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15 Airport Tricks To Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

15 Airport Tricks To Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

When you have to fly, you probably grit your teeth and prepare for a forgettable airport experience. You get ready for long lines, surly fellow passengers, uncomfortable seating, mediocre food, and embarrassing security procedures where you almost have to strip. Is there any way you can get around these problems? Happily, there is! Implement these 15 hacks to make your next airport stay a much more pleasant experience.

1. Book a red-eye flight

Not as crazy as it sounds. Booking a flight with a late evening departure time and early arrival time (red-eye flight) does have its advantages. First of all, you will be able to travel at a quieter time as the airport will be less chaotic. It makes the airport almost human. The best result however is that you can sleep during the flight and wake up at your destination. This does depend on whether you are travelling east or west but in many cases, it really is worth it. You can save also on the price of the air ticket.

2. Get Nexus/Global entry

Once you apply for Global entry, you can avoid the long lines at immigration. This is one of the most painful airport experiences. No frustrating waiting or filling out boring questionnaires. With Global entry, you go to the special kiosks, key in some details and they recognize you from your fingerprints. You are in! It only costs $100 for five years and if you hold an American Express Platinum card, they will pay the fee for you. This system is operational in 26 US airports. American, Canadian, Swiss, and Dutch citizens can apply. To do so, fill out an online questionnaire and be prepared for a background check which includes a 30-minute interview. If you are a frequent flier to Canada, apply first for the Nexus entry because that will automatically get you on to the Global one without re-applying (it will also save you $50).

3. Get access to the first class lounge

This can really make your stay at the airport more human. All you have to do is to ask someone going in if they would not mind signing you in too. There are quite a few first class lounges which allow this. If you’d rather not ask a stranger for a quick favor, you can pay to get access yourself. This can cost between $30 – $50. You may prefer to get annual membership and pay for each visit. Some plans allow you to have access to 700 lounges worldwide. If you have a long wait while in transit, this is really worth it. These lounges are usually very comfortable and you will have access to better food, showers and also quiet areas if you need to sleep.

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4. Cut down on walking

Airports tend to be large places and sometimes you have to walk miles. If you are elderly or have some disability, you can apply for wheelchair assistance for you or a family member. It makes life so much easier at the airport and also speeds things up considerably. You can apply for it when you purchase your ticket. Nobody is going to ask you for a medical certificate. Remember this is a great time saver if you have a tight connection. There are short cuts for wheelchairs!

5. Dine at the airport

If time permits or if you check in extra early, consider dining at the airport restaurants instead of having to put up with a doubtful plane meal. Airport restaurants are improving. It is also more cost effective and can help with jet lag. Just think, you can have a comfortable seat and plenty of elbow room for cutting your steak!

Another option is to bring your own food on board which is usually healthier.

Some people recommend bring frozen food on board so that they can have it during the flight. Apparently frozen food gets through security without problems, according to frequent fliers. Not for me!

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6. Find a quiet place

If you are not in a first class lounge, it might be difficult to find a quiet spot. However, look for a religious symbol and follow that. Airport chapels of various denominations are usually provided. They are almost always very quiet. You can sleep or meditate there. Airports in the Middle East tend to have public shower facilities near the chapels or prayer rooms. Frankfurt airport has several chapels catering to Jewish, Christian and Muslim travelers.

7. Bond with your kids

Get the kids off their gadgets. If you have kids and are worried about how to keep them entertained for the long wait, encourage them and your significant other to switch off all devices. Playing cards, reading books out loud, or playing simple games like I Spy, can help to bond with your kids. If everybody is on their smartphone, this is not possible.

8. Use your frequent flier air miles wisely

When you work it all out, business class flights are the best and most economical way to use those air miles, especially where long haul flights are involved. Redemption rates on a business class return flight Sydney/London/Sydney works out at 4.52 cents per point. The same flight in economy class works out at 1.33 cents for each point. It is well worth checking out sites like iFLYflat to make sure you are getting the best value. Also, going business class will make your airport stay much more pleasant.

9. Plan ahead

Planning ahead can make the airport experience a much more positive and hassle-free one. Check out the airline’s policy on carry on luggage and actually measure the case before you leave home. Better safe than sorry. Checking in online and choosing your seat either from your PC at home or your smartphone is going to make things a lot easier when you actually get there. You can spend that extra time relaxing, by going shopping and eating.

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10. Preparing for the security check

You know what is going to happen here. You can prepare for it with your choice of attire however. You can wear trousers which do not need a belt. Choose slip-on shoes and also remember that your socks should be in good condition so that you do not pick up a nasty foot fungus while waiting for your shoes to come through. Check out this guide for more details on making it all stress free.

11. Prevent luggage theft

One way to do this is to pack a gun and declare it. Another alternative is to pack a toy pistol (still needs a declaration) but no license, of course! It actually does not get special treatment because it just needs to be securely locked. So it really does work in stopping the airport luggage thieves at least. But think twice about this if you are travelling from or to a state which has strict gun laws. Examples are New York, Hawaii, California and Illinois. You could end up in prison!

12. Sleep at the airport.

You must be joking! Well, I am not actually, because there are passengers who prefer to do this, rather than stay at a hotel and get up at the crack of dawn. They are saving on the hotel bill. Also emergencies and bad weather may force you to have a long overnight layover. They say that London’s Stanstead airport looks like a refugee camp every night. People complain bitterly that there is not enough seating when they arrive at 10.p.m. If you decide this is for you, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Bring a travel mattress
  • You will be asked why you are there. Have your ticket ready.
  • Pack your eye shades and ear plugs
  • Ensure you have snacks and bottled water with you
  • Post its to stick on yourself to ask people to wake you at the right time
  • Dress in layers as some foreign airports can get too cold or hot

13. Watch movies at the airport

It’s a long wait so why not watch a movie. You will need your laptop and a USB flash drive. At the touchscreen kiosks, you can download your favorite film on the drive and load it on to your laptop. These are not available at all airports in the US yet. Digiboo and iTunes are the most popular ones at the moment.

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14. Enjoy some terminal shopping

Take advantage of samples of lotions and hand creams to hydrate your skin. You are going to need it if you have arrived from a long flight. Zero cost and gives you a chance to explore the whole shopping scene.

15. Relax and enjoy the airport

Head for one of the airport bars and grab a drink. This is great for people watching if you are travelling alone, and can be great fun. Just relax with a drink and help to pass the time. If you are feeling sleepy, you can always crash out for a few hours at a YOTEL pod or next-generation cabin. Not every airport has these but Heathrow at Terminal 4 has one. You can stay overnight for £56. There are also lots of other things to help pass the time such as visiting a spa, getting a massage or even visiting an art gallery. Now, who said airports were boring?

Featured photo credit: Prague Airport/Nicola via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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