I’ve flown MILLIONS of air miles (literally), but you don’t have to take it from me. In fact, ask anyone who has a lot of miles under their belt about travel tips, and you’ll start learning that are a TON of little secrets that can significantly improve your experience getting from point A to point B on planes, trains, and automobiles. Some of you on Snapchat have asked my tips for travel and I thought I’d consolidate my best stuff in this latest episode of #chasejarvisRAW.
Now, if you’re looking for how to pack photo gear … this isn’t that video exactly. YES we discuss it a bit, but you can find my posts here, here, and here. Some of these vids are a little dated, but the general principles are still the same, and if you’re photo travel game isn’t bulletproof, you’ll want to watch those as well. BUT… this episode of cjRAW, I talk about 5 ways to get the most out of your flying time regardless of if you’re traveling for photo trips, pleasure, work, meetings…whatever. This is the topline need-to-know stuff to make the most out of any journey.
I travel with two key pieces of luggage: a backpack and a roll-aboard suitcase. These two pieces are critical to keep all the important stuff on me.
Now, not all luggage is created equal. The brands don’t matter as much but if you’re looking for a place to start, I tend to like the latest North Face roll-aboard bags and Tumi. You’ll spend extra $$$ for the good stuff, but mine have been rolling for over a million miles and I’m still trucking.
Whether I’m using a photo backpack or a standard backpack, it MUST have a laptop compartment + pockets that’s easy to access key items I use on the plane (more on that later). I prefer backpacks over something I hand-carry or sling because it’s just easier to throw something on my back and still have my hands free.
For a carry-on suitcase, wheels are must have. There’s nothing worse then going on long trips and hauling heavy bags that are hard to carry. It’s a small thing that can go a long way. Also, if you want a suitcase that travels internationally and across mass majority of plane types, get a 20-inch bag. TSA regulations will allow a 22-inch bag that expands, but that standard does not fit all planes and is not standard in all countries. Avoid that mess and get the 20-inch bag.
Cutting The Line
If you travel even a few times a year, it’s worth looking into TSA approved methods to short-cut the security lines at the airport. That’s less time waiting around and more time doing the things you need.
TSA Pre-Check + Global Entry
TSA Pre-check is a pre-screen you can sign-up & pay for. You will need to fill out an online application, then go to your local airport for an interview. By doing this, you register yourself as a “known traveler”, and once you are approved, you will gain access to the pre-check security lines at the airport which means you aren’t required to to take off your shoes, remove your laptop, remove liquids from your bag, etc. These lines are generally faster as a result, and usually consist of fellow travelers who know the ropes and are efficient at getting through the line.
If you travel internationally, you might consider Global Entry. Global Entry gives you everything Pre-check does, but also puts you in a faster customs lines coming back into the United States.
Though this service is only available in limited airports, it’s worth mentioning CLEARME. Clear is a 3rd party company that exists in certain airports. As more and more people sign-up for TSA Pre-check, that line will get longer. Clear is an additional fee but sees far less people. You can shortcut right to screening, which is often faster than Pre-Check.
Finally, if you or your someone in your party has airline status, you’ll likely be in one of the first boarding groups. Everyone in your party can board early with you as a traveling companion. Boarding the plane early means less waiting for people to jossle their bags around, and earlier access to the overhead bins, and overall less stress.
Working on the Plane
Time on the plane is concentrated quiet time where I often get a lot of work done. The first thing I do when getting to my seat is get out my laptop, iPad mini and noise canceling headphones. The iPad comes in handy during take-offs and landings, when a laptop is not permitted. Though I could read on my phone, I prefer the iPad with a bit larger screen. The noise-canceling headphones are magic for keeping out the plane noise, and also a universal signal that you’re focused and not up for a chatty seat mate.
I’m not the best sleeper, and over the years I’ve developed a killer system to help me get some much needed shuteye.
- Eye masks. If you travel business class, these are often free in your seat pocket or you can purchase one on the internet for under $10.
- Ear plugs. You can get these at any hardware store, many grocery stores, and of course the internet.
- The cherry on top: noise canceling headphones on top of everything…. you can thank me later. 😉
In the video I talk about a few short-cuts I like to do on the plane such as snacks, or how to select the best seats… But there’s a whole game to travel that can get you free flights, access to the lounges, upgrades, and more. If you like the kind of stuff I’ve mentioned here, then you’ll definitely want to check out my pal Chris Guillebeau’s class on Becoming a Travel Hacker. He covers some ways you can gain upgrades by demystifying the airline miles & point systems.
Implement a few of these tips and I know you’ll be traveling like a boss in no time. Like ME 😉