Travel is an experience that truly makes you richer. If you go traveling for the right reasons and remove yourself from the hotel pool & mimosas scene. Venturing out into the unknown to discover new cultures, sights & sounds. Along the way discovering more about who you truly are and what is really important to you in life. The Values that actually make you happy and the metrics you measure those values by can all be discovered or triggered through an enlightening travel experience. But that is a whole topic in itself and will not be what this blog is about.
Regardless of what type of traveler you are; the enlightened explorer or the poolside mimosa. You will have one very important thing in common - You will be passing through Airports! That means; flights, security checks, stopovers, delays, cancellations the works. This Blog covers 35 Airport Hacks to help you get through stress free and prepared for your travels in 2018 or if you plan ahead, 2019.
001 - Make Sure you are Travel Ready
This sounds like a simple one but you will be stunned how many people forget to; check their passports, confirm their Visa’s, weigh their bags, get their medical check ups or do the plethora of other pre travel checks before turning up at the Airport. The biggest ones that we have seen happen (and done ourselves) is passport expiries & lack of visa documentation. Here is a quick tip - Your Passport needs to have at minimum, 6 months left AFTER you return. Yep! You heard that right, not from your departure date, from your return date.
Related - 27 Things To Do Before You Go Traveling
002 - Bring an Empty Water Bottle
Their is this odd fear amongst a lot of travelers that water outside of their own country is filled with evil stomach bugs. I mean, fair enough, a large number of third world countries do not have drinkable tap water so you do need to be cautious and do your research before trusting the words of a humble blogger.
When it comes to Airports, most international airports have free filtered water for travelers to drink and refill water bottles. If you are skeptical about the water then do your research or ask at an information kiosk. Having your own water bottle will save you money, it will keep you hydrated pre & post security checks & it will prevent more unnecessary plastic finding its way to the ocean.
003 - Maximise You’re Airpoints
Now if this is your first big trip overseas or you are an infrequent traveler then chances are you don’t have an Airpoints card. Airpoints cards are handy overtime and work much like a loyalty card would at a coffee shop. The more you spend on travel the more perks & rewards you receive on your next trip.
Airpoints cards can be used for more than just your flights though. Depending on your level of membership you may be able to access; private lounges, restaurant discounts or even upgrades in flight. So step one is to get yourself an Airpoints card & step two is to do your research and see what you can get for FREE!
004 - Be Friendly with the Staff
Time and Time again you will see angry people blowing up staff at the airport over stupid issues. Travel stress gets to people and like a guided missile they will lock in on the easiest target, the staff. In our experience you will be granted far more leniency if your approach a situation with kindness.
If there is no issue then guess what… STILL BE NICE! Staff at airports are so used to dealing with assholes that a friendly face could just make their day. You will be far more likely to be given special treatment to, we have had friends receive business upgrades in the past by just being kind. We have been given $500 hotel vouchers before by just being nice. Karma.. It’s a thing guys/gals.
005 - Don’t Forget your Portable Charger
Guilty! We have done this before and it sucks. As much as we all preach about less phone time the fact is: We can’t live without them nowadays. When it comes to traveling it is pretty important to have that little pocket saviour or laptop handy for last minute booking changes or transport alterations. Although most airports are equipped with charging stations they can quite often be crowded and uncomfortable. Having your own portable charger gives you the option to recharge anywhere at any time.
006 - Laptops & Tablets: Keep them Handy
Ever got to the front of a Security Check line and been asked, “Is your Laptop out?” Then promptly you have had to pull apart half your bag just to drag it out, in the meantime the 200 people behind you are thinking, ‘What a Dick.” The simple fix is to keep them in an easy to find spot. If you don’t have a bag with a dedicated laptop/tablet sleeve… Get One.
007 - Make Your Luggage Pop
It is quite common for two or more travelers to have the same luggage on the same flights. Especially if you are one to follow trends. Hell, we have seen four of the same bag on a carousel before! There is a very simple solution though, mark your luggage.
You can mark your luggage with tags, ribbon or (if you want to get creative and your a bit crazy) Spray paint some crazy logo on it. The latter will also probably eliminate your bag as a potential drug mulling option (drug dealers are probably going to avoid the spotlight).
008 - Bring Snacks and Keep it Healthy
Airports can get boring especially if you have long waits. As humans we have this odd reaction to boredom, we get hungry and we want snacks. We then go and spend $9 on a tiny sandwich which makes us more hungry or if we want to save money we invest that $9 on a McDonalds meal and feel like S#&T for the remainder of the day.
Contrary to popular belief, you CAN bring food through security checks. Not all food items are allowed but a lot are, just do your research before heading to the airport and find out what you can bring and what quantity/packaging you need.
009 - Listen To Beyonce, ‘To the Left, to the left’
Research indicates that when queuing up people will be inclined to go the the side that they associate with their dominant hand. So if you want to get through security checks, baggage check ins, or boarding ques faster than the masses go to the left hand line ups. Most people are right hand dominant so common sense suggests that the left will be less crowded.
Thank you Beyonce!
