Category Archives: Up in the Air

Pros and Cons of Carry-on vs. Checked Baggage

airportgroundtransportationFactors to Consider Before Packing for Your Next Flight

Most travellers I know aim to travel with just carry-on baggage but most often end up checking their bags because it takes far too much time and effort to pack smart and efficiently. Most of us pack far too many clothes than we will ever need because doing so requires much less thought when packing. Just throw everything in that suitcase and don’t worry about it right?

Although there may be several benefits to travelling with just carry-on, in my personal experience it may not always be the best choice.  In fact, it may end up causing you more headaches throughout your journey.  Before I divulge why it may be less convenient to not check a bag, lets explore some of the benefits to travelling with carry-on alone:

Pros of Travelling With Only Carry-On Baggage:

No extra baggage fees


The typical airline charges $25US per checked bag and up to well over $100 for bags that are overweight.  By keeping your personal articles to a minimum, you can save up to over $200 per return flight. Recently however, due to long TSA wait lines, some airlines are dropping baggage fees in order to expedite the security wait times.

Save Time by Avoiding Baggage Drop-off Lines and Waiting to Collect Your Baggage at Your Destination

Businesswoman walking with luggage in airport baggage claim area, rear view (tilt)If you are checking a bag, be prepared to add at least 1 hour minimum to your transit time.  Instead of simply printing off your boarding pass and proceeding through security, you will have to tag your bag and line up to drop off your bag. This process alone can take an hour so if you are planning on checking a bag, be sure to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights in order to ensure you have enough time to drop off your bag and go through security.

Furthermore, when you arrive at your destination, typically you will have to wait an additional 20-30 minutes for your bag to be available for pick-up at the baggage claim carousel. For international travellers, this wait may be even longer given that customs agents may be searching your bags prior to putting them on the carousel.  What better things could you be doing in those 20 minutes? Be at your hotel, sipping on a nice glass of chardonnay? Sign me up!

No Worrying About Lost Baggage

lost baggageI don’t know about you but every time I’m waiting at the baggage claim, I always fret over the fact that my bag might not make it.  I neurotically think of what time I checked-in for my flight and what order my bag should be in as it was loaded and unloaded on the plane.  Fortunately, I have not ever had one of my bags lost but one time I had to wait almost 3 hours after returning on a flight that arrived at midnight.  I was not a happy camper by the time I claimed my bag at 3am but nonetheless, I was pleased that I did get my bag!

Save Money at Your Destination

suitcasefull It’s quite simple: if you have limited or no space in your bag to put anything else in it, you don’t have the option to buy things and bring them home, well unless you buy another bag!

 

 

Cons of Travelling with Only Carry-On Baggage:

Not All “Carry-on Approved” Bags Will Fit in Overhead Bins 

Can't fit much more than a laptop case in this bin!

Can’t fit much more than a laptop case in this bin!

Ever go to a luggage shop and see luggage labelled as “Carry-On Approved Luggage”?  Or even try out the airline’s “Carry-on Approved Luggage Sizes” bins at the airport?  Well sorry to disappoint, all that is meaningless and rather completely dependent on the type of aircraft you will be flying on.  Each aircraft has VERY different overhead bin storage space and there are some aircraft such as the dash series which won’t fit much more than a laptop case!

 

IMG_20160505_200803Travel Tip: I always travel with an extra small bag/purse within my larger carry-on which contains all of my electronic devices (cell phone, chargers, etc).  Note the small purse in the left of this photo which I store in my larger carry-on below.  This way if you are on a small aircraft where your bag won’t fit and you have to use the sky-check service, you can quickly remove any articles which cannot be checked (i.e. anything containing a lithium ion battery).

 

Additional Scrutiny at Customs Checkpoints

customs nothing to declare

As I mentioned previously, if you are just travelling with carry-on, you have limited space in which to place any additional articles which ultimately limits you in terms of what you can purchase throughout your travels.  Several times, well more often than not, I travel with only carry-on and do not purchase any items while abroad and therefore have nothing to declare at customs.  Apparently this must be some sort of red flag or perhaps a red flag only because I am a female and I should be bringing multiple bags and shopping everywhere I go? I have wound up in secondary screening almost every time I travel with carry-on only and have nothing to declare. Being subject to secondary screening is time consuming and anything but fun.  At minimum, it may add 1 hour to your journey and if you have been travelling for a long time, this is the last thing you want to have to go through! As a side note, if you are travelling internationally, ALWAYS DECLARE EVERYTHING HONESTLY and IF IN DOUBT, DECLARE IT! Not properly declaring items is a serious offense!

Limited Quantity of Items (Liquids and gels, clothing, shoes etc.) 

liquids and gels

This is probably the biggest challenge for most travellers; Being able to pack all of your necessities in such a way that it meets carry-on requirements.  Liquids and gels are limited to a maximum of 1L total comprising of bottles that contain a maximum of 100 ML each and that is very difficult to do, especially if travelling for more than a few days at a time.  Clothing can be packed minimally especially if your hotel has laundry facilities but shoes however cannot.  If you are planning on travelling with just carry-on, I recommend wearing all of your bulkiest items (boots, jacket, etc.) during transit.

In reading this, I hope that my points will better prepare you for your next trip.

Looking for tips on how to travel more efficiently? Contact me at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com

Safe travels my friends!

TSW

 

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My Top 10 Airline Travel Fails

woman_embarassedTravelling isn’t easy.  Even if you are a frequent traveller like myself, it is almost inevitable that at some point you will experience some sort of hiccup along the way.  It may be a delayed, a cancelled flight or something else totally ridiculous entirely.

Below is a list of my top “fails” when travelling by air.

10. First Time “Priority” Status, Last One to Board Plane

aircanadapriorityboardingThe first time I was granted priority status, I was so excited.  I would get on the plane first and relax knowing I wouldn’t have to struggle to find overhead space for my carry-on baggage, however that isn’t what happened at all.  I was flying to Toronto from Orlando and what I clearly didn’t consider the fact was that EVERYONE BUT ME was travelling with small children and at that time the airline’s policy was that individuals with disabilities and families with small children under the age of 6 board first.  So, being the only solo traveller, I ended up being last to board the plane.

9. Dropping Documents While Approaching Customs

womanholdingpassportdocsAs I was approaching the customs kiosk, I was fumbling with my documents trying to put my boarding pass and declaration sheet into the photo page of my passport when I dropped it all.  “Apparently” this makes you look suspicious and will pretty much guarantee you will end up in secondary screening. I obviously never did anything wrong besides accidentally drop my documents but from then on, whenever I have completed my customs declaration on the plane, I make sure to have everything organized together in my purse so that I don’t have to fumble with my documents last minute.

