These days, an airport can seem like that last place to get in and out of in a timely fashion. Security hold-ups due to waiting for grandpas shoes and belt to come off, check-in lines controlled by employees whose faces scream, “I don’t care if you make this flight or not, I’m going on break in 13 minutes”, or curbside traffic caused from families double parking in the middle lane so that one person can take all 7 suitcases out of the minivan by themselves. So long are the days of glamor when you could walk straight to the gate, be met with champagne, honey roasted peanuts, and the current Wall Street Journal. Rather in this “modern era”, before you leave the house you must decide which of your thickest socks to wear so that you have some protection against the germ buffet that is the 1970s worm out airport carpet at TSA and what coat you like the least that can provide you with some warmth but if it got stolen at the gate or accidently got covered in gum, you wouldn’t be heartbroken. Sounds like a nightmare you say? Well it is, but let me tell you my friends, The Swagologist has another way.
Given this JetSwaggers’ palpable distinction of being a master traveler, I consider myself to be a professional when it comes to getting from point A to point B. From packing, to maneuvering around crowded terminals, I will share with you the learning lessons many novice flyers are not equipped with so that you too can learn how to circumnavigate from the curb to the gate. By sharing my experiences mixed with some always necessary Swagology, you, the reader, will learn how to move in and out of the airport swiftly and efficiently. After all, the faster I get to my plane, the faster you get to yours and everyone is happy.
Pack light. Sounds obvious you say? “Well listen up!” is what I will respond back with!! Next time you are stuffing your suitcase with what I like to call, “just in cases”, think again. Do you really need that? The answer is always, NO YOU DON’T!! If Indiana Jones, whom I regard as the Godfather of Travelers went halfway around the world in search of the Holy Grail and only brought a little Satchel with him, why do YOU really need to bring that extra pair of shoes or unnecessary gigantic parka? At the end of the day, your astute packing will not only save you the headache of carrying dead weight, but will come back to reward your bank account. These days, with airline cost-cutting and hidden fees, packing light has never been more important. You get over fifty pounds of “just in cases”, you have to pay for. For starters, pack what you realistically need. Visualize your trip on a day to day basis and from there, pick and choose your outfits based on need, not excess. A good rule of thumb to go by which I live my life according to is that for a larger suitcase, reserve light items for yourself. For a smaller suitcase, pack the heavier objects. Books and shoes go to the small suitcases, while French cuffed shirts and tailored suits go to the larger suitcases.
At the end of the day you have to practice common sense when you pack. Things like matches, scissors, and pocket knives in your carry on will just be a hassle for you and reward you with additional security screening and wasted time. Even worse, you will probably have to forfeit these prided possessions and all will have been for nothing.
Lastly, a true Swagologist practices organization. So be neat and orderly when you pack your belongings together. Along those lines, always, and I mean ALWAYS, have extra space. For true Swagger is not practiced when you are in front of many, but when no one is paying attention. Because my friends as we all know, you just never know what sweet gear awaits you on the other side of your trip.
In a perfect world, your Samsonite is sitting on the conveyor belt, touring the insides of Airport and eventually makes its way to the plane. Where may I ad, it is softly and carefully placed so that nothing happens to the contents inside. Once you land, an Airline representative hand delivers it to the luggage claim where you are once again reunited with your belongings.
NOT!!! It’s more like, when the four foot eleven sixty six year old grandmother of seven gives you the boarding pass at the check in gate, you quickly learn she used to be an Olympic javelin competitor as she hurls your suitcase and everything in it over five feet where it crashes on its side and finally lands upside down. Once behind closed doors that’s where the fun begins. You can only hope you see your things again as you wonder, “is my suitcase going to meet me in Los Angeles or end up somehow in Mobil, Alabama”? Say you are lucky and the suitcase makes your plane, well then it ends up on the bottom half of four hundred and fifty pounds of everyone else’s goodies, as your carefully packed things turn into carefully placed pancakes. Finally at the claim when you are reunited with your things, you see rolling down the steal carousel, a figment of what you remember to be your suitcase, only now it is battered up like a running back come Monday morning.
My point in this tirade is that by managing to carry on all of your things, you will regularly save thirty to ninety minutes when all is said and done. You should always try and purchase luggage that was created to specifically fit in the overhead compartments. In the event where you need to bring a suitcase, always make sure it has an extendable handle and wheels at the bare minimum.
Above all, make sure you dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Always check your flight status on the day of your travels. These days, flights change departure times like a girl (or the swagologist) changes clothes. This will help you ensure you are not wasting your time for hours at the airport when you could be doing so much more elsewhere. More than that, it helps when you buy or schedule your travels, try and do it outside of normal airport peak times. For example, Monday mornings and Friday/Sunday evenings look more like the 405 in rush hour. Why subject yourself to that if you don’t have to. Plus, tickets on Tuesday and Thursday are usually at a higher discount anyway (some food for thought for my loyal Swag followers). When all is said and done, the difference in atmosphere at an airport on Monday morning compared to a Tuesday evening, is as different as 2 and a half men with Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher. In other words, one is much less fun to be caught up in.
After 9/11, security has been tighter than the jeans I’m currently wearing. I personally am all for it. I rather wait longer and have peace of mind anyway. So in this area, there isn’t a whole lot of room for improvement, but as we know every minute counts. For starters, have your ID ready to go, wear shoes that slip on and off, and be prepared to lay out your computer and camera in a separate bin. Not having to be told to do this helps expedite you through the line and gets you to your gate THAT much faster. Plus, you show your outward Swagger when you are not rushed and stressed.
Well my friends, it has been real. Now that you are up to speed, I wish you a time-reduced traveling experience full of peace and tranquility. Change can sometimes be hard to do, but after reading my lessons from real life experience, I can guarantee you that these are changes you are going to want to make. PEACE!!!