15 Tips to Be a Savvy Airport Road Warrior

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Aug 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.bnet.com/blog/small-biz-advice/15-tips-to-be-a-savvy-airport-road-warrior/3672

    If you can spend 10 minutes debating whether it’s better to be stuck in the airport in Denver, Vancouver, orMunich — and make intelligent, cogent points in the process — you travel too much. (Munich won, mainly because of its recreation and shopping area.)
    I’m a ghostwriter but I travel more than you might think. Meetings with clients, meetings with publishers (many of whom still seem to think the only way to conduct business is over lunch), plus I speak about twenty times a year. Bottom line, lots of airports. Lots of mistakes. Lots of lessons learned.

    Low-Tech Tips:
    • Consider a backpack instead of a briefcase or satchel. Easier to carry, multiple pockets/exterior pouches, plenty of room. Who cares if it doesn’t look as cool.
    • Keep all your chargers in your carry-on. Checked bags get lost. You can live without clothes but not phone or laptop chargers.
    • Carry a mini power strip or power splitter. For $10 you can turn one outlet into two; if all the outlets are taken you can easily “borrow” one.
    • Always sit near the front of the plane. Besides the fact you will deplane quicker, some planes have power outlets in the front section, even in coach. (Virgin always has power outlets in coach. Love Virgin.)
    • Like kayak.com? I think you’ll like Hipmunk.com even better, if only because you can sort results by “agony.”
    • Know the seats. Everyone loves exit row seats because of the extra leg room. Everyone hates the seats in front of the exit row because they don’t decline. Seatguru does a fairly good job of showing seats, power availability, Wi-Fi availability, overhead TV placement, and where the galleys and bathrooms are located (especially important if you hope to nap.)
    • Check in ahead of time. Many airlines bump frequent flyers to first class when seats are available, and the method is often first checked in, first upgraded.
    • Bring offline stuff. Sometimes you won’t get Wi-Fi. Sometimes you won’t get cell service. Bring a book. Bring documents. Load up your laptop with work that will not require online access. Especially bring busy work. Focusing in airports and on planes isn’t easy, which makes it the perfect time for relatively mindless tasks.
    • Bring an empty water bottle. You can fill it once you’re through security.
    • Bring earphones, even when you don’t plan to listen to music. If your seatmate grows tiresome put in your earphones. Works every time.
    • Bring business cards. Just kidding. Don’t be an in-flight networker. There’s nothing worse… if only because we can’t escape you.
    High(er) Tech Tips:
    • Be your own hot spot. My iPhone creates a handy hot spot: no Wi-Fi, no worries. Plus it’s cheap since for $20 a month I get 2GB of data. (Can’t watch movies, can do anything else.) And I can turn the capability on and off at will. Other hot spot options are available, so if you need Internet access and aren’t sure if you’ll have it carrying your own hot spot is the way to go.
    • Check in by phone. Then you can use your phone as a boarding pass. Sometimes the scanner will struggle to read the image on a phone, so turn the brightness all the way up before you get to the front of the line. I’ve seen other people have to go back for a boarding pass, but I’ve never had a problem. (Some people carry a boarding pass as a backup.)
    • Use airline apps. Some are admittedly better than others. Delta, United, Continental — all pretty good.
    • Consider a couple other apps. FlightTrack Pro provides detailed flight information, and best of all alerts for delays. Sometimes FlightTrack knows there is a delay before the gate attendants. GateGuru shows the food, shopping, and service options available in a number of different airports. City Maps 2 Go is a good offline map tool; download the maps you need and when you don’t have cell service you won’t be lost.
    Best tip of all: Be nice to gate and flight attendants. Their jobs are far from easy.
    Those are my tips — what are yours?
     
  2. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Great tips.
     
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  3. UA191

    UA191 Silver Member

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    Great tips! I really like Hipmunk!
     
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  4. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    Bring MP referral cards :).
     
  5. GaryB

    GaryB Active Member

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    Ask the gate attendant if you can swap your seat for the Uber Elite road warrior who just upgraded.
    Chances are he had the best seat in coach.
     
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  6. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    Couldn't agree more with the backpack comment! In mine I always keep snack packs of nuts and dried fruit and granola bars just in case!

    Hipmunk.com... awesome! Thanks for the link. I just did some searches and I really like it.
     
  7. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I'm really lovin this one:

    • Carry a mini power strip or power splitter. For $10 you can turn one outlet into two; if all the outlets are taken you can easily “borrow” one.

