5 Tips for Flying & Leaving the Stress at Home
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, flying can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be with the right preparation.
I’ve always told people that it’s always best to arrive to the airport early. In fact, I arrive 2 hours early when flying so I never have a problem. The only way I’m missing a flight is if the flight is canceled.
Well, the universe has heard me bragging and decided to test my skills recently. As I was running like a madwoman to catch my return flight from Detroit after a weekend training seminar I was counting my lucky stars for my skills.
I couldn’t have done it without these tips and tricks:
1) Travel Lightly
This was a weekend trip! 3 days in which I knew I wouldn’t hit the beach or pool nor walk miles visiting the city, so I kept it light. I grabbed my Ciao bag and packed it with the essentials, i.e. 2-3 outfits which were mix and match, PJs, my laptop, pens, and toiletries.
I avoided paying Jetblue’s $25 baggage fee as this carry-on fits nice and neat either under my seat or in the overhead bin. I chose the overhead bins so I could give myself some extra legroom.
This carry-on helped me cut down on time that I didn’t have on my return to check a bag in.
2) Get Rewarded
It was my first time going to Detroit. The destination wasn’t on my bucket list, but I knew I didn’t want to pay a premium price for my hotel as this was more of a business trip and less of a splurge trip. It didn’t help that there was a convention in town causing a near sold out situation at the closest hotels. If the hotel wasn’t sold out, it was selling at a premium.
Thankfully, I’m a rewards point hoarder and tend to not use my Hilton Honor reward points; I usually collect them because they roll up to my JetBlue True Blue points. I used the cash and points option and booked a room coming in at $77 a night plus tax and still earn points for future stays.
Did I mention that my flight to Detroit was $5? Thanks to the JetBlue True Blue rewards points, I got to my destination for just the cost of tax.
3) Be Consistent
This step pertains to you constant business travelers! If you travel to the same town often stay at the same hotel. Why you ask?
Automation makes things easier for you! When I checked into my hotel Hilton already knew I liked to be on a high floor and near the elevator. Additionally, since I want my rewards points I knew that I only had three hotel brands from which to choose from, cutting down my research time.
Plus, the more you stay at the hotel the more likely the staff will know your likes and dislikes.
4) Get The Apps
- Jetblue (or your specific airline’s app)- My total life saver for this trip was the JetBlue App. I downloaded it as I was in the car to the airport, checked in, and opted for the mobile pass. In the past I had read that you need to get a mobile pass an hour before take off. Well, I had 15 minutes before that cut off time. Thankfully I got it and screenshotted the boarding pass just in case it was hard to pull it up in the security line. To my surprise, it was easy to pull it up on the app and I didn’t need to screenshot it at all.
- Award Wallet– I use this nifty app to keep track of my points. I had used others in the past that were just okay, but this one works best until you tell me otherwise. I am able to see all my rewards for hotels, car rentals, restaurants and more. They even offer occasional articles on the best loyalty programs. This makes it easy to see all my reward points in one area and make a decision on what I will use.
5) Get TSA Precheck or Global Entry
This was probably my biggest downfall during my trip to Detroit. I got caught waiting in a long security line, wondering if I was going to make it to the gate on time. Meanwhile, I watched the TSA Precheck line move full speed ahead.
I’m now a believer in the need for TSA Precheck. If you’re eligible register and pay for TSA Precheck at your earliest convenience and get one of these options to make that stop through TSA a little less stressful.
There are of course caveats to all of the tips above.
Hotel Networks: Get rewards for a couple of hotel networks. You want networks that are large, have several different brands and provide you with the best bang for your buck.
I have SPG (before it became Marriott), Marriott and Hilton. I probably use my SPG more, Hilton second and have never used my Marriott. On the ultra-luxury boutique front, I use GHA Discovery. Each program works differently and if they roll up to your airline and usual car rental company, that’s even better!
Airline Networks: I travel mostly on the East Coast and Colombia so Jetblue is my preferred network, followed by United Mileage Plus and American Airlines last. I chose Jetblue because you have a good chance of being able to redeem your points on Wednesdays when they have sales on flights. Secondly, they have partnerships with other airlines that you can’t find on other networks, such as Emirates. I once flew Emirates to Ethiopia, came back to the states and flew out to Boston on Jetblue using those same points in the same day.
United is great because of its extensive network with Star Alliance, so while I don’t fly United much I usually earn reward miles because I fly with a network partner.
Credit Cards: Most airline or hotel networks offer credit cards to earn points. If you know that you only travel to that hotel or on that airline it might be worthwhile to sign up for the company’s credit card to claim your extra loyalty rewards. If you don’t have a preference grab a major credit card that offers points that you can redeem for everything. In any case just beware the annual fees!
Shoes: Last but not least I need to thank my flexible flats for doing their job! It can be difficult to run across an entire airport garage, airport terminal, and get through security in heels. If you can manage it, the floor is often slippery in the airport and you likely have luggage to drag through the airport. My flats were flexible and had rubber soles that made it easy to jet across the airport.
If all else fails and you aren’t able to make your flight, be courteous and ask an airline agent to assist you and hopefully get you on your way again in no time!
Do you have some boss travel tips of your own? Share your tips in the comments section!
KJ is an avid traveler who opened her travel agency in 2012, focusing on international travel after leaving the Financial industry. She loves traveling off the beaten path with her favorite destinations being Colombia and Ethiopia. When she’s not busy planning trips for her clients or leading tour groups she’s busy figuring out her next destination. Got a travel-related question, she’s the one to ask.