Best Airport and Airplane Tips (Part 3) – Podcast 038

In this episode, B and Jack continue their series about the best airport and airplane tips. They provide the 15 tips as well as provide some general consideration about the topic.

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1. Summary

1.1. The topic within the context of the Digital Nomad Life System

The Digital Nomad Life System is a 6-step meta-system created by us at Nomad Tactics that aims to explain how someone can go from living a non-nomadic normal life to living an optimized digital nomad life.

The sixth step of the system is called the “Departing Process”. This can be understood as the things that the digital nomad needs to do just before and during the period in which he is leaving his current base to guarantee a smooth departure and transition to his next base (the city you are going to). Airplanes and airports are things you will encounter when you are leaving a place. Thus, it makes sense to place this topic here.

To have a general overview of the Digital Nomad Life System you should listen to this episode.

1.2. General observations about the topic

This episode is part of a mini-series, which means we won’t provide all the tips in this episode. Rather we will divide those into a number of different episodes in order to keep the episodes under 20 minutes. Also, keep in mind that the whole thing won’t be in order. I will provide 15 tips per episode that go back and forth on airplanes and airports.

This series is supposed to be a comprehensive list. Thus it is likely, especially if you are a somewhat experienced digital nomad, that you already heard some of these tricks. Having said that I think this can be a good memory refresher and also I am sure at least one or two tips will be new to you since I have come up with this list over many years by talking to different digital nomads, reading blogs, and talking to cabin crew.

Finally, one last thing that I would like to say is that some of the tips here might be considered sneaky by some. We do not necessarily practice or enforce all these tips. Also, Nomad Tactics should not be responsible for your application with the information, it is for educational purposes only. Thus the purpose of the series is to simply provide you with the list and then it is your call what you are ok doing it or not.

1.3. 15 Airport and airplane tips

Try to make your way to the lounge: We all know that lounges have fast wifi, sitting comfort, free food, and sometimes much more. There are basically two ways you can try to get into lounges for free. The first is by using your credit card. Many people are not aware but some credit cards offer you free lounge access. Sometimes the credit card does not allow you unlimited lounge access but at least a certain amount of visits per month or year. If you are not sure your card grants you access to the lounge, there is no harm in trying and figuring it out. The other way to get inside the lounge for free is being the companion of another person that does in fact have access to the lounge. Most credit cards that allow people to get into lounges for free also allow them to bring one companion with them. So the trick here is to stay around the lounge area and whenever you see a single person walking to the entrance of the lounge you can simply say something along the lines “I forgot my credit card, would you mind if I enter as your companion, it is likely free for you to bring someone” or “I never been to a lounge, would you mind if I enter as your companion? it is likely free for you to bring someone.”

Bring a power bank with less than 25000 mAh capacity: Probably you will want to bring your power bank with you on the plane in order to charge your things during the flight. Having said that you should be careful with the capacity of your power bank. Typically only power banks with 25000 mAh or less capacity are allowed by the security control.

Use identifying tags in a smart way: I think you should always have two identifying tags in whatever luggage you are carrying. These are essential in case you need to recover your luggage. The first name tag should be placed on the outside of the bag. The important thing here is to find an identity tag that covers your name. The reason for that is because you don’t want your personal information, including your name and address to be visible to everybody as you move around the plane. The reason for that is because if someone has bad intentions they would be able to know where you live. The second identifying tag should be placed inside the luggage in a very visible place. In the case that the outside identity tag detaches, once they open your luggage they will be able to get the necessary information to contact you.

Ask your taxi to leave you at the arrivals area of the terminal: the rationale here is that it is less likely to encounter a traffic jam if you are in the arrival area. Typically the arrival areas are much more empty so you will be able to do everything faster, especially considering in most airports the departure terminals are only one floor up or down from the arrivals area. So it is really easy to make the switch.

Avoid drinking alcohol on the plane: We already covered this tip in episode 025 where we talk about jet lag strategies. It is advisable for you to skip drinking alcohol, especially on long-haul flights, since alcohol increases the chances of bad symptoms of jet lag.

Be mindful about your luggage allowance in connections: If you are using the same airline the whole trip, this is likely not a problem. Yet, if you have flights from different airlines to get to your destination, you should always check what is the luggage allowance in each and every airline. Sometimes people forget and simply assume that the flight’s allowance (both in terms of check luggage and carry-on) will also be allowed in the subsequent flights. Yet, this is not necessarily true and can lead you to pay an extra fee.

