Don’t be a passenger be a traveler!
Many of you are probably confused or saying to yourself, aren’t they the same? They definitely are not. Of course when we first started traveling we were all passengers. But some remained passengers while others elevated to traveler status. A passenger isn’t necessarily someone who doesn’t travel a lot. A passenger is someone who simply has no idea what’s going on.
Let’s break it down. When you first arrive at the airport you have to know where you’re going. A lot of you may laugh and say that’s obvious, but believe me half the people that enter the airport have no idea where they’re flying to, where they’re connecting or what airline they’re flying with. So I’m here to give you a little help to becoming the best traveler you can be.
1. Know what airport you’re departing from. This is mainly for the people flying from New York if you are not familiar with NYC. Here’s the thing, people seem to think that Newark airport is actually in New York. This is wrong. And this is partly due to the fact that when you do land at Newark the flight attendants announce welcome to New York. Newark airport is in New Jersey. Just an FYI the drive from Newark to LGA with no traffic is about 1 hour.
2. Be aware of the type of ticket you are purchasing. If you know you need to carry your bag on the aircraft it’s not always best to purchase the cheapest ticket. Most of the times the cheapest ticket has a lot of restrictions. No carry on bags, no picking of seats, no seat changes and no upgrades. If you’re a simple traveler and you don’t require any of these things, then by all means go ahead and click on confirm. But if you’re like me and you need an aisle seat and you must carry your bag on then pay the extra couple of dollars and purchase a regular ticket.
3. Travel light. Ladies I know this may be hard for y’all but traveling lite comes with it’s advantages. Oh and when I say travel lite I mean just a carry on, no checked bags. Let’s say you get to the airport early and there’s an earlier flight. You can always go standby or confirmed on that flight for a fee. And this is easier if you don’t have a checked bag so that way you don’t have to worry about your luggage. This also comes in handy when there are delays and the airline wants to move you to another flight. The first question they always ask is did you check bags. And don’t get me wrong checking bags isn’t a bad thing, but let me give you an example. There are delays in Chicago and your flight is delayed by two hours but there is a flight leaving in 20 minutes. With no checked luggage you can easily be moved to that flight. Unfortunately if you checked luggage, there isn’t enough time to move your bags. And I know you’re saying I don’t need to go with my bag. But it’s a federal regulation that your bag must travel with you. So if you can just pack lite.
4. If you’re traveling international, it’s always good to have a print out of your itinerary. Some airports don’t have wifi🙄 so you would be unable to pull it up on your phone. Or you can always screenshot it. One thing I like to do is open up the email with the itinerary on my phone before I fly out, so that way if there’s no internet connection I will still be able to pull it up because the email was previously downloaded.
5. Try to book hotels that provide airport shuttles either for free or for a small fee. I say this especially for people who arrive around midnight, 1am or if you’re traveling solo. I remember traveling to Cancun by myself and the flight arrived at 1am. I ended up taking a cab but in the back of my head I kept thinking is he taking me the right way, will my body parts be harvested etc. Once I safely arrived at the hotel I found out that they do provide transportation to the airport for a fee. So ever since then that’s one of the main priorities when choosing a hotel along with wifi. Lol I won’t stay there if there’s no free wifi.
6. Download the airline app that you normally fly with (even if it’s just for that one flight) and make sure you sign up for notifications. You will be notified if the flight is delayed or if the gate has changed. I know you’re thinking that it’s taking up more space on your phone. Luckily for Android users(sorry apple) some apps can be moved to the memory card. That way it doesn’t take up space on your phone. I honestly download every airline that I fly with if I’m taking a trip.
7. Let’s talk about this carry on luggage regulation. Yes you are allowed to carry on luggage but here’s the thing. DON’T OVERLOAD your bag to the point where it’s about to pop open. Please believe that you will be checking that bag. What most people don’t understand is that the overhead bins are designed for a certain size luggage. And if your bag is overstuffed and you put it in that bin and it breaks, guess what, that flight will either be delayed or cancel. Don’t be that passenger that argues with the agent, especially if you know your bag is overstuffed. And if it doesn’t fit in the sizer it will get checked. Only pack what you need. Oh and also you’re only allowed TWO carry on items. A personal(a purse, laptop bag, etc) and a roller. Please keep that in mind.
8. Almost done. Lol. Sign up for rewards. Whether it’s with an airline or a hotel. Delta, United, JetBlue etc. You can earn miles when you travel and also these airlines are partners with other airlines. So when you’re booking a flight, that little drop down box that says frequent flyer number click on it and add it. I booked a flight with Oman air and they were affiliated with Delta, so I signed up for delta skymiles. Also I use booking.com alot to book my hotels so of course I signed up. Now I’m a booking genius, which entitles me to early check in(which is a life saver), extra discounts off of hotels and more. And also when you sign up for these rewards you don’t have to click the box that says send me annoying emails every day every minute from your company. Simply leave that box unchecked and proceed. You won’t regret it. Just remember to either screen shot all your rewards numbers. I’m still looking for an app that will store that information. Once I find one I will update this blog.
9. If you know you will be doing a lot of traveling internationally then I highly recommend getting Global entry. When I applied for it and got approved I used American Express to pay for it and they issued me a credit for the fee. So basically the Global Entry was free. Just check with your credit card company to see if they offer something similar. Also Global Entry gives you TSA pre for every trip to help you get through security faster.
10. The most important tip of all is if you’re asking for something BE NICE. No one wants to honor whatever it is you’re asking for if you have a nasty attitude. A hello and a smile can go a long way!