Like many businesspeople, I spend a lot of time in airports. Between consulting, writing, interviewing for my podcast, and the occasional vacation, I’m a travel wizard. I even packed two weeks worth of luggage into a saddlebag for a 2-week bike trip across Louisiana. And recently, I returned from back-to-back 3,000-mile trips.
And so also like many businesspeople, airports can infuriate me. Airlines know it, too. That’s why some airlines are working together with airport authorities to improve the passenger experience.
Even if you don’t belong to your airline’s luxury club, here are airport hacks to make your travel just a little easier:
1. Get Global Entry
Pro tip: Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck. You won’t regret purchasing this hugely time-saving benefit. Don’t take your shoes off, don’t take out your liquids or laptops, don’t wait in interminable lines. Get to your gate with speed and without frustration.
Everything is online, even airport maps. There you can find a layout of the buildings, and you can learn the shortest route from security to your gate. It will also give you a map of exactly where each restaurant and shop is located. They should give you security wait times and approximate walking times between terminals. So you can indulge in your favorite airport snack and still make it to your gate with ease.
3. Try a New Airport
Airlines know you hate them, and they’re working on it. In the meantime, you might consider a smaller city’s airport. It may require a longer drive, but mid-sized cities have invested to make their airports more tolerable. Plus, you can sometimes get better deals at a less-sought-after airport.
4. Get Fueled Up, Electronically and Biologically
You should know this already, but it bears repeating. Charge up your electronics before you go, and bring your plugs to keep them charged while you’re there. If you’re feeling really ambitious, bring a power strip so you can simultaneously charge all your devices. You can even earn some good karma by letting others plug in, too. And don’t forget snacks, a toothbrush, deodorant, and an empty water bottle to fill up after security. Bonus: you won’t be grumpy for paying outrageous airport prices.
5. Check If Your Cable Company Provides Wi-Fi
Some cable TV and Internet providers offer hotspot services (sometimes through a third party company) at busy city locations and at airports. Check online to see if you are eligible. Flight delays are much more tolerable, and your spirits will remain brighter, when you can watch a funny show to kill the time. It might even make you feel better about your outrageous cable bill!
6. Consider the Red Eye
I know it sounds awful, but think of the advantages. You get a full day at your location, and you arrive at the airport after peak travel time. That means no traffic to get there, and no long security lines. Now just take a sleeping pill and wake up at your destination!
7. Travel-Sized Booze
Bring it in your carry on. Because sometimes there’s just no other solution.