8. Driving the Wrong Way to Return my Rental Car

rentalcarreturnsIt was 4:30 or 5am and I was trying to return my rental car to the airport.  I missed the entrance to the rental car return area and drove into the next driveway which was barricaded and there was no exit other than to turn around and drive the wrong way. So, I did just that.  In order to get back to the main ring road I had to drive the wrong way and hope no other idiot like myself was making that very same mistake and would drive into me.  Fortunately, there was not another car in sight the entire time.  Pfewf!

7. “Buzzing” Carry-on Baggage

Baggage Screening_2.ashxUpon removing my liquids and gels from my carry-on baggage and placing it on the conveyor belt for X-Ray scanning at airport security, the TSA agents all gathered around the X-ray machine. I passed through the metal detector and they all gathered around my bag and asked me if it was mine.  When I saw it, I immediately knew what was drawing all of the attention- my bag was vibrating! And no, it’s not what you think! I had packed an electric toothbrush and it had accidentally been turned on as I put my bag on the conveyor belt.  Once they opened my bag, they all got a good laugh.  I think some of them were disappointed that it wasn’t something else.  Ever since then, I just pack a regular manual toothbrush!

6. Suitcase Goes on Wrong Plane

-While I was sitting at my gate, I was watching the baggage being loaded onto the plane at the neighboring gate and I noticed, that one of those bags was MY bag! I had a very unique bag so it was surely not to be confused with another and this plane was most definitely not my plane.  I ran up to the gate agent for that flight and alerted her immediately.  She initially assured me that it was fine but apparently second guessing herself, she made a call down to the baggage handlers and discovered that the wrong bags were in fact being loaded onto that plane! Fortunately, the ground crew was able to remove them in time and everyone on my flight all got their bags.

5. Broken Suitcase

stuckhandleNaturally, just as I approach the baggage drop kiosk, the handle on my suitcase refuses to go down. Talk about last minute stress! Since it is not possible to check a bag if the handle is locked in the open position, I had to get out of line and since I didn’t have the time to buy a new suitcase and figure out if all of my things would fit, I opted to take everything out of my suitcase, tear it apart and was able to locate the part that was jammed. Using a toothpick, I was able to temporarily fix the jam and lock the handle in the closed position so that the bag could be checked.  Throughout my trip, I didn’t mess with the handle but rather waited until I got home to purchase a new suitcase.  Dragging a 55lb suitcase with no handle in addition to a large briefcase and purse is no simple task!

4. Time for a “Quick” Cigarette Between Connections?

DEN security lineupWhen I was in DEN and had a 2-hour stop-over and I figured that this was more than sufficient time to go outside to have a cigarette, come back in through security and get to my gate but I was wrong! What I didn’t realize was that the ONLY way in and out of that airport is through a single entrance and that there are no exits in the individual terminals or concourses. It didn’t take me very long to exit the building, maybe 20 minutes or so but when I got back I realized there was ONLY ONE SECURITY CHECKPOINT for the entire airport and it was PACKED! I had my NEXUS pass but at that time the US airports only acknowledged that for international travel and I was travelling domestically.  Luckily, one of the agents let me into that line and I just made the last call to board my flight.

3.Leaving Valuables on the Plane

ipadonplaneI hate to admit that I have done this not once but twice and both times I forgot my items in the seat pocket in in front of me. The first time was my driver’s license. I had it tucked into my boarding pass and as I was getting seated, I placed it in the seat pocket in front of me and simply forgot about it.  It wasn’t until a month later when I got carded that I realized I had misplaced it.  The second time I forgot my iPad on the plane.  I was travelling for almost 24 hours and same thing, placed it in the seat pocket in front of me, fell asleep and forgot about it when deplaning.

2. Broken Shoe

sandalsRushing to make my connection, my sandal decided that it was the best time to fall apart and I mean fall apart in pieces (worse than in this photo-all the straps broke at the same time) . That day luck was on my side as I happened to have an extra pair of sandals in my carry-on so at least I didn’t have to run through the airport barefoot!

 

1. Asleep at the Gate

ManSleepingAtAirportI have never done this but a friend of mine did and I think this deserves the #1 spot.  He fell asleep at the gate while listening to his headphones and well, needless to say, he missed his flight. Ooops! The same thing happened other day when I was flying home when I couldn’t help but notice that the passenger behind me was asleep at the gate snoring like a madman and would not budge.  Take this as a warning folks, save the nap for when you’re ON the plane and if you can’t do that, be sure to set an alarm on your phone to wake you up at the boarding time indicated on your boarding pass.

To date, these are my top airline travel blunders and I’m sure there will be many, many more to come.   I would love to hear your stories, so please comment and share!

Happy travels my friends.

Cheers,

TSW

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Unusual Reason You Can Be Denied Boarding a Flight

gateagent

It is with great sadness that one of my loved ones was unable to make it back home to Canada for Christmas.

Why was he unable to?

Because he was denied boarding. 

Why was he denied boarding?

Not because the flight was overbooked.

Not because the flight was cancelled.

Not because he didn’t have a seat.

Not because he was drunk and unruly.

Not because he was on the no-fly list or any other obvious reason.

DamagedPassport

He was denied because his passport was damaged.

Most of us take good care of our important documents but we are only human and it is so easy to have an accident and damage those documents.  Unfortunately most of us don’t even realize what small “damage” to a passport can cause you to be denied boarding a flight and hence the reason I am writing this post. The worst part is, in Canada if you have to replace a damaged passport, you must complete a comprehensive general application and will not be able to simply renew it and this process can take weeks if not longer.

According to the Canadian Passport Office a passport is considered damaged if it:

  • impedes the identification of the holder;
  • appears to have been altered or falsified; or
  • could potentially cause problems or has been denied by an airline or at a point of entry due to perceived damage.

Examples of damage to a passport:

  • has been exposed to water or humidity
  • has a tear in one or more pages
  • contains unauthorized markings
  • the information and/or photo have been altered or made less identifiable
  • pages have been removed or torn out
  • the cover and inside pages have come apart
  • has been chewed by a child or pet
  • other forms of damage that are not listed here

A few years ago when I was in Grenada, I was almost denied boarding a flight back to Toronto because of my passport photo.

The officer looked at my passport then looked at me and asked, “Where is your beauty mark?”

I told him I didn’t have one to which he replied, “You have a beauty mark in your passport photo.  Come with me please.”

Wow! Was I ever sweating!! My heart sank right into my stomach because I had no idea what he was talking about.

