Even though I consider myself a seasoned airline traveler, I am always discovering new travel tips. I’ll start off my post with my favorite tip, TSA Pre-Check.
I have been traveling by air quite often in the last few years and decided to apply for TSA Pre-Check. If you haven’t signed up for it yet and take more than a couple of flights a year, it’s well worth it.
I applied this past Spring and have since used it on ten flights in the last few months. I am thrilled that I do not have to wait in long security lines any more which also means I don’t have to arrive at the airport as early (Extra bonus on those early A.M. flights!)
I no longer have to take my shoes or jacket off, or remove my laptop from its bag. The TSA Pre-Check security lines are so much shorter and quicker to go through.
You can apply on line at Transportation Security Administration and either make an appointment for your interview or go as a walk-in.
You will be fingerprinted and go through a quick interview. Within four weeks or so you will receive what they call a Known Traveler Number (KTN) if you are approved. The cost to apply is $85 and your KTN is good for five years.
Once you receive this number, you will need to add it to all of your air travel reservations. I travel on Southwest a lot and added my KTN to my frequent flyer profile. When I make a reservation it automatically gets put on my boarding pass.
Sign Up for Text Alerts
In my opinion flights are being delayed more and more. I like being notified via text message instead of email. A text gives me instant access to the information. When making your reservation, sign up for text alerts. If you belong to a frequent flyer program, add it to your profile.
Don’t Pay for Luggage Until You Arrive at the Airport
I recently had to cancel a flight due to a family emergency. When checking in, I paid for my luggage the day before. I am still trying to get my refund for the luggage as well as the lost ticket.
My favorite airline is Southwest. Luggage is free and there is no cancellation fee. Unfortunately, they don’t always fly to my destination but if they do, they will be my airline of choice.
Run Updates, Back Ups & Downloads Before Traveling
If you are like me and my husband, you travel with your iPhone and iPad or similar products. Be sure to update any apps and back up your devices either in the cloud or on your home computer before traveling.
Don’t wait for the last-minute to download any new movies, podcasts, music etc. We have run into technical difficulties and have learned to do this a few days in advance for a smoother departure. We once panicked that our movies didn’t download properly and were facing an 8 hour flight with no entertainment to pass the time. I had to pay for the airport wi-fi to fix the download error.
Pack Extra Batteries & Chargers in Your Carry On
Nothing drains a phone battery more than flight delays and cancellations. I have had to use my phone to try to re-book flights, notify family and once even rent a car to get home because no flights were available.
After traveling across country, my battery was already down from using the device on the plane. I now carry an external battery that give my devices an extra two hours of battery life.
I am always amazed at how few outlets there are in airports. And just when you think you are lucky enough to find one, it doesn’t take long to realize it’s not a working outlet and that’s why no one is using it.
My favorite story was when we were on our way to Europe and had a layover in the Chicago O’Hare Airport. We couldn’t find an outlet anywhere and wanted to charge our iPads that we had used on the previous flight and at the airport.
We approached a bartender at a kiosk bar asking if he knew where we could charge our devices. He smiled and whipped out an extension cord with room for several plugs. Buy a drink and the electricity was on him. He probably made the most tips out of anyone in that airport. Smart guy!
Additional Travel Tips
If you would like additional traveling tips, visit my previous posts: 30 Packing Tips for Europe and 5 Packing Tips for Europe (& Other Overseas Destinations).
Safe travels and enjoy your summer vacation.