Navigate the airport like a pro
Scrubba Wash Bag founder, Ash Newland knows a bit about travel. In fact he has been to over 40 countries, and goes on several international trips each year. He has certainly come up against many airport related challenges. In this blog, Ash shares some simple rules that make his travels smooth and efficient.
Wherever possible, I travel with carryon luggage only. This helps me
- Avoid spending precious time at the bag drop and collection
- Beat the taxi/public transport queues
- Avoid lost luggage
If I do need to pack more and check bags in, I pack enough in my carryon to survive a few days in case my luggage is lost. Baggage mishandling is on the decline, but there were still 7.3 bags per thousand passengers mishandled globally in 2014 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/benkepes/2015/04/08/minimizing-the-impacts-of-lost-luggage-the-scary-statistics/#422199155e67).I always pack my phone charger, basic toiletries and a change of clothes in my carryon bag.
Also my Scrubba Wash Bag so I can easily wash my clothes if my luggage does go missing.
A pen is almost my number 1 carry on item especially for international travel. I fill out immigration forms before I land and the rest I can fill out while waiting in those inevitable queues.
Check in and Security
There are plenty of ways to make the check in process as efficient as possible at the airport. I always check in online and have my boarding pass sent to my mobile phone. It not only saves paper, but helps me keep track of my boarding pass.
I prepare in advance for security. I put my wallet, keys etc. in my carryon bag and take my laptop or tablet out before I get to the front of the queue. This speeds up the process for everyone.
If I can choose my seat, I try to sit as close to the front or back (if they open the rear as well) of the plane so I can make a quick exit. Especially if I am travelling with carryon only.
On a long haul flight, I pick a seat towards the back to increase the chance of a spare seat next to me. In a 3 seat configuration I choose one with the middle seat free (ie someone on the aisle). The middle seat can then only be filled with a single. Check http://www.seatguru.com/ for notes on particular seats.
If I want some space to myself before being crammed onto the plane, I sit at a different gate to the one I am departing from. I make sure I am close enough to see if people start boarding and hear if there are any announcements at my gate.
For international connections, I check if the airport offers free wifi (many do). Otherwise I walk by the airport coffee stores and check their wifi access or offerings. Buying a coffee is often the best way to connect for an hour or so.
I usually prepurchase duty free. The pickup line is normally shorter than the register line. If I have a couple of hours to kill on the way out, I will be in a better mind space for working out what I need to buy than after a long haul flight.
On the flight
I pack a rollup drink bottle and fill it past security. On the flight you can also ask for it to be filled. This saves buying airport water at inflated prices.
For longhaul flights I wear a long sleeve top. It will get cold and blankets aren't always available or large enough.
I bring a small thin bag to organise my personal belongings in the seat pocket. Seat pockets tend to be pretty filthy. Plus, I am less likely to leave small items behind. If I have a window seat, the Scrubba packing cell is often able to loop over the armrest and is a good alternative for storing small belongings close by. Otherwise, you can get specially made products such as the Air Pocket (airpocket.com.au).
Getting out the other side
When I get off the plane, I don’t go to the closest toilets unless I am really busting. Airports have lots of toilets and going to one a bit further along is less likely to be crowded.
I look up details of transport options ahead of time. A quick search will give me an indication of taxi costs from the airport and other details of public transport options. To save money I usually look up some blogs and get their tips. If I do take a taxi, I make sure it is an official taxi and ask how much the ride is likely to cost. Where possible I insist they use the taxi meter. Again reading blogs and travel tips specific to that area is invaluable.
If you have checked in a bag and are waiting at the carousel for the bag to appear, stand back from the carousel. If everyone did this, it enables more people to see when their bag has arrived and gives room for them to safely approach and remove their bag.Finally, if you have large bags you may want to check the oversized luggage area before stressing that your bag has been lost.
Overall, the best advice is to travel light and to be organised. One of the best ways to do this is to pack a travel laundry solution like the Scrubba Wash Bag.