I was taken into an interrogation room for a more detailed search of my belongings and asked many questions.

Fortunately they let me have a look at my passport so I could see what they were talking about…

PassportPhoto

As it turned out when I was entering Grenada, the officer stamping my passport accidentally put pen marks on my passport photo page AND on my face in my photo! Fortunately, the pen mark was in blue, there were multiple other pen marks on the page and I had several other pieces of photo ID so they let me pass.

I was sure to renew my passport well in advance of my next trip because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck anywhere again over something so silly.

There are a multitude of reasons that a traveller may be refused boarding or entry/exit into a country but don’t be one of those people.  Be sure to add “check the condition of your passport “ to your pre-travel checklist and do this well in advance of travelling.  If you are unsure about the condition of your passport, visit a local passport office or contact your airline.

Safe travels my friends. I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season without hiccups such as these.

Cheers,

TSW

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Dating a Frequent Traveller: How to Make it Work

TagAlongTravelAn interview with Deborah Zanke, spouse of a frequent traveller and author of the Tag Along Travel Blog.

Being a frequent traveller, I know all too well what it is like to date someone who does not travel for work which I discussed in my previous post “ Love and Romance En Route: The Unique Challenges Frequent Travellers Face in Dating and Relationships.”

In my experience, I have always preferred to date fellow salesmen or men who are frequent travellers because they inherently understand business travel and do not have a problem with me going away for extensive periods of time for work and vice versa.  My last relationship with a non-traveller proved disastrous.  He was completely insecure and became so jealous and suspicious of my every move because he just didn’t get it.  He turned into a complete control freak.   If I didn’t respond to every text or phone call, he thought I was cheating on him which was never the case.  I was just busy, working.  I didn’t have the time or patience to deal with this type of behavior and annoying false accusations and hence why the relationship ended.  Based on my experiences, I was sure that romantic relationships where both partners travel for work was the only way it could work, but I have been proven wrong. As  it turns out, dating insecure and emotionally unstable people makes it impossible.

So I digress…

I recently met Deborah Zanke, the owner of a Marketing and Public Relations Firm and author of the Tag Along Travel BlogIn her blog, she discusses the ups and downs of being married to a frequent traveller and her experience tagging along on his business trips.  Her spouse of 20 years only recently embarked on a new career that involved a significant amount of travel and that change she says, required a significant amount of adjusting on her part.

Debora’s husband is away on business travel nearly 40% of the time.  In the past year alone, he has travelled on over 100 flights in 11 countries.

What are the biggest challenges of being the spouse of a frequent traveller?

Deborah admits that it took her time to get used to him being away.  Initially he would be away on business for up to 3 weeks at a time and logistically it wasn’t possible for him to come back home on weekends which created tension in their relationship.  He then moved to a different position where he is only away for usually 1 week at a time at most but nonetheless, still travelling for a significant amount of time.

Other challenges of being the spouse of being a frequent traveller  Deborah says are coping while they are apart, missing each other, dealing with things that go wrong while he is away (condo repairs, car troubles, etc.) and being out of synch when he returns.  When reunited, may they be adjusted to different time zones and set in different routines.

How did she overcome these challenges?

In order to adjust to her husband being away so frequently, Deborah realized that she had to be more independent.

A huge perk of Deborah’s business is that she can work remotely which means it’s possible for her to accompany her husband on business trips.   When she does this, while her husband is working she works on her own business during the same business hours as her hometown and spends the rest of her time essentially travelling solo.  She describes a recent business trip of her husband’s to London which she tagged along on. During the day while he was in meetings, she would go sight-seeing and dine alone and if he was working in the evening, she would work on her own business at night since it was still regular business hours back at home.  Occasionally she would accompany him on business dinners but that was not commonplace.

The key to their success is that there is a mutual understanding that if she tags along on one of his business trips that his business is the priority of the trip.  She has the strength and independence to essentially go on the trip as a solo traveller and not interfere with his business.  She enjoys being able to take advantage of his super elite status, hotel upgrades and the opportunity to explore new places that she otherwise never would have even thought of.

When she isn’t able to tag along on one of her husband’s business trips, they maintain their intimacy by communicating regularly by text message, skype and facetime.  They even had the great idea to do a “virtual date” whereby they watch a movie and order pizza together over Skype.  Such a great idea!

Overall, in speaking with Deborah, I have learned that although it may not be easy at first, it is possible for a non-traveller to have a healthy, loving and fulfilling relationship with a frequent traveller which she achieves by being:

  1. Self-confident and secure
  2. Not afraid to travel solo
  3. The owner of her own business and one that can be done remotely
  4. Comfortable making the best of her time alone when at home, enjoying things such as binging on Netflix
  5. Understanding that her husband’s business is a priority while he is on business travel and doesn’t try to interfere
  6. Able to find unique ways to communicate and maintain intimacy from a distance

So fellow frequent travellers, there remains hope for maintaining a romantic relationship with a significant other who does not travel frequently for work.  And for all of you who are on the other end of the spectrum and are dating a frequent traveller, be sure to read the Tag Along Travel Blog or follow Deb on Twitter  for tips on innovative ways you can best utilize your time together and apart and make it work.

Safe travels my friends and good luck in love.

Cheers,

TSW

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Tips on How to Fly Through Airport Security: A Step-by-Step Guide

AirportSecurityGuards

Now that summer has officially ended, it’s the perfect time to start planning your next vacation or plan that next work trip. After all, flight prices are historically the lowest in the month of September.

If you’re flying somewhere, I’m sure you’re like most people who absolutely dread the thought of passing through airport security screening. It can be a timely and intimidating process.

What aggravates me the most is that although the process is quite simple, so many people are completely clueless or just pretend to be ignorant of the rules and cause unnecessary delay and headaches for everyone else because they are unprepared!

In this article, I will provide some useful tips and tricks of the trade that will help you better prepare for your next flight so that you (and your fellow travellers) can breeze through airport security.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL:

Trusted-traveler-logos

  1. Enlist in a Trusted Traveller Program. These passes enable you to bypass regular line-ups because you have been pre-screened.  It is quite a process to get one of these cards but trust me, it’s worth the 2 hours of interviews and the $50 even if it is just to save yourself sitting in line waiting for 2 hours on a single flight! My Nexus pass is the best investment I have ever made. To learn which would be the best for your travel needs and how to apply, visit US Customs and Border Protection Website.
  1. Invest an Airport Lounge Pass (if you fly more than 3 times per year). Airports are expensive places to be held captive.  One time I had the “cheapest glass of wine” at an airport bar in SFO which was $27 before tax and tip! Yikes! If you’re stuck only a few times per year for a few hours at a time, it is definitely worthwhile to invest one of these lounge passes because for whatever you pay for that pass, you will get your money’s worth in food and drink that you won’t be buying at airport prices like a sucker. If you travel frequently, you come out well ahead!
  1. Visit Your Local Travel Health Clinic (Foreign Travel Only). Some countries have endemic diseases for which you will require vaccination before you travel. More exotic countries require several vaccinations that require 2-3 boosters that are to be administered weeks apart and you must have all of them in order to be fully immune.

