Last year when I was traveling almost every week I developed a bit of a routine. The same as waking up at the same time or working out around the same time, everything related to traveling became easier the more I did it.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think the best time to buy your domestic plane tickets a month to a month and a half in advance. I have found the for the most part prices are the same from a month out to about a week and a half out and most of my flights last year were bought within two weeks of departure. I usually book the following weeks trip on Monday or Tuesday for a Thursday departure (10 days in advance). I almost exclusively flew American Airlines last year because they had the schedule that fit closest with mine. I would still check the ITA Matrix to see if Delta happened to have a deal for my route, but that was just part of my routine. Sometimes you can get good deals last minute, but within a week of departure you will most likely end up paying a little bit more and have less choice when it comes to seats.
Being AAdvantage Executive Platinum I get complimentary main cabin extra and complimentary domestic upgrades when they are available. When booking I always try to get the first row of coach because it gives a lot of extra legroom sitting in a bulkhead row.
I have always been a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to packing. My packing routine consists of me checking the weather for the time-frame I will be at the destination, checking my schedule to see if I will need any special attire for meetings or parties, putting together the number of shirts, pants, and underwear for the time I will be gone. Pants go on one half of the suitcase shirts on the other and any jacket I will either wear on the airplane or it will go on top of everything. I have a bag that has travel contacts solution, tooth paste, tooth brush, and deodorant that is always in this suitcase so I don’t forget those essentials.
My favorite suitcase is my Tumi Tactics International Carry-On it is almost 3 inches smaller than the “carry on limit” (that no one follows – but that is another post), but it seems to easily fit a whole week’s worth of winter clothes. I may try to pack the whole Maldives, Hong Kong trip in just this suitcase.
My routine for getting to the airport and what I do once I am at the airport has changed slightly recently. Before I would use the priority line (if it was open) and then find a spot near the gate my flight was departing from. Since the new year, I have gotten Global Entry and TSA Precheck, the Citi Prestige Card, and the Business Platinum Card from American Express. TSA precheck makes it A LOT easier to get through security, and the two credit cards come with lounge access: Admirals Club with Citi Prestige and Centurion Lounge or Delta Skyclub (when flying Delta) with the American Express Platinum card. I have found that even though I arrive at the airport at the same time, about an hour to an hour and a half prior to the scheduled departure, I have a lot more time to relax in one of the lounges thanks to TSA Precheck getting me through security that much faster.
Routines are good. They help keep us calm and make our lives easier. Do you have any routines when you travel? Let me know in the comments below!