Business Travel this Summer? Avoid Tourist Bottlenecks with These Tips
School’s out for summer. This means fun family trips and vacations. But for the business traveler, the additional number of tourists in the airports means longer lines and unexpected layovers. So what can you do to keep your schedule on track? Here are some tips to navigate the busy travel season.
Do Whatever You Can Ahead of Time
Can you check-in online before going to the airport? Do it. Can you join the airline loyalty program or sign up for a pre-screening option, like TSA’s PreCheck? Do this. Clear is a private pre-screening option you can consider as well. Airlines prioritize their travelers with elite status, and the TSA will let you fly through security if you have the PreCheck done ahead of time. If your travels take you overseas, consider paying for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program, which will put you in the fast lane for your return to the United States. You will need to have an in-person appointment to get approved, but the amount of time it will save is worth a little bit of hassle in the beginning. The more you can do before you leave, the less time you have to spend waiting in lines at the airport the day of your trip.
Provide A Buffer of Time
No matter how much you do ahead, tourist season means the airport will most likely be crowded. Give yourself a buffer of time when traveling during the summer to ensure any unexpected delays do not cause you to miss your flight. If you are not rushing, you will not feel as frustrated by the additional travelers in the airport with you.
Pack A Carry On
Since most business trips are just a couple of days, you can save time by not checking luggage. This will save you time when you arrive at your destination as well because you can bypass the baggage claim. Also, if you face an unexpected delay, overbooked flight, or cancellation, you’ll be able to have your belongings in hand.
Ship Some of Your Materials
If your business travel requires you to carry display materials, work samples, presentation supplies, or other similar bulky items, plan to ship them ahead of time. Not only will this prevent problems if the items are lost by the airlines, but it will also expedite your travel day.
While there are not security risks from tourists, there are a number of risks for delays. Keep alert in the airport to avoid these. For example, if you see two lines for security and one is full of families, consider jumping in the other one. Chances are it will go faster. Some airports even have single traveler or business traveler dedicated lanes, so watch for these and take advantage of them when you can.
Plan An Alternate Route
If your community has more than one route to get to the airport, consider taking the less direct one. During busy travel seasons, the direct or more obvious routes to the airport can often become clogged with travelers. While a less direct route may be more miles, it may also mean less time because of less traffic.
The tourist season is challenging for business travelers, but with a little forward thinking, you can manage it well. Give yourself extra time, plan ahead and put a smile on your face, Even with the added crowds, you will soon be at your destination and ready to deliver your presentation or tackle that important meeting, with the crowds at the airport long behind you.