Dress in layers on the plane: This is a simple tip but nonetheless important. It is always advisable for you to dress in layers on the plane. Generally, planes tend to be cold, but that is not always the case. So since you have no direct control over the plane temperature dressing, in layers is smart because you can somewhat “control” the temperature yourself.

Avoid checked luggage: This will vary depending on the context. We will record a future episode exclusively to talk about if checked luggage in relation to different digital nomads styles. Nonetheless, there are three reasons why as a rule of thumb we generally discourage digital nomads to use checked luggage. The first reason is that you will typically pay more for your flights, especially if you take budget airlines since you will need to pay for the extra luggage. The second reason is that whenever you check luggage there is a possibility it will be lost (although I feel like this is becoming less of an issue nowadays), and of course, lost luggage is always a headache. Finally, it has to do with a sense of minimalism you can develop when all you have is in your carry-on luggage. We think this is a good mindset to have as a digital nomad. Anyhow I will not expand too much on the topic right now.

Avoid taking too many health supplements with you on flights: Most health supplements are in either powers or capsules. Also, you probably will carry large quantities since you will probably take supplements at the destination. The reason why this is problematic is that if you take too many of those with you this will be seen as a red flag by the security control or customs. So even if you not carrying anything illegal, sometimes they will want to go over it just to check. So the tip here is to carry only the essentials.

Consider going to an airport lounge even if you need to pay for it: Depending on the airport the food might be extremely expensive (this is usually a problem in North America and Europe more). Thus, if you need to wait long hours in an airport for a connecting flight and you want to eat, sometimes it makes much more financial sense to pay for a lounge (which usually will cost you from 20 to 60 dollars) rather than eating outside. Yet, before committing to a specific lounge, it is always a good idea to ask to have a look at the food being served.

Always book airplane tickets using your credit card: It is debatable either in your daily life you should use your debit card or your credit card. On the one hand, if you use your credit card you might be able to accumulate points as you travel which is great. On the other hand, by using a credit card you will not be able to track your expenses so well. Regardless of what you do in your daily life one circumstance in which it does make a lot of sense to use your credit card is when you buy your airplane tickets. The reason for that is because by doing so most credit cards will provide you with “free” travel and health insurance. Something that you won’t get if you pay with a debit card.

Wear high compression socks on long flights: On a flight, you will need to stay many hours sitting down. Doing that increases some health risks due to the poor blood circulation in the legs due to prolonged sitting. Some of the problems you might face are very mild like spider veins. Also, though unlikely you might develop serious health conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). One easy and cheap way to reduce the chance of any of those things happening is to use high compression socks during the flight.

Bring a foldable or empty water bottle to the airport: This trick is old but gold. We all know that we cannot pass through security with a full water bottle. Also, we know that water in the airport tends to be expensive. Finally, we also know that hydration is crucial to avoid the symptoms of jetlag. With all those things in mind, one trick you can use is to bring with you an empty or foldable water bottle. Once you pass security you can refill it in the airport fountain.

You can ask meditation from the flight attendant: We advised you before to always have the basic meditations with you in your carry-on luggage. Nonetheless, if you forgot those, you can always ask for basic medications from flight attendants and in most airlines, they will be able to provide you.

Avoid using contact lenses on the airplane: Airplane air is extremely dry, if you combine that with the fact that you tend to get dehydrated during flights, this can lead to extreme discomfort if you use lenses. The advice here is to always opt for glasses rather than glasses when you fly.

 

