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20 Airport Hacks to Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

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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.

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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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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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