The Journey - Airport Tips
Staying with the organization theme from the last few posts, I thought I would share a few points about travel through airports for photographers, models, or really anyone in the industry.
- Does your airline allow for on-line check in?
- If so this can be a great time saver, especially during peak travel times or popular destinations. If you are not checking much baggage, you can bypass the long line at the ticket counter if you have checked in at home prior to your trip to the airport.
- Keep control of your baggage
- This is almost a common sense tip, but no one wants their baggage stolen, or possibly worse yet, to be stopped at airport security with something illegal planted in your luggage! It's easy to sit down for a minute once you arrive at the airport to gather things up prior to going through security, but be aware not everyone who flies the friendly skies is really that friendly!
- Travel light when possible but travel smart
- This is a common tip, but it REALLY matters. No matter what type of luggage you may have or how well you may have packed, walking around with 'extras' get very heavy. Even worse, dragging it through the rain can really put a damper on your day. Do you really need that large studio strobe? Is that large makeup case really that important? By the same token, don't forget things like chargers for your electronic devices or even medications that you may need.
- I recently was able to go on a two day trip and placed a small backpack within a piece of carry on luggage allowed on an aircraft. This was a business trip so I really did not need many clothes, and the backpack really helped when I was not in meetings.
- Time zones
- Are you traveling between time zones when making flight connections? Be sure to update your watch of check your phone as you land at the airport. You don't want to think you have just over an hour between flights only to find out that your connecting flight is leaving within the next 10 minutes!
- If you are making connecting flights, one of the first things (after going to the restroom) I would advise is to find out immediately when your next departure gate is located. It may be a five minute walk or a 15 minute walk in larger airports. You certainly don't want to be running at the last minute to catch your connection while waiting in line at the airport Starbucks!
- Double check your departure time while at the gate. A good practice is to try to remember to check your departure time before you leave home the night before. Airlines have been known to change things (or even cancel) with very little notice.
- All aircraft are not created equal
- Just because you started your trip on a full sized commercial airliner does not mean that you will not end your trip on a smaller commuter aircraft. Storage area is much smaller on commuter aircraft and what may be allowed on larger planes may mean that you have to check your carry on luggage on a connecting flight. If you have something very valuable, be sure that either you are carrying it in a smaller shoulder bag, or at least your carry on is well padded.
- Ground transportation
- How are you getting to your final destination when your plane lands? Rental car, Taxi, Uber, public transport, or a friend? Think about this carefully and have a backup plan in case something unexpected happens. Recently I was fortunate enough to land at a airport that had a metro train leaving directly from the airport to just outside my hotel! The cost of the metro was about 10% what I would have paid for a taxi or even Uber.
- BE SAFE
- It's nice to be able to travel with your nice new expensive camera with a long telephoto or it, or dress like a movie star when going out at night. But be aware that the world is not always a nice place. Large expensive cameras can be a target for thieves. Elaborate clothing can draw unwanted attention from others. Be very aware if traveling on public transportation, and consider traveling with companions if exploring the local area.