2. Transcript

Mr. B: Hey guys just before we start the episode today I would like to say that today's episode is part of a small series that me and Mr. Jack decided to record about the best airport and airplane tips I hope you find the series useful.
Mr. B: Hey hello, welcome to the Nomad Tactics podcast. Here we provide a complete how-to guide for digital nomads.
Mr. B: I'm your host B. and I'm joined by co-host Jack.
Mr. B: Today we gonna talk about the best airport and airplane tips part three.
Mr. B: I will start with a quick summary of the episode.
Mr. B: First me and Jack gonna talk about exactly what is the aim of today's episode.
Mr. B: After that we're going to contextualize it topic within our digital nomad life system.
Mr. B: Then we gonna provide some quick clarifications regarding the episode.
Mr. B: And finally we gonna provide fifteen tips to do with airports and airplanes I hope you enjoy the episode.
Jack: So hello Mister B..
Mr. B: Hello Jack.
Jack: So as the title of this episode already tells in this episode we are going to provide you with a comprehensive list of all the best tips and tricks about airplanes and airports.
Mr. B: Yeah that's right and we decided to do these as a mini series which means that we won't provide all the tips in this episode rather we will divide into a number of different episodes five or six perhaps in order to try to keep the episode under twenty minutes or thirty minutes let's see.
Mr. B: Yeah.
Jack: I think as usual we should put this topic into our digital nomad life system.
Jack: And for people who don't know what the digital nomad system is it is a six step system aims to help people going from a non-nomadic lifestyle into an optimized digital normal life so Mr B where would you put this topic into which step of the system.
Mr. B: So as you can probably guess today's topic going to be placed on the departing process step and this departing proces step can be understood as all the thing that a digital nomad needs to do just before or during the actual period in which he's leaving his current base to guarantee a smooth departure in transition to his new base i.e. a new city in which you're going to be living in so of course we place this topic within this step of our system because airports and airplanes it's something that you're going to deal with when you are departing from place to go to the next place it's quite obvious there.
Jack: Yes so Mister B. before we go into the exact tips as usual I think you have some clarification you wanna make.
Mr. B: Yeah that's right so just a few quick things I'd like to say in today's episode we're going to provide fifteen tips but there is no let's say logical order for when I'm presenting those so perhaps I'm going to start with an airplane tip and I'm going to go to the airport tip and then I'm going to go back to an airplane tip so don't try to see a coherence in the order of things.
Mr. B: Another thing I would like to say is that as Mr Jack said the aim of this mini series is to provide you with a comprehensive list it's very likely especially if you are already somewhat an experienced digital nomad that you already heard some of the things that we are about to say having said that this can be let's say a good memory refresher if you are an expert nomad perhaps you heard about tip before but kind of forgot and now you're gonna recall those but also I think that we came up or we research some very unique things that I haven't seen many people talking about online so I'm pretty sure that in every episode there will be at least one or two tips that we will be new to you even if you are an experienced digital nomad because in all this list I gather over you know quite a long period of time.
Mr. B: Either by talking to different digital moments reading blogs within the niche and some of those I got by talking to cabin crew which are kind of the experts on area one could argue finally one last thing that I would like to say is that we're going to provide a lot of tips and some of the tips that we might mention might be considered a little bit sneaky by some people so you know people differ on the terms of the kinds of things that they are okay doing or not so I just would like to make it very clear that we at nomad tactics do not necessarily practice or endorse all of the steps nomad tactics should not be responsible by the application off any of the information provided in today's episode because today's episode is for educational purposes only.
Jack: So the first tip is trying to make your way to the lounge.
Mr. B: Yes we all know that lounges are great places due to the fast wifi the sitting comfort you gonna have the free food that's a big one and sometimes other features that lounges around the ward might offer you.
Mr. B: And there are basically two ways in which you can try to get into a lounge for free.
Mr. B: The first one is by using your credit card and many people are not aware but many credit cards offer you free access to airport lounges sometimes your credit card does not allow you unlimited access to the lounges but at least will offer you certain visits per month for per year so really there's no harm going to the lounge entrance and presenting our card than figuring out if you have such perk or not the other way perhaps a more creative way to try to get in for free in the lounge is to simply ask another person to get inside the lounge with them as their companion as their friend so most credit cards allow the credit card holder to get into the lounge with someone else for free so the trick here is to stay around the lounge area.
Mr. B: And whenever you see a single person walking to the entrance of the lounge you can simply say something along the lines I forgot my credit card would you mind if I enter as your companion it is likely free for you to bring someone or you can say something like I never been to a lounge would you mind if I enter with you as your friend because it's probably free if you bring a friend and in my experience sometimes people are okay doing that for you.
Jack: So the second tip here is bring a power bank with less than twenty five thousand mAh capacity.
