Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting the Most Out of the Friendly Skies

Recently I went out of town on some urgent family business, which required me to make travel arrangements (flight, hotel, rental car). It’s been about six years since I’ve done that, but I managed to find really great deals on and

What I was forgetting about in my emotional turmoil were many of the logistics of the meat of the trip. I did one Mapquest printout, but not the return trip, which would have been helpful. I could have used a few others for possible changes in plans as well. Also, since it had been so long since I flew and because I was not so intimate with the traffic patterns of the city I was in, I nearly missed my flight!

So I thought, “Next time I’ll…”

· review TSA’s security check-in rules (available on the airport’s website) & follow them to the letter. No matter what Airport A does, Airport B might be more strict. In my case, my netbook had to go in a completely separate bin from my other stuff; my things had to be re-scanned.

· print to and from directions to each destination. This may require planning the visiting order of your destinations. Also, it might help to double-check the websites (if available) of your destinations regarding where to park. This helps if you’re dealing with one-way streets.

· leave the hotel shampoos in the hotel. Unless you follow that “3-1-1” rule and have a one-quart zip-top bag to put them in, you will have security issues. I tossed mine in the garbage before scanning.

· leave the keys in the rental car, write down the mileage and, if needed, the fuel level. Normally, there are rental car peons everywhere to help you out. Sometimes there isn’t. I had to go to the Customer Service desk, who asked me all these questions. I didn’t have to go back to the car, but it would have cut a few minutes off check-out time.

· plan to be at the airport two hours ahead of take-off time. Because it was the weekend, I did not anticipate such heavy traffic on the way to the airport (you never know when there will be an accident to snarl things up).

To the degree your pre-flight schedule allows you, the above can save on some unnecessary headaches. Does anyone else have some valuable travel lessons learned? I could probably use those, too!

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