If you’ve started to travel for business again, you might have noticed that air travel hasn’t gotten any easier in the post-Covid world. Airports are packed with travelers, while airlines face workforce shortages and frequent flight delays.
Since air travel is more challenging than ever, we’ve put together four business travel tips from Knackpackers that’ll make your journey less uncertain and more comfortable, no matter what happens.
1. Keep Your Electronics Charged
Being able to charge your phone and laptop at the airport and on the plane is not a given - and there’s nothing worse than boarding a long flight with zero entertainment or the ability to do work. You can avoid fighting for the last outlet at the gate by:
. Charging your electronics before you go to the airport - This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget to top off your devices the night before rushing out the door.
. Bringing an external charger for your phone - We love the Fuel Rod, which you can pick up at certain airport vending machines and online. For $20, you get a fully charged external battery and every USB adaptor you could possibly need.
. Finding out if your plane has outlets - You’ll have to check your airline’s website to be sure that your plane model has outlets. Some airlines, like Alaska, have outlets on all flights.
If your phone is dangerously low on battery and you’re only using a mobile boarding pass, put it into airplane mode to save the battery until you can board the plane.
2. Do Security Smart
Waiting in a long, slow security line is both exhausting and unnecessary. These days, there are programs that can help you seriously shrink the time spent in a TSA checkpoint. Although they aren’t free, they’re well worth the investment for frequent flyers.
TSA PreCheck ($85 for 5 years)
Joining TSA PreCheck involves an interview and a background check to verify your identity. At security, you’ll go into a separate (and much shorter) line with other people in the program. This line moves extremely fast because you typically don’t have to remove laptops and liquids from your bag. And, you get to keep your shoes on!
Clear lets you skip all the lines at the security checkpoint - even the PreCheck line. You’ll still have to remove shoes, liquids, and electronics if you don’t have PreCheck, but there’s never any waiting involved.
Even if you don’t enroll in one of these programs, you can always make security smoother by packing liquids according to TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid guidelines, and not wearing metal belts or jewelry. And, pack electronics so that they’re easily accessible if you need to pull them out.
Traveling with tech? Check out this blog post.
3. Use Carry-On Only
Checking your bag adds a lot of steps and time to your business trip: you have to wait in line to drop it off, get your bag tag, wait by the carousel to pick it up, and then go through the process all over again on the way back. And then there’s the constant lingering fear of lost luggage.
Business travel is way easier when you go with just a carry-on bag. You get to keep all of your important stuff with you, and get out of the airport as quickly as possible. We recently wrote a guide to One Bag, carry-on only business travel, which you can read here.
Since we love to travel with just a carry-on, we made sure that all Knack Packs are carry-on compliant. You can pack all the clothes you need for a few days of travel in the expandable suitcase compartment, and then zip the compartment away later in order to use your Knack as a work bag.
And better yet, most Knack Packs actually fit under the seat in front of you. Check out this chart to compare Knack sizes.
4. Stay Comfortable
Seats have gotten progressively tighter over the last few years, but with the right preparation, it is possible to have a comfortable flight. Here’s how:
. Dress in layers - You can’t control the temperature of the plane, but layering lets you add and subtract clothes as needed.
. Bring a neck pillow - Unless you have a window seat, there’s likely nothing to rest your head on if you want to nap.
. Bring noise-canceling headphones - Planes engines are loud, and you just can’t avoid crying babies all the time.
. Pack a snack - Many airlines have stopped serving food, so bring a granola bar, or pick something up at the airport before your flight takes off.
. Pick the right seat - SeatGuru provides you with a visual map, so you can make sure that your seat has power outlets.
Stay Comfortable When The Flight’s Delayed
If you have a long layover or your flight gets delayed, consider checking into an airport lounge. Not only do you typically get free food and drinks, but the space is quieter and less crowded and there are likely some outlets available so you can get some work done.
Certain credit cards grant you access to airport lounges, like Chase’s Sapphire Rewards. If you’re a frequent flyer, it’s worth taking advantage of lounge access.
Pro Tip - If your flight does get canceled or seriously delayed and you need to rebook, chances are that the wait time for customer service is incredibly long. Try contacting the airline on Twitter or Facebook, as these platforms are usually monitored in real time.
Do you have any tips for making air travel for business easier and less uncertain? Let us know in the comments!