Mr. B: So probably you will want to bring your power bank with you inside the plane in order to charge things if necessary during the flight having said that you should be really careful to do if the capacity of your power bank typically only power banks with a twenty five thousand million per hour or less of capacity are allowed by the security control So check what's the specific capacity of your power bank in order to avoid any trouble boarding the plane.
Jack: So thirty tip here is use identifying tags in a smart way.
Mr. B: So in previous tips, we already talked about trackers now I am mentioning identifying tags which basically our tags are you going to put your name your address your phone number in case you lost your luggage in order for you to recover is much easier.
Mr. B: And the tip here is that you should always have two identifying tags in whatever luggage you are carrying the first identifying tag should be placed on the outside of the bag and the important thing here is to find an identifying tag that can cover your personal information the reason for that is because you don't want your personal information including your name and address to be visible to anyone that is passing around the airport or the airplane and the reason why that might be dangerous is because if someone says has bad intentions they going to be able to know where you live and very likely nobody going to be home since you are traveling after all the second identifying tag should be placed inside your luggage in a very visible area just in case the other identifying tag the one that stays outside detaches from the luggage somehow so if someone get your luggage and they open it they're going to still be able to see your personal information.
Jack: So next tip here is ask your taxi to leave you at the arrivals area of the terminal even if you intend to get a flight.
Mr. B: So the rationale here is that by asking your taxi driver or your uber driver to drop you in the arrival area you are less likely to encounter a traffic jam as you're approaching the airport and we all know that traffic jams are quite common in these areas typically the arrivals area are much more empty so most likely you are going to be able to get to your terminal faster which gonna save you time especially considering the fact that the most airports to go from the arrivals area to the departure area you simply gonna need to take a staircase or an elevator so there's really no point going to the crowded departure area if you can get to the same place much quicker by arriving in the arrivals area.
Jack: So the next tip here is to avoid drinking alcohol on the plane.
Mr. B: So actually we already kind of covered this tip on episode twenty-five where we talked about jetlag strategies so if you're interested in the topic I would advise you to have a listen but the basic idea here is that you should skip on drinking alcohol especially on long haul flights because alcohol tend to potentialize the bad symptoms of jet lag.
Jack: So next tip here is be mindful about your luggage allowance if you have a connection flight.
Mr. B: So if you're using the same airline the whole way from your departure city to your destination then most likely you won't have any problem.
Mr. B: Yet if you're taking flights from different airlines to get to your destination it is very important for you to always check what is the luggage allowance for each in every airline sometimes people forget to check that and they simply assume that whatever they were allowed to taking the first flight both in terms of their chequered luggage and their carry on luggage we will also be allowed in their subsequent flights by which I mean they're connecting flights yet this is not necessarily true and sometimes this might lead you to pay a lot extra since the second flight might have let's say more restrictive luggage allowance and they're going to want you to pay extra money to carry the same bag that you took in the first flight.
Jack: So next stip here is dressed in layer on the plan.
Mr. B: So this is a simple tip and I think many people mention this but none the less I think it's extremely important the key idea here is that it is advisable for you to dress in layers whenever you're taking flight, generally speaking, I would say that plane tend to be cold.
Mr. B: But this is not always the case so since you have no direct control.
Mr. B: Over the plane temperature dressing in layers is very smart because by doing that you can somewhat.
Mr. B: Quote unquote control the temperature yourself by either taking out clothes or putting more clothes so no matter what's the temperature of the plane you always gonna feel comfortable.
Jack: So the next tip here is to avoid checking luggage.
Mr. B: So this step we will of course vary to a certain degree depending on the context in fact we will record the future podcast episode exclusively to talk about if it makes sense for you to bring a checked luggage or not.
Mr. B: None the less there are three reasons why as a general rule that most digital nomads should try to avoid checking luggage is the first reason is that you will typically pay more for your flights especially if you're taking budget airlines since in budget airlines you will need to pay for every extra luggage that you need to check into the plane the second reason is because whenever you check luggage there is the possibility that it will be lost although I feel that nowadays is becoming less and less an issue because you know airlines are getting better at not losing luggage.
Mr. B: But nonetheless it's still an issue and of course if you lose luggage it's always a big headache and finally one last advantage for not checking luggage is that by simply having a carry on luggage you're gonna be able to develop a sense of minimalism that you won't have if you have a lot of stuff by having, for example, one or two check luggages with you.
Jack: So the next tip here is to avoid taking too many health supplements with you on the flights.
