Last week, Chris Brogan offered an extensive list of travel tips. He asked what we'd add here are some of mine. There are some duplicates, but that's just how it is.
Read Chris' Tips for Flying post and the comments
There are some incredibly helpful tips in the post and in the comments!
Dump pocket contents into a Ziploc bag when you park your car
I carry an extra sandwich sized bag. When I park my car, I just dump all my pockets contents into it and put it in my carry on. I also remove my belt at that time and put that in my bag too.
Remove your id and boarding pass from the Ziploc bag
You're going to need those in the airport. If you haven't gotten your boarding pass yet, remove a credit card to so you can use the self-serve kiosk.
Be nice to TSA
Those guys didn't make the rules. They were dreamed up by some bureaucrat with a non-traveling desk job. I happen to know a TSA agent at my local airport. We've been friends since before he was TSA. It helps me to remember him when I go through lines.
Wear slip on shoes
I always wear my LL Bean mocs or penny loafers when I travel. I've recently picked up some clipping things that replaced my sneaker shoelaces. Those have been wonderful. And they make my sneakers "slip on" too.
Get dressed after you pick up the stuff off the belt
There are almost always wide benches on the other side of security. Use them as you put on your belt, fill your pockets, and put your liquids in your suitcase.
Use TripIt Pro
I love TripIt and use the Pro version. It texts me updates about my flight even before I'm at the airport. I often know about flight delays before the employees at the airport do.
Consider using a travel agent
I normally use Orbitz to schedule my flights, but I've started using a local travel agent. More than once they were able to book me on alternate airlines and help me get to my destination despite delays and cancellations. They only tack on $35 or something, but knowing they are just a call away is amazing. It's like adding to your team. And believe me, when you're in a crowded airport facing delays, you want someone on your team!
If delayed, call customer service or your travel agent while standing in line
If you're facing a delay, definitely get yourself in the most helpful line you can. But these lines always are s-l-o-w. So hop on the phone to the airline's customer service or your travel agent. More than once I've had my situation resolved before I'd even made it to the desk.
One time in Boston when snowed in at a conference, there were over 100 people in line to try to get a room at the host hotel. I felt so cool when I called the reservation hotline and booked a room at the conference rate. I'd effectively cut in line, but no one was upset. 🙂
Ask for upgrades
You'd expect this from the guy that wrote Ask Without Fear!, wouldn't you? Often times, if you're not in the elite status of a program, you won't get the upgrade. But it never hurts to ask. If you do ask, smile and be sweet. And try to ask when you're not being a bother to a harried employee.
Treat people as humans
I'm amazed at how easy it is for people to act like jerks. Yes, you are the most important person in your world. But that poor person you're beating up has just talked to 50 other people who are the most important people in their worlds. It's fine to expect service. But it's very helpful to acknowledge the rough time people are getting. A simple "Hard day, huh?" can go along way.
Bring extra outlets
I always travel with a Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger [amazon affiliate link]. There are never enough outlets, so this allows me to plug in more places. And rather than hogging an outlet, I'm opening it up to a couple others. I also like to carry an extra phone battery with me. I stress out a lot less when I know I have a completely charged battery in reach.