BEFORE YOU GO TO THE AIRPORT:

TravelDocsBe sure to bring the following items with you:

  1. Photo ID (Passport, Trusted Traveller Program Card, Driver’s License)
  2. Printed Copies of Your Itinerary (Boarding Pass, Copy of Hotel and Rental Car Reservations). You never know when you will lose wifi access, if your phone battery will die or if you lose your phone all together!
  3. Wallet (Credit Cards, Cash)
  4. Liquids and Gels Separated in a Clear Plastic Bag that is Easy to Remove from your Carry-on
  5. Phone, charger and other electronics stowed in your carry-on. Any device containing a lithium ion battery is considered a dangerous good and cannot be checked. You will also likely need to charge your devices in the event that you did not do so prior.
  6. Pens (for Customs documents if required)
  7. Ziploc Bag (or a jacket with a pocket that zips up)

BEFORE YOU GO THROUGH SECURITY:

Frustrated Punk Woman Waiting at Airport Security

Frustrated Woman Waiting at Airport Security

To save time and aggravation (for you and other travellers!) before you even line up at the security gate, step aside, sit down somewhere comfortably and remove the following items in ADVANCE.

  • Belt- Remove it and put it in your carry-on
  • Jewellery-Take all of it off and store it in a Ziploc bag or in a pocket that you can secure with a zipper and store safely and securely
  • Loose change– Keep it in a jacket pocket which zips up (you will have to remove your jacket anyway) or stow it in a change purse that you can stow in your carry-on
  • Make sure that you can easily remove/have access to your:
    • Laptop computer
    • Liquids and gels (stored in a clear Ziploc bag)

You WILL have to remove these from you carry-on at the check point, so if you ensure that these are all easily accessible and can be easily put back into your luggage so you don’t struggle with them and cause any unnecessary delay.

  • Empty your water bottle if you will be bringing it with you through security. It sure is better than tossing it in the garbage and paying $7 for a new one after security.
  • Boarding Pass (last)– Once you have all of your other things in order, keep your boarding pass tight in hand. Do NOT store it in your suitcase! I can’t count the number of times I have seen people do this!!

AT THE SECURITY CHECKPOINT

AirportSecurityScanning

Assuming you took my advice and followed all of the aforementioned,  there isn’t much to stress about doing at the security checkpoint itself.  Whatever you do, do NOT think that you can save time and get through quicker if you “forget to remove these items” because that will NEVER happen!  Keep in mind that as you approach the metal detector, you will be instructed to remove these items. If your bags already went through the x-ray machine, then you will be interrupting everyone else behind you. So be a good passenger and remove these items for screening in the x-ray machine:

  • Shoes with a heel or thick sole (pumps, running shoes, boots, etc.) Pretty much anything except flip flops. Try taking them off while you are waiting in line to save time.  They need to be in their own bin and its best if they are the first of your items to go through the scanner because they will be the first ones out of the scanner after you pass through.
  • Outer wear: Coats, sweaters, jackets, hats, sunglasses
  • Laptop computers and other large electronic devices
  • Liquids and gels

AFTER AIRPORT SECURITY

finnair-lounge-helsinki-airport

Make sure you know where your gate is and go to the airport lounge, sit back, relax and enjoy all the “free” food and drink you can until 30 minutes prior to boarding.

I hope some of you less frequent flyers find this information helpful.  If I can only save a handful of you, I feel like I’m making a difference.

Safe travels my friends.

Cheers,

TSW

 

 

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Air Canada Carry-on Baggage Enforcement: Great But Not 100% Effective

In late May of this year, Air Canada announced that they will begin to enforce the carry-on baggage allowance at major airports across Canada. Last week, I travelled on Air Canada and experienced this process first hand.  I must say, I was quite impressed.

At check-in, Air Canada had several staff members approaching everyone at check-in to assess their carry-on baggage, measuring it if required and then affixing a “Carry-On Approved” sticker as shown.

CarryOnApprovedCloseup

Upon my arrival at the gate, I was pleasantly surprised to see how the majority of travellers had appropriately sized carry-on luggage.

AppropriateCarryOn

This was a dramatic improvement over all of my previous flying experiences, especially after Air Canada introduced their policy to charge a $25 fee for the first checked bag. When they implemented that policy, almost everyone had 3 bags and usually one of them was oversized.  This is extremely aggravating for us business travelers who generally speaking have appropriately sized carry-on that cannot be checked.  I used to dread the boarding process, looking at all of the other travelers with all of their huge bags and stressing out over if I will have room for mine.  To get around this, I would always book a seat near the rear of the aircraft so that I would board first and if the overhead bins above my seat were already full, I could stow my briefcase in any bin in front of my seat. 

In spite of Air Canada’s efforts to enforce their carry-on policy, there were a handful of passengers who slipped through the cracks like this lady in the photo below.

CarryOnCow

From her bag tags, I could see she was a frequent traveler so there is no excuse.  While boarding the aircraft in single file, she even had the nerve to push me aside and bud in front of me!  Now that most certainly isn’t frequent flyer etiquette!

After boarding was complete, the flight attendants announced that the overhead bins were full and asked some passengers to volunteer checking their bags.  I’m still not sure exactly how this happened since >90% of the passengers had appropriate carry-on.  However, I suppose all it takes are a few Carry-on Cows like that woman to slip through the cracks and disrupt the system.  In the end our flight was delayed approximately 20 minutes as the flight attendants tried to find passengers who were willing to check their bags.

So overall, the enforcement process was great not but entirely effective.  In my opinion, I think that it would be much more effective if at the security checkpoint, all carry-on bags should be double-checked to make sure that they have the “Carry-On Approved” tag and passengers who have more than 2 bags, should not be permitted to go through security.

Safe travels my friends and don’t be shy to speak-up to those Carry-on Cows!

TSW

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Pack Your Carry-on Luggage Appropriately or Risk Not Flying at All

If you’re travelling for business and your briefcase containing all of your portable electronic devices doesn’t conform to your airline’s carry-on standards, you can forget that business trip!

