The glorious functionality of an airport system never ceases to amaze me. An international airport is somewhat short of an international UN meeting full of representatives from different countries.
Here we are, countless guests from countless places, all in transition into our next destination.
It’s an odd concept. People arrive, they wait, and then they leave. You will see numerous faces for the first and last time all in one meeting.
Many people hate the airport. They hate layovers. They hate waiting. While it’s not my favorite part of my journey, it is part of it, and shouldn’t be overlooked.
I love to see people from different places collaborating together in one place for a common purpose. It’s almost like music. If you take a moment to close your eyes you’ll be able to hear some of that music. Whether it be the gate attendants, people talking in a foreign language, or the airplanes taking off. You’ll be surprised at what you hear if you give it a try.
At the airport there are two types of people.
The people that like to travel in style and the people that like to travel comfortably.
I’m obviously the latter of the two.
Those that like to travel in style either work here, are on a business trip, or have enough time between flights that they don’t have to run.
I always come prepared to sprint to the other side of the airport at the drop of a hat.
Those that travel comfortably are in yoga pants, sweat pants, shorts and T-shirts. They carry bags and backpacks and wear tennis shoes or sandals.
But whichever person you are, you have to go through the same security check as everybody else. Sure there may be fancy first class rooms, etc, but the truth is, we are all in the same airport.
So how can you prepare for the airport?
Here are my recommendations:
1. Tennis shoes
I’ve recently started committing to tennis shoes for several reasons. They are usually my heaviest pair other than my Chacos, and it’s much easier to wear them than to carry them. My feet get cold so I have my socks. I used to wear flip flops because of the need to take them off for security, but my feet would get visibly dirty, making it embarrassing on the flight.
Personally I like a backpack. Rolling suitcases are great for the airport if this is your only piece of luggage. If you’ve checked a bag you need to keep in mind that you will be carrying your checked bag along with your rolling suitcase after you claim your luggage. Therefore, if my main bag is a suitcase, my carry-on is a backpack. If my main bag is a backpack, my carry-on is an over the shoulder bag/purse or a drawstring backpack that can easy packed once I arrive.
Remember, just because you can bring a big carry-on, doesn’t mean that you should. If you’re using your carry-on to bring more stuff than what you’ve checked in, then you’ve packed too much stuff. You’ll hate yourself for having brought so much. A carry-on is best used to carry the things that you think you will need on the plane, such as snacks.
If you’re cheap like me, then buy snacks before you get to the airport. Buying snacks in the airport will be more expensive, and buying snacks on the plane is just ludicrous.
Bring a collapsible water bottle to fill up at stations throughout the airport. Save $$$ and the environment.
There are outlets everywhere now. Don’t pack it in your check-in bag.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
It can be hard to sleep on an overnight flight. The best thing to do is to try and stick to your nighttime routine as best as possible. Brush your teeth (don’t forget the plastic bag for the toothpaste to get through security), change your shirt if you need to, and take a Benedryl.
Because we are so busy planning our actual trip, we forget to bring something to entertain us while we wait. Bring a book that you will probably never read again. Once you finish it, you can leave it somewhere and lighten your load. A book can also help you to fall asleep more easily than an electronic book.
Print travel documents
I’m all for saving trees, but a physical boarding pass just works best for me. I’ve used the app without any problems, but I prefer to have something physical in case my phone decides to break or get lost.
- Don’t wear jewelry
You’re gonna have to take it all off when you go through security.
Take the stairs.
Unless you’re sprinting to the other side of the airport to catch a flight, take the stairs, don’t use the fast walkway. You’re about to be sitting for who knows how long once you reach your gate and board your plane. You could probably use those extra steps to get your blood flowing. It will also help wake you up and get you more focused. Unless you have a huge carry-on. Take the stairs.
So, then next time you’re heading on an adventure, remember these easy tips to help you to save a few dollars and avoid a few inconveniences.
Until next time!