010 - Pack Warm, Cosy Cloths
Planes get cold so pack warm socks, a Beanie (Touque if your canadian) and a warm top and pants. You don’t have to wear it all through the airport just pop it in your carry on.
Related - 16 Must Pack Carry On Items
011 - Don’t Pay for Travel Toiletries
So you splashed out and stayed in a Hotel before your flight/ on your last trip. Well before you leave the hotel next time, grab the toiletries, sounds cheeky right? Well it is, but those toiletries are part of your room costs so they are yours to use. Don’t feel bad about it, grab them and use them when you have those long Airport waits/ in between flights. Freshen up and feel human again.
012 - Ask for Upgrades
You never get anything in life without asking for it first. I mean… you do… cause their are a lot of awesome humans out there that just give because it's the right thing to do. But most things you need to ask for. When you check in or as you board the plane don’t be afraid to ask if there are any free upgrades, quite often people don’t show up and you can be the lucky one to grab their business seat. Be polite and sincere about it.
013 - Use Travel Credit Cards
If you are using a Travel Credit Card for most of your home purchases then chances are you may not even need to ask for an upgrade. Travel credit cards are stacked with bonuses (if you pick the right one) which often include upgrades on flights and huge discounts on accommodation. Talk to a trusted representative at your bank and see what you may be eligible to get.
If you are terrible at tracking your spending then be careful, this is a credit card after all.
014 - Swap out your Contacts for Glasses
If you tend to favour contacts over prescription glasses then now is the time to switch back to face hugging glass plates. You may not like wearing them but they are going to save your eyes big time on a long haul flight. The pressured air on a flight is dry and sucks the moisture from your eyes and skin. Prevent that contact irritation by doing away with them all together.
015 - Bring Eye Drops and moisturizer
Well this one follows on nicely. Keep your eyes and face comfortable and moisturized before, after and during flights with eye drops and moisturiser. Just be aware of security regulation minimums for liquids.
Related - 16 Must Pack Carry On Items
016 - Wear your Extras
Worried about too much carry on? Wear it. Yeah it is a bit cheeky but hey sometimes you have to be. If you are a photographer or filmmaker consider investing in a Camera Vest. You can put all your lenses and accessories in the vest drastically reducing the weight. When you get on other side of check in you can just repack your gear into the camera bag, fold up the vest and store it in the overhead once you board. Problem solved.
017 - Online Check In
Guys we live in 2018.. the age of the maturing internet.. an age where almost anything can be done via that invisible beast that is the internet. This includes checking in for almost any flight on earth. Not only is checking in online quicker than checking in at the airport it also removes a lot of that, "Oh F#%K will there be lines." stress. The only line you will need to jump in is the one to check your bags.
Once you get to the airport be sure to look for the self help kiosks which will allow you to print off your own boarding passes and baggage tags.
018 - Make the most of your day's Fly Red Eye!
What is Red Eye? Red Eye is a term that refers to flying overnight. It was coined in America and refers to the red eyed signs of fatigue that come from overnight flights.
Overnight flights can be tough but if you are prepared for them you can get some decent sleep and make the most of your first day. The other reason to go red eye, it is going to save you a lot of money. Night flights are far cheaper than morning or midday flights.
Check out 16 Must Pack Carry On Items to get yourself prepared for a Red Eye Flight.
019 - Take a photo of your Baggage
You might be thinking, "Hey Dickhead! You already told us to make our bags look ridiculous so we would notice them and drug dealers wouldn't. So why you got us taking pictures to?"
Well Friends its this simple, it is very hard to tell if your bag has been tampered with. Just because you have the most extroverted bag on the plane doesn't mean it is 100%, 'in the clear.' when it comes to tampering.
Take pictures of your locked zips and areas that may be breached. You can then review the images when you collect your bags at the next airport. Now you will get a bit of movement in the plane. But.
If you notice anything drastically different from your images then be safe and tell security that you think your bag has been tampered with.
020 - Take a Photo of your Carpark
If you have driven to the airport and plan on leaving your car in a parking spot for the duration of your trip then be clever and take some photos. Ever gone shopping and walked out thinking, "Dude! Where's my car?"
Now if you can forget within an hour imagine how easily you will forget with a week or more overseas. Do yourself a favor and take those reference photos.
021 - Put your Loose Crap Away Before Security Checks
Security Checks are a hassle as is. I mean you even have to take your shoes off at most airports now. Safe yourself extra hassle by removing all your loose items while queuing up and stashing them neatly in your carry on.
Not only will this safe you the stress of trying to get everything done quickly and in a rush it will also mitigate your chances of forgetting a metal item resulting in a potential rectal exam (I wish that on no woman or man!).
022 - Check your flights Status before you leave
Just got to the airport your all checked in and your bags are ready for loading. Then the check in lady tells you politely that your flight has been delayed 4 hours. S#%T well there goes four hours of your life then... Angry Birds?
Flight delays are usually updated well in advance and you can check these with a simple google or airline search of your flight number. Do yourself a favor and check up on your flight before you leave for the airport. Better to use that extra four hours sipping mimosas right?
