the actual owner. Luckily after shuffling through the suitcase, I found a business card and was able to track the owner down via LinkedIn. Don’t be like my friend. Make sure you have easily identifiable luggage. Use a colourful thread, shoelaces, a bandana or anything that will let you recognize your luggage. Also, take a picture of your luggage before checking it. If the airport loses your goods (which happens more often than you think), you’ll be able to find your luggage.
Save yourself money, avoid crappy airplane food and dodge hunger pains by bringing your own snacks to nibble on. Pack dry and filling snack food. I personally go with a variety of snack bars, peanuts, crackers and chips (if I’m feeling particularly unhealthy). Depending on where you’re going, the money you spend on airport food could get you a night or two in a hostel or a few souvenirs for your friends.
We do almost everything from our phones, downloading boarding passes are no exception. But in the hustle and sometimes confusion of fumbling through an airport, you may forget where to retrieve it. Here’s an easy fix: check in online in advance, take a screenshot of your boarding pass as soon as you download it. The information will scan just as effectively, and your camera/pictures app is much easier to find.
To The Left, To The Left:
Most people are right-handed, right? Yes. So naturally, people will turn right more when they’re lost, when their name is called and when they’re picking an airport check-in gate. If you keep in mind to go left (you badass you) when everyone goes right, you’ll probably end up in the shortest lines, thus waiting the least. Yes, you are indeed welcome oh impatient one.
In my post on accommodation (hostel) hacks, I mentioned how versatile a water bottle is while traveling. Once you cross through to departures (the dark side), they’ve got you right where they want you. But the force is strong in you, and you won’t be taken so easily if you have a water bottle to once again avoid those ridiculously high water bottle prices. Fill your bottle for free at an airport restaurant, a bathroom (filter bottles), or on the plane.
Some airports haven’t gotten the memo: wifi is one of life’s necessities, just like food, shelter and clothing are. But don’t sweat it if your airport doesn’t offer free wifi, because I bet if you sit or stand close enough to the fancy shmancy first class or club lounge you can pick up a pretty strong signal. Where there’s a will, there’s wifi.
Airports and airplanes seem clean, but they’re gross. They’re crawling with germs and bacteria. Ever notice how many people get sick after coming back from a trip? Yea, I bet they didn’t have wipes! Moral of the story, these little bad boys, along with some hand sanitizer can be the difference between you enjoying your trip and you being up all night sniffling with itchy eyes and a scratchy throat.
Ziplock bags come in handy in a lot of places, including airports. Got an unfinished snack or meds to take onboard? Bag ‘em. Keep your airport toiletries (floss, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, deodorant, cologne etc) in one place and from leaking all over your clothes and documents too! Make sure you check TSA regulations before packing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m notorious for losing those silly little padlock keys for zipper pulls. I now use zip ties instead. Tie them on, travel, cut them off, boom. Not to mention airport bandits will be less inclined to steal all your stuff.
Bonus: Cool graphic from the righteous folks at 9gag
Do you ever use these cheats to make airports your b*&%$? Have any other hacks to share? Leave an intelligent comment below. Let’s spread the love!
Until next time,