In this post I will provide some general airline travel tips and provide suggestions on what types of baggage you should travel with and the contents each baggage type should contain.

How many times have you packed for a trip only to end up using half if not less of what you packed?  We have all done it at some point.  As we become more seasoned travellers, we learn how to pack more wisely.  In the US, more and more people are travelling (see infographic from Hudson News below), and most of whom (I say from experience), do not know how to pack appropriately.  Now, airlines are beginning to crack down on these passengers and you need to be prepared for it the next time you fly.

BusinessTravelInfographic

Last week Air Canada announced that they will begin strictly enforcing their carry-on allowance at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto effective this past Monday and they will begin doing so in other international airports across the country over the coming months.  This means that at all check-in and security check points, Air Canada will be checking passengers’ carry-on baggage to ensure that it meets their specifications.  If it does, each bag will be tagged with a “Carry-on Approved” tag.  If the bag does not meet the airline’s specifications, passengers will be required to check their bags before proceeding through security.

approved carryon bag tag

When I heard this news, I thought “This is great news! It’s about friggin’ time!!!”.  For those of you who read my article “The Top 10 Worst Airline Passengers I’ve Encountered”, you will recall me mentioning my frustration with the “Carry-on Cow”. You know, those passengers that have multiple and/or oversized bags and who naturally board the aircraft before you and then there is no room for your appropriately sized carry-on.  Or those who deliberately try to sneak on baggage that they know is oversized so that they can avoid the baggage check fees.  When this happens, the flight attendants then have to make arrangements to check their baggage and do that at no additional fee.  My neighbor who is a baggage handler for Air Canada informed me that this is the reason for 95% of flight delays.  That’s insane!!!  So I’m extremely relieved that Air Canada is taking the lead in doing this, especially because that is the airline I most frequently fly on.  I presume other airlines will follow suit shortly.

If you’re guilty of being one of those Carry-On Cows or just uncertain about the size of your carry-on bag, here are some helpful hints:

1. Research your airline’s baggage allowance policy BEFORE you PACK and plan what you will bring accordingly. You may have to buy new luggage.

TIP: Many companies sell bags with labels describing the bag as “carry-on size” when that is not the case at all.  Bring a measuring tape with you and measure the luggage dimensions before you buy!

2. Wear you bulkiest items (largest shoes/boots, coats etc) on the plane.

3. Leisure Travellers: As long as you have your PHOTO ID and CREDIT CARD EVERYTHING ELSE CAN BE REPLACED. If you try to pack everything as carry-on because you are afraid of the airline losing your luggage, you won’t be able to get away with this anymore. Either pack less or just commit to packing a checked bag and don’t put any real unreplaceable items in it.

4. Portable Electronic Devices Can NOT be CHECKED. This is because most of these devices (laptop, chargers, batteries, GPS, mobile power inverter, etc) contain lithium ion batteries which are classified as dangerous goods. Their improper storage on an aircraft may result in an explosion, fire or short circuit, all of which will not only destroy the device but may pose a flight hazard.

This can pose a dilemma for business travelers who usually must carry several if not all of these devices.  They take up half of my briefcase and they are items I cannot do my business trip without.   So if you don’t pack them appropriately in your carry-on, you won’t be able to check them and therefore won’t be able to board the aircraft for that important business trip.  Try explaining that to your boss!

To help you decide how to pack appropriately for your next trip, I have laid out my packing suggestions in the table below:

BaggageTable

What’s in my baggage?

Small Purse:

WhatsInMyPurse

  • Photo ID/Passport (You can’t board without it!)
  • Wallet (Relax– you can always buy whatever you forgot!)
  • Pens (Yes pens –If you are travelling internationally you will have to fill out customs immigration forms)
  • Cell Phone and charger
  • Travel documents (Yes I still keep paper copies of everything. After all you never know when your phone or tablet will die
  • iPad and charger
  • Personal articles such as liquids and gels (-moisturizer, hand sanitizer, lipstick, lighter), hair brush, gum, kleenex.

TIP: The best way to relieve pressure in your ears due to altitude changes is to blow your nose

Large Purse or Laptop Case (same dimensions):

  • Same as above except my laptop instead of iPAD (that’s just a toy!)
  • Small detail binder including literature

Small Carry-on:

IMG_1082

  • Chargers, adaptors
  • Camera
  • Clothes – only enough for my trip. It is OK to wear something more than once!
  • Toiletries (that are less than 100mL each and total no more than 1L) in a TSA-approved bag

Briefcase:

TIP: Be sure to use a hardside briefcase to prevent yourself from over-stuffing it and making it oversized!

samsonite

  • Laptop and charger
  • GPS, cable and mount
  • Phone charger (for wall and car)
  • iPod and aux cable
  • Power cord (most hotel rooms NEVER have enough outlets!)
  • Detail Binder
  • Literature (sell sheets)
  • Schedule/ Calendar for all of my appointments – Yes I’m old school! I prefer a paper back-up
  • Sales Reports (paper copies for handy reference)

Yes, believe it or not I squeeze all of this into my little briefcase!

TIP:  If it gets full, I either put some literature in my checked baggage or arrange to have it shipped to me at my destination.

Checked Baggage:

  • You can put anything in here, except something that you cannot replace (i.e. family heirloom etc) or that is very heavy as most airlines will charge you an additional $100 or more if your back is over 50lbs.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful for when you are preparing for your next trip be it for business or pleasure.  If you would like any more specific advice, please feel free to contact me at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com or provide your questions in the comment field below.

Safe travels my friends, and just as a reminder, don’t be that Cary-on Cow. You won’t get away with it for much longer and certainly not if you fly with Air Canada.

Cheers,

 

TSW

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Top 10 Worst Airline Passengers I’ve Ever Encountered

Upset businesswoman checking in at airport ticket counter

Why is it that when people travel, so many of them lose their manners?

Is it that flying makes people feel elite and gives them a sense of entitlement at the expense of others? Or is it the stress that wears people down so they become incapable of acting on their best behaviour?

For the most part people aren’t so bad.  However I sure have met a few gems over the course of my travels.   Even if you don’t travel often, you’ve probably met your fair share as well.

If you’re like me, I’m sure that whenever you get into your seat on an aircraft where the seat next to you is empty, you keep your fingers crossed hoping and praying that nobody will sit next to you. But just when you think you’re home free, that stand-by passenger who gets on the plane last minute rushes down the aisle in your general direction. You size him or her up as they approach, assessing other vacant seats, and avoiding eye contact with them, thinking, hoping, that just “maybe they are sitting there and not next to me!”…or not.

