At the risk of screwing up my own travel plans, here are some tips for less stressful travel:
- When going through airport security avoid lines containing vehicles (i.e., infants in strollers, or oldsters in wheelchairs). Both tend to be highly unpredictable.
- Print your boarding pass at home/office before the flight. Automated terminals at airport tend to stop allowing check-in too early, preventing you from getting on a flight that you could have otherwise made. (Seth says same here.)
- When going through country customs, avoid lines containing clusters of non-citizens. They’re trouble.
- Look to the front of Customs lines to find ones sharing officers. Entry in Vancouver, Canada, is the best example, where the far left station shares offices were with two and sometimes three other people. You can have huge lines, and still get through faster there.
- Get a seat early via the phone, and then ask for another seat at airport.
- There are often power outlets at hidden seats behind the check-in counter.
- You can often get free WiFi by sitting on your suitcase outside airlines’ premium lounges.
- Provide short, monosyllabic, and polite answers to Customs Officers’ questions. Be sure to smile that wan, just-landed-after-a-12-hour-flight smile the whole time.
- Always ask when renting cars if the outlet is at the airport. Not all airlines companies maintain airport offices at all airports, and discovering that during a last-minute, unexpected bus ride is a giant pain-in-the-ass.
- Allow one-hour mechanical delays, and then begin making other travel plans. There is a rapid decline in the likelihood of your original plane being repaired if it doesn’t happen in the first hour.
Anyone have other guerilla tips? Feel free.