Having flown over 30,000 miles this year, I’ve taken a lot of notes. I’ve learned what to do, what not to do, what to look out for and how early to arrive at what airport and where. I got into a conversation with a gentleman on a flight home the other night and he asked me what my top five airport tips were when traveling, without hesitation I was able to give him five airport travel tips, and then some.
Here are the ones I thought were of most value:
- Park and Fly discounts. If you’re a frequent traveler (or even if you’re not), look at the online. Many park and fly locations around the country offer discounts for parking for as low as two dollars per day. If you don’t see any discounts online, pick up the phone and call the location and ask if they have any online promotional codes. This happened to me recently and I was able to get parking for $2.99 per day vs. $5 at the airport (and it wasn’t in the economy lot).
- Take a photo of your bag. I should practice what I preach. The one time I didn’t take a photo of my bag – it was lost – for two days. Before you checking your bag just snap a photo of it with your camera or phone. Heaven forbid your bag gets lost — you’ll have an exact image to show them — instead of guessing if it’s a 22 or 25 on the baggage chart (I had to do that in the Delta baggage claim office this week).
- Exchange currency bank. Recently on a trip to Amsterdam I compared exchanging my money at Bank of America to TravelEx at the airport, Bank of America had a better exchange rate. For $100 USD I was able to get 75 euro verses only receiving 70 euro at TravelEx. If you’re sailing on a cruise, you can exchange your tender at the guest relations desk but remember, the cruise line is a business and not a bank.
- There’s an app for that. You wouldn’t think it (I sure didn’t) but the airline smartphone apps give you up to the minute info regarding where your bag is, if you’re upgraded to first class or where your plane is. When Delta lost my bag over the weekend coming back from Mexico, I was able to see where the bag was and where it was being scanned. There was a time when even the baggage service reps had no clue where our bags were. I would also add follow your airline on Twitter. When I had trouble with Delta, I messaged @DeltaAssist and they were able to help me 24-7.
- Don’t pay for Wifi. There’s an abundance of free wifi hotspots around most airports. If the terminal you’re in has a Starbucks or McDonalds, you’re in luck. You may have to buy a bottle water or something small but you’ll still get a wifi code. Also, if you check around the airline lounges, you can sometimes piggy pack off their wifi (that worked for me in Washington Dulles outside the United Club). It’s pretty common for airports to have free wifi these days too.
There are hundreds of airport tips and if you have any, I’d love to hear them.
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