So there you are,  all nice and cozy, seated with a complete stranger.   Let’s just hope they aren’t anything like some of these passengers that made my personal top 10  list of the worst airline passengers I’ve ever met.

Note that these are not in any particular order and that I have excluded those that are not acting out deliberately (i.e. crying babies). Enjoy!

  1. The Starfish-He Will Spread Out All Over You

starfish

Very shortly after I was seated on a long haul flight, an average sized man sat next to me.  I was relieved, thinking, that he didn’t seem so bad at all.  Well, immediately after take-off, he fell asleep and proceeded to slowly spread out in starfish position.  I was in a window seat and he in the aisle.  As his leg slowly pressed harder and harder on mine, his arm on the armrest did the same.  Initially, I thought he was getting fresh with me, so I moved abruptly pretending to access my bag below the seat in front of me giving him a big jolt but to no avail.  Before I knew it, his arm kept falling in my lap and his leg as spread out as far in my direction as possible.  He would not wake up, nor budge for the entire 5 ½ hour flight.

2. The Queen –She Commands First Class Service in Coach Economy

Queen

I was seated in seat 13A on a Dash 8, which is the worst seat on the plane. It’s very back row of a very tiny aircraft with minimal overhead cabin space. My briefcase (because of the wheels) would not fit in the overhead bin so I had no choice but to put it under the seat in front of me along with my purse.  I have very long legs so I was already very cramped which I’m not complaining about. I actually don’t mind being stuffed into the back corner of a plane.  It can be quite cozy.  The next thing I know, The Queen has arrived, fur coat, Coach handbag and all.  She sits next to me and immediately expresses that she has a problem with the baggage at my feet because she “has an arthritic ankle and needs the extra leg room”, where MY feet are! She demands that I remove my bags, which were not infringing on her legroom at all! I apologized nicely saying that my briefcase doesn’t fit in the overhead so I have it below my feet and reminded her that she has the whole aisle in addition to the space at her feet to spread out. She says to me “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day but your bag needs to go because I need the legroom!” I was enraged and told her that if she needed the room, she should have paid for the premium seat! She calls the flight attendant over and insists they remove my bags (including my purse!) and store them in first class! There isn’t even a business class section on these planes! I didn’t want to get into a full out fight and get kicked off the plane, so I sucked it up and told the flight attendant that she could take all my of bags.  That was an awkward next 3 hours!

3. The King –He is Above The Rules

kingOn a flight with severe turbulence passing over an area where just the previous day it had been in the news that several passengers were injured because of turbulence, I met The King.  As the turbulence increased in severity and the flight attendants insisted that everyone stay seated and fasten their seat belts, this very large gentleman who was about 6’5 and 250 lbs decided that it was a good time for him to stand up and put his shoes on! He was in the aisle with his foot on the armrest right in front of me.  I was afraid that the next jolt of turbulence would send him plummeting on top of me and crush me, so I politely asked him if he was aware that the seat belt sign was on. He tells me that he was and he didn’t care. He completely ignores the flight attendants well.   He needed to put his shoes on and standing up even though he was seated in an exit row and had all the legroom he needed.  Fortunately he sat down before the turbulence got really bad!

4. The Baby Daddy-He Wants YOU to Babysit His Baby

BabyDaddy

It never would have even occurred to me that anyone could have the gall to do what The Baby Daddy did.  I was seated watching a movie when a man holding an infant started waving at me as to attract my attention.  After I removed my headphones, he asks me “Hey, do you mind holding my baby? I need a break and I’m tired of holding him.” I couldn’t believe it. Did I look like some kind of babysitter? Or was it just because I’m a woman that I’m supposed to like holding babies? Seriously?!?!? I politely told him, “No, sorry, I don’t hold babies.” How awkward is that? So he moved along down the aisle and asked the next lady he saw the same question! For the record, he was not in any sort of distress and neither was the child.

5. The Seat Kicking Couple-They Are Getting Hot and Heavy Behind You and Don’t Need a Room
couple making out on plane

Seat kickers are the worst!!!  Especially the ones who clearly don’t give two #$%#’s, like this couple I had seated behind me once.  They were going through phases of intensely making out and tickling each other and hence all of the kicking. And like bad children, as soon as the flight attendant came by, they stopped so they weren’t caught.  This went on for over 2 hours.  And for the intermittent bouts of silence, who knows what happened there.  Gross!

6. The Party Princess-You Can Smell the Party On Her

hickeyNaturally I met this one on a long-haul flight.  This girl smelled like booze, had the worst body odor I have ever smelled on a woman and her neck was covered in hickies.  The worst part was, for the entire flight she felt the need to continuously adjust the fresh air vent, raising her arm above me.  The smell was unbearable.  Even my scarf couldn’t mask it.  When we landed, I couldn’t help but oversee that she was texting her boyfriend about how much she missed him-l I wonder what he thought about her “condition”? *sigh*

7. The Carry-On Cow- She Knows No Limit to Carry On Baggage Allowance

lady with too much baggageThis is nobody in particular.  We have all seen this person.  You know, the one with 3 or 4 carry-on bags, sometimes even a large suitcase who stands in the aisle looking puzzled as to why their bags don’t fit in the overhead bin.  I have no idea why most airlines do nothing to prevent people from getting on board with oversized or multiple pieces of luggage. Every time I board a plane, my blood boils just a bit looking at all of the bags people will try to bring on board.  This irritates me because those travellers hog all of the overhead bin space, meaning that there wont’ be any room for my appropriately sized carry-on and I’ll have to stow that under my feet for the whole flight. If their bags are oversized, they will have to be checked after they board.  Lots of people do this on purpose so they don’t pay the check baggage fee, and so often that this is apparently the #1 cause of flight delays.    Airlines need to get up to speed on this problem!

8. The Octopus-She Will Spread out in Ways You Never Thought Possible

The OctopusOn a very cramped flight where my knees were uncomfortably pressed against the seat in front of me, I encountered The Octopus.  She was worse than the starfish.  She was seated in front of me and had an entire row to herself, 3 seats and all. But she decided that she needed more room than that, so she decided to recline all of the seats in her row so she could lie down and spread herself out entirely! When I asked her nicely if she could put the seat up because none of us behind her had any room to begin with, she just laid back down and said “No, I am entitled to all of the space I need.”  Things started to escalate between us all and fortunately, the flight attendant stepped in and insisted she put the seats back in the upright position.

