If you thought you travel lots, meet my husband. A business traveller and expat by trade he once travelled up to 90%. Today he works in Nigeria, visits me in the UK, but Barcelona will always be home.
Travelling with him is like a heavy night out with Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne combined. Our first international date saw us arrive spectacularly late to the airport and rush lightspeed through check in faster than you can say, ‘Sorry, which gate is it?’
The experience is all rather a blur but after a zillion flights with him, I’ve learned how to travel more efficiently, if not in style. Here are my tips:
- It’s nearly always quicker to wait for the elevator than take the escalator. Airports like to funnel you through the shops. You’ll end up stopping at each floor, walking all the way round to the other side and zigzagging around for miles.Photo by Anne Worner
- Save your frequent flyer and lounge access numbers onto your phone or write them in your agenda. Attendants only need the number, and if you’re like me you’ll never be able to find the right card when you check in.
- If there are two queues equal in length, choose the left one. Apparently most people are right handed and so subconsciously veer to the right. If you’re flying economy, check in nearest the business class or oversized bags line – whenever there is a lull in business travellers your queue will be called forward.Photo by hernanpba
- Stay clear and polite with airport security. Only speak the native language if it’s native to you, otherwise opt for English. If there’s a sign saying ‘no mobiles’, don’t use yours (that includes checking Facebook). Bite your teeth, even if you are exhausted and the policeman is a jerk. In some countries this could save you a visit to jail. Trust me.Photo by cote
- If you’re over the weight limit for your hand luggage buy something from duty free shopping just to get a plastic bag. Airlines are obliged to let you take it onboard.
- While you’re queuing for security put your coins, watch etc. in a side pocket of your hand luggage. Most people leave them loose on the tray, fumble around and then stress as they get hurried along by airport security. When flying I now avoid metal belts and jewelry.
- Attach a tie or unusual ribbon onto your suitcase so you can easily recognise it when you land. I use a bright blue suitcase and also write on the underside in black marker pen so it is even more identifiable.
- If you drove to the airport take a photo of where you parked the car. Otherwise save the parking lot number on your phone or write it down somewhere safe. Chances are that you’ll have forgotten when you land.
- Download Google Maps for your new destination before you leave. Don’t rely on internet connectivity when you arrive.
- If your flight is delayed and you’re unsure on the status, call the airline helpline or check online, including through social media. In my case, Luton airport’s information office was deserted at 4am but a Twitter chat with KLM filled me in (and promoted me to ad hoc Communications Director among fellow stranded passengers).Photo by Silver Blu3
And did you know…?
You can take a bottle of water through screening as long as it’s frozen. However, if it’s partially melted, slushy or has any liquid at the bottom of the container, it will not be allowed through. While my husband is excited to try this trick out on his flight next week, I reckon life’s too short. Just grab an Evian before you take off. Please.