Tag Archives | Airport

Airport-ing: How to Keep Your Clothes on

Tell us if this has ever happened to you:  You are late getting to the airport, a line of cars cue up to get into the parking garage.  Once you get in the door dragging you suitcase that has one wheel that doesn’t work right.  Then you line up at the airline ticketing, get to the front, only to find out that you picked the domestic/international line… Turns out you need to go over there.  Then your luggage is overweight,  you are forced to spread eagle your Samsonite right in the center of the airport and of course your leopard print unmentionables are going to be right on top.  Enter a frisky pat down in security, a split coffee, and then a late flight.  Ahhh the joys of air travel!

The time has come for the Fighting couple to reveal our super “secrets” to getting through the TSA regulations/customs/check in quickly and without doing a strip tease for a hall of complete strangers.  Our only warning, please use these new found super powers wisely.

 

Packing1) Prep and Pack-One of the keys to getting through security fast begins long before you set foot at the aeroporto.   Strategic packing can and will take much of the stress and hand-wringing out of the entire experience.  Taking a little time to prep three key things

Poundage-The male in our relationship is the guilty one of over packing.  He readily admits it.  Guilty as charged.  Knowing what your bag weighs can save you so much time.  If in doubt, weight it before you leave.  Stand on the scale…scream and call it a liar.  Step back on with the luggage in hand and subtract the two.

Parking and Petrol-One of the little known secrets to smooth airport-ing is parking.  Read the signs as you drive in, understand the value of short term vs long term parking.  It may be cheaper and quicker to park in long term for the short term.  Crazy huh?  If you are returning a rental car, time your approach to the airport to hit a gas station a few miles away from the tarmac.  This will save you some hard earned pesos and you will avoid the line of other Chevrolet Malibu renters as they overpay for their petrol.

Chems-By now I am sure even the novice traveler is aware that you must place everything you own in a tiny plastic baggie.  Many airports are not even offering complimentary bags now, you must bring your own.  We check our baggage.  Sign up for the credit card that gives you one free bag and forget about all the bags, leave your chems in checked luggage.

Airport2) Be Kind– Take your yellow highlighter and circle this super power on your computer.  One of the most effective ways to get through security fast and efficiently is to just be nice.  We spend an inordinate amount of time in airports.  We have never seen a situation where someone gets testy with TSA/Customs Office/airline personnel and it makes everything magically go smoothly.  Usually these situations escalate and bad things happen.  Don’t let it happen to you.    The next time you get a pat down, give them a smile and say thank you.  Move on.

3) Be Smart-Our tip for smart “Q-ing”.  Books have been written and wars have been fought about standing in line.  There are some cultures that do well at cueing and others not so much.  Our secret is when in Rome…do as the French.  Mimic what everyone else seems to be doing.   Keep your eyes open for new lines opening.  Most importantly check with those around you to confirm you are in the right line.

A few more tips for smart airport-ing:

1)  Double check your expiration of your Identification, passport, ect.

2) Smart people check in online.  Why stand in line when you don’t have to?

3)  Give the TSA webpage a quick look-see once a year to stay up on TSA regulations.

Airport shopping4) Shop!   Long gone are the days when airports were these long halls of boredom.  For the most part, airports have become shrines to capitalism.   These temples of temptation offer every food, fashion and overpriced item your heart could desire.   During our recent trip to Thailand we flew through BKK (Bangkok Airport).  We were amazed at the shopping!  Show up to the airport early on purpose.  Wander through the overpriced duty-free shops, hit the quirky souvenir shops and take in the chic boutiques.

5)  Travel Aps-with the advent of the smart phone, the entire airport experience can be a lot less stressful.  Here is a list of a few that might help:

TripIt-One of those catch all aps.  Simply forward your travel (air, hotel, and car) reservations and it captures it all on one readable place.  Cool huh?

GateGuru-What gate is your flight changed to?  Need a map for of the airport?  Get the Guru.

iTranslate, Babelingo-She said what?  Get a good translation ap.

iTrans, HopStop-How to get to and from the airport via public transport.

This post was sponsored by Holiday Hypermarket.

What are your secrets to getting around airports?  What did we miss?  Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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Shhhh….Our Secrets to Discount VIP Travel

John and Yoko suite ams hilton

Image by 1000fights via Flickr

We thought we would let you in on a few of our VIP travel secrets…

Ask for the Moon

Have you ever asked for the Honeymoon Suite? It never hurts to ask.  Most hotel managers will tell you the premium suites are vacant most of the time. During shoulder seasons especially– just asking often opens the door to some really nice rooms. High inventory cities are also prone to willingness to upgrade you if it is an “off” weekend, or better yet a weekday.  “Large inventory” areas like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, Paris, ect are an easy target.

Getting an upgrade at a discounted rate can be cheaper than a standard room due to the amenities that come with. Upgraded rooms often have access to free: wifi, bottled water, hospitality rooms, ect.  Don’t ever expect to get upgraded…Grandma’s rules apply: a little bit a honey goes a long way.

Another place to ask for the upgrade is at the rental car desk. We have friends that always book economy and play the upgrade game at the desk. This approach can be risky if the desk is swamped, they are out of cars, or if you find “Mr. NO!” behind the counter. Always ask about your options.  Negotiate a price.  Most rental car companies put a ton of miles on the economy and mid-size cars. They need to put some miles on those Cadillacs and Audis.  For those that are a little fearful to ask: just say…”what else do you have?”

Trust me, those counter agents get asked all the time.

Book Early or Late

If you are catching the train to the airport then you might be able to afford to go first class if you book yourself a ticket early enough. Train and air lines often have early bird deals on their website, it might take a little bit more planning as they often require you to book your ticket some time in advance but it can be worth it if you get a first class ticket for negligible extra cost.

An old Chinese Proverb goes: Empty seats make no money.  Again, during certain times of the year the best seats on trains and planes go empty.  There is a load of websites out there that offer great bargains on last minute travel.  This is certainly not for the faint at heart.  For crazy planners like Luci and I, this option would never work.  The fact remains there are deals to be had on last minute travel.  Give it a try.

Airline Perks

The three words that strike fear and loathing to avid travelers: LONG LAY OVER.   They are the bane of our exsisitence.  How can you travel VIP if you have to sit in an airport lounge for hours on end?  Enter the airline club rooms.  Worth every penny for long layovers.  Food?  Yep.  Newspaper and popular mags?  Yep.  Comfy chairs?  Yep.  A little privacy?  Yep.

Back to rule one, why not just ask the desk, tell them that you have a long layover and do they ever offer discounted entry?  If you happen to be female, entry barriers seem to be lessened if you find a bored gate attendant.  They are often eager to help (wink).

Valet Airport Parking

We have found the way you start and end your trip make all the difference.  If you are driving to the airport then you have a think about  Airport Parking the options that are open to you.  If you don’t want the bog standard park and ride service then you might be able to find a good deal on valet parking or even treat yourself to the most VIP option which is a chauffeur service.  Valet parking can really add a touch of class to your journey as your own driver will meet you at the airport when you arrive, all you need to do is hand over your vehicle and your keys and they will take your car to a secure place for the duration of your stay.

On your return they will meet you when your flight arrives and have your car waiting for you right outside departures.  It truly is how the other half travels.  Prices are surprisingly affordable.

We hope these tips and tricks are helpful.  Do you have any secrets to getting the VIP experience?  Leave a comment below.

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