9. The Ignorant– Assigned Seating is Meaningless to Her

Boarding PassOne time when I was boarding a plane, I noticed there was a lady seated in my seat.  This is a common mistake, so no big deal.  However when I showed the woman my boarding pass and said that she was in the wrong seat, she just nodded her head and dove back into her book.  We were told that this was a full flight prior to boarding, so it wasn’t like I could just take a seat elsewhere.   I asked her what seat she was supposed to be in and she just kept ignoring me as if I would somehow just disappear if she didn’t look at me.  I’m sorry but if you can read the flight number and the gate number to get on your flight, you most certainly can read your seat number!  The line-up behind me was growing. My patience and the patience of the other passengers behind me was thinning.  There was no flight attendant in sight so I decided to make the executive decision to stow my bag and just physically pick her up and take her out of the seat and stand her in the aisle. Then I sat in my seat.  She just stood in the aisle looking very perplexed and sat in the next available seat.

10. The Clueless Guy-He Just Doesn’t Get Why He Has to Take Every Coin Out of His Pocket at the Security Checkpoint

h-armstrong-roberts-man-wearing-suit-looking-distressed-pointing-to-empty-pocket-pulled-out-of-pantsThis guy made me laugh to tears, so I saved him for last.  It was rush hour at the airport and really busy at the security checkpoint.  To give people the benefit of the doubt, it’s easy to forget to remove a belt or a piece of jewellery when you’re rushing through security but this guy took the cake.  He went through the metal detector at least 5 times! Each time he went through, he removed a watch, then his belt, then his shoes, then coins from one, yes just one pocket…And finally he went through a last time after he removed the change in his other pocket!  It was absolutely hysterical how clueless he was.  It was so ridiculous that I was thinking that it was some sort of prank but alas it wasn’t.

I hope you had a good laugh reading these and that you don’t ever get seated next to any of these poorly behaved travellers. Now that pretty much everyone has access to a camera on their phones, entire websites and twitter accounts dedicated to shaming passengers have popped up and are rapidly gaining in popularity.  My personal favourite is www.PassengerShaming.com, a site started by a sassy flight attendant.

In the meantime, travel safe my friends and good luck out there! It’s a zoo!

Cheers,

TSW

 

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Love and Romance en Route

The Unique Challenges Frequent Travellers and Their Loved Ones Face When Dating and Maintaining Long Term Relationships

A businessman flirting with his PA on a flight

In Hollywood films, business travellers are often portrayed as living extravagant lifestyles where they are away from home 90-99% of the time and enjoying exciting adventures, often which involve infidelity.

Of course what happens in the movies is not truly representative of what happens in real life.  However the stereotypes of the business traveller that Hollywood has created for us, can on occasion, cause trouble for us frequent travellers in our real life relationships.  In particular, for those of us who are romantically involved with people who do not travel frequently for work.

In reality, most frequent travellers are not away from home 90% of the time.  It’s more likely to be along the lines of between 30-70%.  What Hollywood films typically don’t show you is that you really spend the bulk of your time in transit, meeting with customers and working on reports in hotel rooms.  As such, most of the people you are interacting with are either your customers, people in the service industry and other travellers who are also on the move.   The lifestyle is transient.  You go wherever your work takes you and never stay anywhere or with anyone too long.  When you do engage with others, those interactions are most often brief and superficial.  That being said,  although you may be meeting a lot of people, most of them will not be dating material.  Especially your clients! Don’t ever make the mistake of getting romantically involved with your clients. Need a refresher on why this is a bad idea? Read my previous blog post “How to Handle Clients Who Want More Than What You’re Selling

So let’s say you’ve met someone special, now what?

If your career involves a significant amount of travel and you are romantically involved with someone, whether you realize it or not, you are in some form of a long distance relationship (LDR). After all, if you and your significant other are away from each other more than 30% of the time, does it really matter if you live in the same house, same city, are a short-haul flight away, or even live in the same time zone?

This frequent flyer lifestyle poses a unique challenge to not only dating but also maintaining long term relationships, and not everyone is cut out for it.

My longest relationships have been either long distance or with salesmen. What do these have in common? That travel is a fundamental, non-negotiable element of the relationship.

Setting Ground Rules For Communication

When you are in a relationship where one person is travelling a lot for work or if you are in a LDR, it is all the more essential that you communicate openly and effectively about everything. Setting aside even a small amount of time each day at a mutually convenient time for you to touch base, can be immensely helpful in solidifying your relationship, even if it is just to say briefly how your day was and remind your partner that you are thinking of them. Making sure you are on the same page about the amount of communication you will have is also key.  For example, if you are busy travelling and in and out of meetings all day, your parter should be aware of this and not be calling you 10 times a day to ask you what colour you think the living room should be painted, or to give you updates on the weather back home. Setting ground rules and maintaining proper communication is essential to building and maintaining trust in your relationship. In my experience, this is often difficult for both individuals, but more so for the one staying at home.

Hollywood films have done us business travellers no justice in this department, portraying us as such a promiscuous bunch.  In reality, this is so untrue.  The travelling, the meetings, the reports… all of it is time consuming and exhausting. If you are in a relationship with someone you love and are committed to them, you won’t stray but rather look forward to returning home to their warm embrace.  But yes, certainly there are people out there who do cheat and in most cases they do so because of problems in their relationship, not because of their choice in careers.  Overcoming this stigma is not an easy task and hence why I typically date men who also have careers which require them to travel because they ‘get it’.

Dating the Non-Traveller:

Many people who do not travel for work may initially be “OK” with their significant other travelling often, but after a while, their tolerance dissipates and the relationship can break down. I’ve heard things such as, Why can’t I come with you?” or Can’t you just cancel your business trip or come home early to be with me?”.

I mean, I’m sure it would be a blast for my partner to sit and rot in my car all day long with nowhere to go while I’m in and out of sales calls and all, but really???  Just like it would be so awesome for us to not be able to go on that vacation because I won’t be making that commission on that deal I could have made on that business trip I cancelled, right???

But the problem is, if you say these things to your partner, it may come across as being cold, uncaring and make it seem as though you don’t want to spend time with them.  That can create insecurity, suspicion and jealousy. Trust me, that is not a fun path to travel down!

The Long Distance Relationship (LDR):

Contrary to popular belief, true LDR’s aren’t so bad. I realize this may sound bizarre, but I find it easier to go to the airport once or twice a month to have a romantic weekend with a significant other than I do to drive to a nearby city several times a week. The reason being is that this way when we are together, I can devote 100% to my significant other which won’t be interrupted by work and other day to day distractions and when we are apart,  I get all of the “me time” I need and I can give my 100% at work.

The only major setback to LDR’s is that if things get serious, which they ultimately will if things go well, is that at some point, one of you will have to make the move.  That move may involve one of you quitting your job if you are unable to relocate with your current company.  I seriously considered doing this once, but for various reasons, I  decided that in the long term, that this would have been a very poor decision.

