Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bryan's travel tip #1 - Use a carry-on bag

I ran across this blog post the other day in my Google reader account8 point survival guide for too much business travel, and while I think Ann has some great tips I laughed when I read tip #3 and also #4, but more on that one in a later blog post.



My tip regarding checked bags and carry-on bags...







Bryan's tip #1 - Use a carry-on bag
I almost never check a bag unless I am willing to invest significantly more than 20 - 30 minutes of my overall travel experience at a minimum.  I fail to see how Ann can get her bag checked and retrieved in only 10 minutes.  Use a carry-on bag always and remember there are irons in just about every hotel these days, and in most cases you can 'steam' those wrinkles out of your clothes by just hanging them in the bathroom with you while you shower.  In fact I have never used an iron on the road for my shirts because a.) they are pressed from the dry cleaners first so they'll have fewer wrinkles when I unpack them b.) I hang them in the bathroom while I take a shower and leave the shower on FULL HOT a few minutes after I'm done showering.

Do you ever need more than two pairs of shoes...uh rarely. I have gotten my travel packing down so that on three to four day trips I get by with only my laptop bag and backpack.  The backpack is my favorite to travel with in fact because of the compact nature and side pockets.  The ability to quickly and easily clear security by not rummaging around my bag to get the toiletries out and in the bin.  The best bags I have found for these short (three to four day trips and even five) trips are from either ebags - downloader backpack pictured right, or SharperImage.


Bryan's tip #1.5 - If you must check a bag

Now, in the rare circumstances where you must check a bag :( here are my tips on how to get it done faster.  First and most obvious is to pack lightly.  You don't want to have the embarrassment of taking things out because you packed more than 50lbs into a single bag.

Check-in using the airline site the night before, then when you arrive at the airport you can in some cases skip the line all together and just go to the counter and tell them you have bags to check.  Unfortunately this is not consistent so you'll have to determine which airports let you get by with this trick and which ones won't.  For those where you can't use this little trick you're stuck and if you don't have status with the airline you'll likely have to wait in line...not much advice I can offer here other than to build status with a single airline or multiple if you travel a lot as I do.

So here alone if you don't have status you are unfortunately losing at least 10 - 15 minutes off your travel, longer than what Ann mentioned in her post.  The best tip I have over the years of travelling with a checked bag really applies to when I arrive back home.  This works great if you are towards the front of the plane, or even the middle, and the must is your airport must have FREE 20 - 30 minute parking.

For this one get off the plane as fast as you can and get to your off-airport shuttle.  Drive back to the airport close-in parking with the free parking.  From here you should be able to walk right in, claim your bag and drive off.  This one is so great because instead of waiting in line to get your bag, and then waiting in line to get a ride back to your car you end up not waiting at either location.


Now, you might ask...what do I know about travel?  Well for the last few years I have flown enough on AmericanAirlines to achieve their top tier status ExecutivePlatinum, and last year I flew enough to receive top tier status on both AmericanAirlines and UnitedContinental.  In the coming weeks I'll post different tips I have learned about flying and travel in general.  If you have any tips please share, or let me know what you would like to hear about next time.

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