Mr. B: So most health supplements are either powders or capsules also you probably gonna need to carry a great quantity of those since health supplements are things that you take on a regular basis and the reason why it's sometimes problematic to take too many of those health supplements with you is that this might raise some red flags in the security control or the customs of the country simply they're going to see you know bunch of capsules or powders and they gonna want to check exactly what you carrying there and even though you won't be carrying anything illegal it's might take a lot of time to go through and explain and perhaps they're gonna test something so the tip here is to minimize the amount of health supplements to carry and stick to the essentials.
Jack: So the next step here is considered going to the lunge even if you are paying for it.
Mr. B: So depending on the airport in which you are going the food there might be extremely expensive and this is usually a problem in north American airports and European airports.
Mr. B: Thus if you gonna stay many hours in an airport for say a connecting flight and you intend to have multiple meals there sometimes it makes much more financial sense to pay for a lounge which usually going to cost you say from twenty to sixty dollars rather than eating outside the lounge.
Mr. B: And we all know that lounges typically offer free food and sometimes if you compare the values is just make more sense to go to the lounge yet before committing by paying to a specific lounge I think it's always a good idea to go there and ask someone in the stuff for you to have a look and see which food is being served because you know the quality of the food served in lounges vary greatly so it's always a good idea to check first.
Jack: So the next tip here is always book airplane tickets using your credit card.
Mr. B: It's debatable either in your daily life you should use your debit card or your credit card on the one hand if you use their credit card in your daily life you might be able to accumulate points as you travel which is great of course on the other hand by using your credit card you will not be able to track your expenses so well and that might lead you to trouble but regardless about what you do in your daily life in one circumstance I think it makes a lot of sense to always use your credit card and such circumstance is when you're buying your airplane tickets and the reason for that is simple it's because if you pay for your airplane tickets by using a credit card most likely you will be provided with a quote unquote free travel and health insurance and the degree of coverage will depend to a great extent on the specific card you have but most credit cards.
Mr. B: Do offer something which is great for you.
Mr. B: On the other hand debit cards don't offer any sort of insurance so I really see no good reason why you would you wouldn't pay with your credit card.
Jack: So next tip here is wear high compression socks on a long flight.
Mr. B: If you take a long flight of course you're going to need to stay many hours sitting now by staying so many hours sitting down this will increase some health risks due to the poor blood circulation especially in your legs.
Mr. B: Some of the problems that you might face might be very mild such as the development of spider veins overtime on the other hand there are much more dangerous health conditions that you might develop such as what is called a deep vein thrombosis one easy and cheap way to drastically reduce the chances of any of such health risks is by simply using high compression socks which as the name suggests are simply really long socks that gonna put extra pressure in your legs and make the blood circulate better.
Jack: So the next tip here is bring a foldable or empty water bottle to the airport.
Mr. B: Once again this is a very old trick that many people talk about but none the less I think it's a good trick so I decided to include here.
Mr. B: We all know by now that we cannot pass through the security with a lot of liquid right like a full water bottle Also we know that the water in the airport tends to be expensive as everything else all drinks and all food we also know that hydration is crucial to avoid the symptoms of jetlag as we explained on episode twenty-five with all of those things in mind one trick that you can use is to simply bring an empty normal water bottle or even better a foldable water bottle if you're going to pass through security with that empty once you pass through security you simply going to refill your empty water bottle in the water fountain or tap water if tap water is viable in such country.
Jack: Yeah a user on Twitter her handle is Adentourist2 told us that you can bring ice past security because ice is considers solid instead of liquid So the next tip here is you can ask for the medications from the flight attendants.
Mr. B: Back on episodes twenty seven we already talked about medications and one of the tips we gave there is that you should always carry let's say the more basic medications that you use more frequently as well as you all are more controlled medications with you in your carry on luggage and that's because you know if you need access to such medications during the flight the medication gonna be with you and you're gonna be able to access it none the less if you forgot to bring those medications in your carry on luggage you can always ask for this kind of basic medication to the flight attendants and the most airlines they will be able to provide you those.
Jack: So the last tip here is to avoid wearing contact lenses on your flights.
Mr. B: So the air inside the airplane is extremely dry.
Mr. B: And if you combine that with the fact that people tend to get extremely dehydrated during flights.
Mr. B: This can lead to extreme discomfort it when they are using contact lenses so the simple advice here is that whenever you're taking a flight instead of using contact lenses you should instead use glasses.
Jack: I see so it seems that we finish all fifteen tips for the sport if you like this episode please make sure to leave a review on your listening platform and this is Jack and thanks for listening.
Mr. B: Thank you very much.

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3. Resources

  1. Episode 002 (Digital Nomad Life System)
  2. Episode 004
  3. Episode 036
  4. Episode 025