Overall, there are a significant number of challenges facing travelling businessmen and women when it comes to dating and maintaining long term relationships.  It takes a lot of work to “go the distance” sort to speak.  In reading this, I hope that I didn’t disappoint too many of you who were hoping to read the 50 Shades version of Up in the Air- Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but it’s not all Hollywood cracks it up to be.

I would love to hear from other travelling business professionals about the challenges you face or have faced in developing and maintaining romantic relationships.

In the meantime, safe travels fellow travelling salesmen and women.

Bon Voyage!

 

TSW

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Getting to and from the Airport: Taxi, Limo or Park, Stay and Fly?

airportgroundtransportation

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal chauffeur to take you to and from the airport?   I sure wish that I did, however that is one luxury I simply cannot afford.  As a business woman, I can expense all of my travel costs but that doesn’t mean that I won’t do my best to keep my expenses to a minimum.  Today I will share with you how I decide the most convenient and cost effective means to get to and from the airport.

Transportation to and from Your Domestic Airport:

When selecting transportation to your domestic airport, you should consider how far away you are from the airport and how long you will be away.

If you live in the same city as the airport, visit the airport website to get an estimate on how much a taxi will cost you. Every major airport website that I have visited has this information.

TIP:  If you are experiencing difficulty finding that information, do a simple internet search using keywords “ [Your airport] taxi fare estimator to downtown [Your city]”.   Another option is to visit websites such as www.taxifarefinder.com  or the like.  Since you will be returning home, don’t forget to factor the cost of your return trip in your calculations.

If you live outside of town, check with your local airport limousine.

TIP: You can find them in the yellow pages or conduct an internet search using keywords “Airport limo [your city]”.

Most companies will allow you to enter your information and provide you with a quote online.  Or you can simply call them and get a quote.  In my case, I reside approximately 120km from the airport I normally fly from.  This option will cost me an average of $100 each way (including taxes and tip), so I will choose this option if I will be away for 2 weeks or longer).

For short trips (1-3 days), I would recommend just parking at the airport.  Even if you park in a premium lot, it will cost you less than $100.  At Pearson International Airport in Toronto, their premium parking lot is $28 per day. If you park in their “Value Parking Lot” by the Alt Hotel near Terminal 3, the cost is $18 per day.  Even though the lot is far from the terminals, there is a free rapid shuttle that runs from the parking lot to both terminals every 4 minutes during peak periods and every 8 minutes during non-peak periods.  Most airports offer this service.  Check your local airport’s website for parking information.

TIP: If you are reading this and you fly out of YYZ (Toronto Pearson) often, I would highly recommend that you invest in an American Express Platinum Card because that will save you 15% off parking rates and you can get valet parking at no additional charge! How is that for a perk?

If you will be away for a few days to 2 weeks, I would highly recommend looking into “park, stay and fly deals”, especially if you have an early morning flight.  I consider these deals to be one of the best kept secrets in the travel industry. Most major airports have hotels physically at the airport in the terminal or in the near vicinity and offer deals to “park, stay and fly”.  This means that you can stay at the hotel (either before your departing flight) and your parking at the airport is included.   This option can save you stress, time and money.  For instance, if you have an early morning flight which departs at 6am, you would otherwise have to wake up at 2 or 3am to get to the airport on time. Every time I take an early morning flight I can’t count the number of travellers I hear complain about how early they had to wake up and they didn’t consider that when they booked their flight.  If you stay at the airport hotel, you can get a few extra hours of sleep and eliminate the stress of travelling to the airport in the middle of the night when you are barely awake.

The last time I did this was in Orlando. My flight departed at 5:30am.  I was driving through the airport at 4am trying to find where I am supposed to drop off my rental car and I went the wrong way. I couldn’t get out of this particular driveway, so I had to drive the wrong way on the road and hope that nobody else was coming the other way and was as tired as myself.  Fortunately I made it out safe but I vowed never to do that again.

Even if you flight leaves at 9 or 10am, you will have to travel to the airport during peak rush hour. How stressful is that?  Will traffic be so bad you will miss your flight? What if there is an accident and the major route is closed? Then what? I certainly don’t need that stress.

In the past, I have stayed at a few airport hotels and taken advantage of their “stay, park and fly” deals.  The Alt Hotel at Toronto Pearson International Airport for example usually offers a deal where you pay approximately $175+tax for a hotel stay and parking of up to 8 nights.  Most hotels have deals for up to 2 weeks of parking as well and it works out to be much cheaper than just parking at the airport, never mind taking an airport limousine.  Not only will it spare you a few hours of sleep, hours of stress you would feel struggling to get to the airport on time but it might also save you money.

If you will be travelling for in excess of two weeks, I would recommend that you hire a local airport limousine.  Parking your car at the airport for this amount of time will surely cost you more unless you find a parking lot far away from the airport that is affordable and there are many of those.  However, if you choose to park in a discount lot, make sure you look up the schedule for transportation to and from the airport as this can usually be in excess of 30 minutes.

TIP: On a side note, if you are travelling for more than 14 days, most credit cards only offer travel insurance for 14 days, so don’t forget to add extra insurance for your trip.

 

Travel to and from Your Destination Airport:

Most major hotels near an airport will offer a free shuttle.  Check with your hotel in advance.  When you arrive at the airport, there is usually a kiosk with a phone so that you can call your hotel and request a pick-up or you can simply ask someone at the ground transportation level that can assist you.

If your hotel is really close to the airport, and your hotel does not offer a free shuttle, a regular taxi will suffice.  If you hotel is some distance to the airport, look into the price for a rental car. Believe it or not, in some cases it is actually cheaper for you to rent a car than it is to pay for a return taxi.  Take Halifax International Airport for example; The  average cab fare (excluding tax and tip )to travel from the airport to downtown Halifax is $55, so that will work out to well over $60 each way.  If you rent a car, you will likely be able to get one for less than $35 per day including taxes and fees.

TIP: To quickly check the price of rental cars, just go to a travel site such as Expedia and it will show you the price for all car rentals in the area.

So even if you are just going for a couple of days and will just use the rental for transportation to and from the airport, it can surely be worth it.  If you’re staying for a longer period of time, it may be cheaper for you to drive your own rental car to explore the area compared to talking taxis everywhere.  Having your own rental car may also encourage you to see sights that you may not have otherwise seen.

So the next time you book your trip be it for business or pleasure, make sure you do your homework when it comes to making your travel arrangements to and from the airport.

Safe Travels.

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