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20 Airport Hacks to Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

20 Airport Hacks to Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

When you hear the term ‘airport hacks’ you might think of something illegal. However, the following 20 tips aren’t against the law – they are designed to help make your next trips out of town a breeze. Use these tips to help your vacations or business trips sail along smoothly:

1. Get Cheaper Parking Before You Head to the Airport to Save Money

A little bit of research about airport parking lots might be the difference between paying $33 per day at a JFK International Airport parking lot and less than one-third of that rate via discount park and ride websites designed to help you discover better rates.

2. Buy Travel-Sized Items in Advance to Avoid Worrying About TSA Rules

Search for “travel” on a website like Ulta to uncover products like this “Travel Size Bed Head Hard Head Hairspray” to load up on properly sized toiletries that you won’t have to pour out or throw away at the TSA checkpoint if you’d like to pack them in your carry-on bag.

3. Use the Family Room in the Club Lounges to Watch TV and Use Wi-Fi

If you’re a frequent traveler with children who likes to arrive at airports early, the family rooms within lounges like the United Club lounge can be worth their weight in gold. Not only can Mom and Dad grab a glass of wine and help the whole family to fruit, hot chocolate, and other snacks, they can take those goodies back to a private family room that includes a TV, DVDs, Wi-Fi and more. It can make a big difference in calming down the clan prior to a long flight.

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4. Update Yourself on the Newest Items Designed to Make Travel Easier

Manufacturers are coming up with new products all the time to help travelers lighten their load. Whether it’s a strap to attach a car seat to rolling luggage or improved folding hair dryers to help you not over-pack, it pays to keep up with the latest inventions.

5. Get a TSA Pre-Check for Speedier Screening

Visit the TSA Pre-Check website to get through airports in the United States in a faster fashion.

6. Go for Global Entry for Faster International Travel

Use the Global Entry program when traveling internationally to experience expedited clearance back into America.

7. Check the “My TSA” App for Current Wait Times to Plan Your Trip

Pop on over to the My TSA app and place your airport information within the search box to discover that, for example, the Chicago-O’Hare International Airport currently has a security checkpoint wait time from one to 10 minutes, and general departure delays due to volume.

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8. Find the Best Seats on the Plane Before You Buy to Have a Better Flight

If you love legroom or sitting near a power outlet – yes, some planes have them and USB ports – use a site like Seat Guru to pick out your best spots before you book your flight.

9. Bring Booze in Your Checked or Carry-On Bags to Get the Party Started When You Land

Surprisingly, the TSA allows alcoholic beverages to be brought onboard flights, as long as you abide by their rules. The only trouble is, FAA rules mean you can’t drink any alcohol on the plane that’s not served by the airline, so you’ll have to wait until you land to celebrate.

10. Snap Photos of Your Parking Space to Help You Remember Where You Parked

Taking a quick series of photos with your smartphone to remind you that you parked in section D on level 3 of the airport parking lot can save you plenty of hassles when you return home from your trip and want to quickly find your vehicle.

11. Hydrate Inexpensively Before, During and After the Flight

“Bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after you get through security,” suggests Ben Mordecai, an automation controls engineer. While on the plane, drink orange juice and club soda to keep well hydrated.

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12. Move All Contents from Your Pockets to Your Carry-On Before Security to Prevent Delays

Instead of fumbling around with loose change, jewelry and belts, place all those items in your carry-on or purse prior to going through the security checkpoint to have fewer items that may cause the line to pause.

13. Ask the TSA for a “Hand Scan”

Inform security in advance if you have special health concerns, like an implanted defibrillator or any other physical conditions that necessitate not going through the magnetic scanner. They will direct you to the proper place.

14. Weigh Your Bags at Home to Prevent Extra Charges

Plop your packed suitcase on your scale at home and compare that weight to the limit imposed by your airline in order to avoid paying more fees.

15. Book a Private Jet to Avoid Commercial Flight Crowds

Apps like JetSmarter are being called the Uber of airlines. And although some flights are uber-expensive, others – like a flight to Arlington from Houston for eight people – cost only $365 per person.

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16. Secure Your Luggage with Trackers

Instead of just slapping a pretty bow on your bag to distinguish it from the other luggage in baggage claim, invest in advanced technology like Trakdot luggage tracker and crush-proof, locked bags to help avoid theft.

17. Bring Frozen Solids on the Plane to Keep Your Meds Cold

Don’t fret if you have medications or other health items that you need to keep cool while traveling. “Accessories required to keep medically necessary items cool are treated as liquids unless they are frozen solid at the checkpoint,” says TSA.gov.

18. Go to the Left Because Most Travelers Steer to the Right-Hand Checkpoints

Since most folks are right-handed, studies show that lots of people naturally veer to the right when choosing a security checkpoint line, leaving fewer people in line on the left.

19. Avoid High-Cost Airport Food and Pack Dry Snacks

As long as you don’t stuff your bag full of wet foods, you can place lots of good dry snacks like nuts or candy bars in your carry-on bag to prevent hunger headaches and overspending.

20. Take a Rest in the Chapel During Flight Delays

If you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful place to get away from the noise of busy airports during delays, hunt down the nearest chapel – but make sure to keep abreast of your flight changes whilst waiting.

Featured photo credit: CCAPix__11_.JPG By CCAYearbook via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

Effective vs Efficient

Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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  • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
  • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
  • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

Efficiency in Success and Productivity

Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

Bottom Line

Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

  • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
  • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
  • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

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Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
[2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
[3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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