10 things I do to survive airports and flying


My work means that I’m often at airports and flying from place to place. Sometimes I love it and other times I hate it. Here’s a list of things that I do very self consciously to try and stop myself either going crazy, getting sick, or getting frazzled and worn down:

  1. Avoid alcoholI love a glass of wine (or two) especially in the evenings. However, if I’m flying I’m convinced that any alcohol (even a small amount) makes me terribly dehydrated and hungover. So now I have a rule: If I’m flying I won’t drink any booze. This includes at the airport, in a lounge, or on the plane.
  2. Drink only water or juice: Usually at the end of a couple of days of training I’m tired, sleep deprived, and dehydrated. Drinking lots of water, juice, or tea helps me get on top of this.
  3. Avoid high carb foods: I’m not totally committed to this, but I think I generally feel better if I stay away from bread, biscuits, pasta, and other high carb foods if I’m on the move. Instead, I’ll pick out stuff that I know is not going to sit like lead in my stomach. I’ll snack on bits and pieces or the nuts I pinched from the mini bar at the hotel.
  4. Change into comfortable clothes: I’ve been caught a few times with cancelled flights or other disruptions following training trips where I’ve been wearing my work clothes and shoes. This sucks. If this happens and I have to suddenly get on a bus or take other actions I want to be wearing something comfortable like jeans and a sweatshirt. And really comfortable shoes that I can walk in if necessary. This means I need to think about getting changed before I check my luggage.
  5. Don’t touch anything: This is not actually possible, but I have become a bit of a germ freak. I got really sick last year and now I am extremely conscious of what I touch and about washing my hands. It’s not rocket science really…
  6. Check in with family: This is probably a no brainer as well. I always txt home and let them know I’m at the airport and that everything is going to plan. And if anything changes (like the weather) I’ll update family immediately just so there are no surprises later on. That way if I have to make alternative arrangements we’ve all had time to think through the implications of me not being home when I had planned.
  7. Not delude myself about how much work I’ll get done: I used to be convinced that I’d get so much done when I was waiting in the Koru Lounge or in the couple of hours of downtime on the plane. I know this really works for people too, but I’m pretty much useless at working in these kinds of places, especially if I’m tired. So now, I set myself pretty much zero expectations of getting anything extra done. And then I don’t feel frustrated or disappointed.
  8. Joined the AirNZ Koru Club: To be honest, I don’t really like the “free” food… it’s all pasta and sandwiches and stuff that I’m happy to eat sometimes, but don’t really need to eat. I also don’t drink the “free” booze either. What I’m paying for is a comfortable place to sit, relax, leave my stuff while I use the bathroom, and use the internet. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it, especially just to have access to a power point to plug in my laptop and charge my phone.
  9. Charge all devices: There is nothing worse than having a cancelled flight and being stuck somewhere like on a complimentary coach ride to nowhere with flat mobile phone. If my phone is charged I have access to the internet, to my family, and to things like audiobooks to pass the time. I always charge everything up while I’m waiting for the plane. Then I can at least live tweet that insane midnight coach trip from hell for my own amusement.
  10. Have great carry on luggage: This probably sounds crazy but I am obsessed with carry on luggage. I have a couple of great bags that I use depending on what I’m doing. I’ve got two soft laptop bags – one medium sized Waterfield Cargo and one skinny Defy Bags Recon Messenger, and a very cool Goruck GR1 backpack. All three can take up around the carry on limit of 7kg for laptop and other gadgets. I love this gear so much I’ll probably have to write them up in a separate blog post…

Any tips on how you survive airports and flying? Hit the comment button and let me know…

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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