023 - Wet Wipes will Save your life (and peoples nostrils)
I don't care if you are CPT Jack Sparrow or the stunning supermodel Giselle Bundchen. After 36 hours of travel by plane you are going to stink. Chances are you are also going to feel clammy and dirty. A great little trick to keeping clean in an airport is to use Wet Wipes. Wet wipes will remove that clammy feeling while sterilizing your face and smelly areas (armpits mainly) and can be a great alternative for a shower.
Also consider having hand sanitizer with you to avoid picking up any nasty airport bugs.
024 - Bring Extra Ziploc Bags
You never know when Ziploc bags will come in handy. They can be used to protect liquids from leaking all over your bag or to put your leftover sandwich in. You may also find them handy when storing your electronics. Another great option is to have zip ties and rubber bands especially as a photographer to keep all those cords and chargers in control.
025 - Have your Flight Suit: Name it if that's your thing..
This may sound like a bit of a joke point but its not. In all seriousness we highly recommend you have yourself a go to outfit for travel.
For starters, having a go to travel outfit removes the stress of having to pick the perfect outfit for this years adventures. In a more practical sense, having a comfortable and appropriate flight attire can make all the difference in your flight.
-Pick cloths that will keep you comfy and warm yet still breath to avoid that clammy build up of sweat.
-Pick an outfit that you enjoy wearing so you don't get all self conscious mid flight.
-Pick cloths that are anti odour and stain resistant/ cloths you don't mind a scuff or two on.
026 - Check what Food is Available
Do some research on the Airport you are departing from and find out what food and shops are available. Most airports are stacked with fatty, carb and sugar heavy fast food chains. No good for flying or whoever is closest to the loo during your flight. Try to find the location of some good eating spots and while you are at it figure out what the go is when it comes to gift shopping.
027 - Airport Rules
Get familiar with Airport rules, they differ depending on what country you are in. Breaking airport rules isn't like diving at a school pool when the sign says no diving. The consequences can be severe if you breach airport regulations, in some cases resulting in jail time.
Don't be the cool kid... read the rules and follow them.
028 - Hate Turbulence? Book an Early Flight
If you hate Turbulence aim to book an early morning flight. Conditions are normally at their most consistent in the early mornings with calm winds and balanced air pressures. Afternoons and evenings tend to be the more turbulent times to fly.
029 - Don't rush the Gates
It is so funny watching the gates at an airport go from closed to open. At times you could mistake the scene for a trip to Spain for the 'running of the bulls.' People just get to excited and all try get to the front of the lines, this generally results in a massive queue and a descent amount of push and shove. Here's the thing guys, if you are waiting at the gate the flight ain't going to leave without you.
Be patient, read an extra few pages of your book and board once the lines die off. This will leave you feeling more relaxed and give you space and time to sort out your carry on once on board.
030 - Don't wait in line if Re-booking
Flights been cancelled or over booked? Or you just missed your flight and need to re-book?
No stress. Don't bother waiting in line though. Find an airport phone and call your airline instead, everything can be done over the phone with a fraction of the stress and it will generally be far quicker. It may also pay to see if there are quick online re-booking options available for your airline.
031 - Know where your luggage is going
Your Checked bags are not always direct! So, if you have stopovers then make sure that you are aware of where you need to collect/re-check your bags. Just ask the counter representatives for your airline when you check your bags in. Note down any instructions you are given so that you don't forget your luggage.
We have had luggage loss issues resulting in a hefty $1000 in lost equipment. Stay aware and avoid our mistakes.
032 - Plane Headphones suck! Bring your own.
Invest in a solid set of travel headphones and do away with those crappy airline ones that hurt your ears and never seem to be quite loud enough. Aim to get noise cancelling headphones to add to your list of essential carry on items.
033 - Find yourself a quiet gate to get your zen on pre-flight
Find a quite spot to get yourself in order once all the mayhem is out of the way. whether you need to write a blog, finish up some photo editing, contact family or just read your favourite new novel. Find a quiet spot, in our opinion closed gates are your best bet: plenty of sitting/resting room, charging stations without the crowds & best of all minimal noise. This is a great way to get yourself calm before the flight.
034 - Exercise & Stretch
You are about to be sitting in cramped conditions for the next 6-14 hours. Get your ass up and start moving that blood before it is to late. Walk around the airport or in your designated zen area. Do some yoga and stretching, while you are at it throw in some press ups and sit ups. A bit of light exercise now will leave you feeling ten times better post flight.
035 - Have all your Info In Order for Immigration
Make a good impression when you land at your new destination. Be sure to have your arrival cards correctly completed and declaration form filled out honestly.
It is also useful to have hard copies of your important documents; return flights, accommodation, credit card details & Visas. Have some local currency at hand in case you are dealing with some third world taxes (some borders still require bribes... do your research and know what's fair and what's not).
There you have it 35 Airport Hacks to get you sorted for your travels this year and into 2019. If you have any other hacks that work for you please leave a comment below. We also post regularly on Social Media, the links are below.
Hope this blog helps you out on your next trip.
See Also - Massie Bros on YouTube
Dream | Travel | Live
Jacques & Paulo