The Consummate Traveler: Rules to Remember When Leaving for the Airport

During the course of my 17-plus years of business travel, I have certainly had my share of mishaps and dramas on the way to the airport. I can remember one trip a few years ago where I got caught in a horrible traffic jam en route to JFK Airport in New York. Although it took me a total of four hours to get there, some of my colleagues were not as lucky and missed the flight.

Making sure you get to the airport in one piece and on time is an essential part to any travel experience. Let’s review some rules to remember on your day of travel.

• No liquids one hour prior to leaving: In my opinion, this is one of the most important tips I can offer, unless you live 15 minutes away from the airport. Traffic can be so unpredictable, and if your belly is full of water, coffee, or whatever, it can make for a very uncomfortable ride. This happened on my last trip. A colleague didn’t want to throw out her large container of coconut water, so she drank it right before we jumped into our car. Wouldn’t you know, we were stuck in traffic and she was almost in tears since there was nowhere to stop for a restroom.

• Lock your doors: Once, I was rushing out of the front door so quickly that I forgot to lock it. I was leaving for a three-week trip, so that would have been a huge disaster. Luckily, my sixth sense kicked in, and I asked the driver to let me go back and check my door to remedy the situation. I advise everyone to double-check all side doors, garages, and front doors before heading to the airport. If possible, leave a set of keys with a trusted neighbor or relative just in case.

• Do your own passport control: I have developed an important ritual every time I leave for a trip. I call it my “passport and credit card control” check. Just before pulling out of my driveway, I ensure that I have my most current passport and my credit cards with me. I always joke with my driver by stating that as long as I have those two things, I can go anywhere and do anything! It’s actually true.

• Give yourself an extra hour: My company books all of my car service arrangements and usually arranges the pick-up time too tight for my comfort. I always end up calling and moving my departure one hour earlier or more, depending what airport I am going to. This has saved me a number of times. There could be traffic jams, accidents, or crazy security lines at the airport. My philosophy is that I would rather be waiting an extra hour at the gate in the airport, versus cutting it close and sweating bullets in a car or in a line. Have peace of mind and budget extra time for every trip you make to the airport.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!