    Thinking back this would have been very useful many times!!!:)
     
  8. upgrade

    upgrade Gold Member

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    I've been doing this for years. And in my experience a standard wall-wart plug-tripler will run more like $3-4, not $10.
     
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  9. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    How'd you get your iphone to be a hotspot? I still have unlimited data with at&t, but they warned me against tethering. FM transmitter + pandora is still a pretty good way at getting back at them though :)
     
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  10. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Yep, something like this should work well and cost in $3-$4 range:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    I definitely agree with the backpack comment. MUCH easier on the shoulders than a shoulder bag, and more compact than a rolling bag. It can get hot if you're doing a lot of walking, though I can live with that over the alternatives.

    I do mobile check-in and BP whenever I can, although it had just occurred to me a few days ago what I'd do if I needed a ticket number to retroactively get credit for a flight - mobile BP's (at least UA and CO) don't have ticket numbers and the links become inactive a day or so after your flight.
     
  12. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Thanks for all your great insights and hints // tips! Excellent!:)
     
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  13. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    It costs extra to turn on the service that makes it a hotspot--because they love it when they can get you every month instead of a getting a single one-time activation fee!--and you have to buy a separate (additional) data plan that is not unlimited. iPhones are not the only ones. My dad did this for his Droid and likes it, but I can do without.
     
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  14. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    I disagree with the backpack because when I attach my rolling briefcase to my rolling suitcase, they are almost perfectly balanced when rolling them to where it takes almost no effort over any paved surface. Gone are the days of rushing through the airport to pull my backpack off to show off that nice sweat stain down the middle of my back.

    The plug tripler is a great idea and will look to get one asap.

    To deter talkative neighbors, ear plugs and an eye mask also work really well.

    In addition to earphones, ensure yours are sound isolating as you they will do double duty by limiting fatigue during your flight and are great for when you are watching the in flight movie or your own entertainment. I'm very happy with mine from Etymotic but there are plenty of them out there.

    In regards to airline apps, don't use Southwest's app.... at least not for the mobile boarding pass. Nothing like having your boarding pass pulled up in the app 10 minutes earlier and then getting to the front of the TSA line to find that it has disappeared, can no longer be retrieved and that you'll have to go back to the counter to get a paper one.

    Back when my back was really messed up and I had to bring a seat pad for my chair at work, I decided to use it on my flight there. Fairly inconvenient to carry but it was one of the most comfortable flights I remember being on since those airplane seats can get quite hard on a cross country flight.
     
  15. Lufthansa Flyer
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    great tips....especially hipmunk!!
     
  16. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    I still prefer the backpack b/c I don't always have a rolling bag with me. For instance, walking around in the city. I'm sure there has to be a backpack out there with a strap for a rolling bag, though.
     
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  17. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I've seen plenty of rolling backpacks, even had one for a while. :)
     
  18. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    I tried attaching my backpack to my rolling suitcase before but every time you stop moving, the bottom of the backpack takes a beating which is not necessarily what I want to do to my work bag.

    The backpack is much more useful to me on vacation as I often need a day pack for going all over the place (paved and unpaved areas). But for my usual road warrior routine for work, the rolling briefcase is an absolute must to not only preserve my dress shirts and sport coats, but also my lower back.
     
  19. CrankyScott
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    CrankyScott Silver Member

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    I totally agree with this - I have been looking for a lightweight one to include in my kit that is 120/240v rated. Anyone have a good recommendation?
     
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  20. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Just bought a triple plug yesterday at Menard's. They have several different styles for under $2 - three across, cube, and sort of a T shape, like the image below. Briefly considered that one in orange, but went with a cube in white. Only $1.79+tax and if it doesn't work out, I'm sure I'll find a use for it around the house. They even had a couple with nightlights!

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Switch2

    Switch2 Silver Member

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    All great tips; In my backpack I also carry a smallest possible universal adapter when traveling overseas.
     
  22. ctporter
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    ctporter Silver Member

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    One of my favorites is a high Sierra rolling backpack with a removable day pack http://hssc.com/product?number=AT605&lang=en
    I cut the back pack straps off the the wheeled part and use that as an overhead carry-on and the day pack as my under seat bag. The day pack can either zip on or tether, I prefer to tether, it is much quicker
     
  23. ctporter
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    ctporter Silver Member

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    Also, important to note is that when I tether the backpack it does not drag on the ground, it balances great too making it very easy to roll along
     
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  24. CrankyScott
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    CrankyScott Silver Member

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  25. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Very Nice! Hard not to like that!
     
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