“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” ― Jack Kerouac
When working for a company whose employees log hundreds of thousands of miles of air travel each year, you not only learn a lot about personal travel preferences – window vs aisle, carry-on vs checked luggage, to recline or not to recline – but you also pick up a lot of useful tricks and tips to survive long layovers, navigating Security checkpoints quickly, and overcoming jet lag. This is the first part in a series that will help spread some of this knowledge to the most frequent of flyers or those who just skip out of town on the occasional vacation or weekend getaway. Some of these tips are no-brainers and others may elicit an “Ah ha!” moment when you read them.
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Mr. Franklin must have done some traveling in between flying kites and drafting the Declaration of Independence because he could not be more correct. Preparation is key when traveling and a great place to start is the packing process. Do your best to plan out what you need in terms of clothing for each day of your trip and lay out what you plan to wear. Avoid over packing; determining what you absolutely need and what you don’t will allow you to save money and avoid additional luggage/overweight charges if you plan to check your bag(s) or make it easier to haul your suitcase throughout the airport if you are going to carry-on. Once you have everything you need laid out, add in a couple extra pairs of socks and underwear – you’ll never (hopefully) find yourself saying “I wish I didn’t bring so much clean underwear with me.”
If you plan to check your luggage, you may want to consider packing a change of clothes or at least a fresh shirt in your carry-on in case your luggage is “misplaced” by the airlines – especially if you are traveling for business. On average, it can take anywhere from 4-8 hours minimum to have a delayed suitcase delivered to your hotel once it finally arrives at your destination city. The airlines work with local delivery companies to return delayed luggage to you and the drivers who are assigned your luggage often have several deliveries to make on a single route – it’s pretty much the same process as shipping a package from your home to a friend or relative. They may only be 50 miles away, but the mailman doesn’t take it directly from your house to theirs, it has to be processed at a distribution center before being assigned to a driver.