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I recently returned from a weekend trip and came to the astonishing realization that I have traveled to 11 different cities in the past two-and-a-half months. None of these trips were for work, and all of these trips were escapades that ended in hangovers. As a registered travel agent with the International Association of Travel Agents, I get preferential treatment and costing in all aspects of travel. Like the irresponsible person that I am, I rationalize that many trips would be cheaper than going out in NYC for a weekend anyway, so I leave all the time. At this point, I’ve come to the realization that the economics behind that train of thought are shoddy at best, but I have mastered the art of travel. So here are a few tips from the least qualified IATA member outside of the employees of Delta.
Be A Loyal Customer
We’re just starting out this journey into a branded life and are a generation that does not necessarily see the benefits of brand loyalty like our elders – except for Coke vs. Pepsi. Fuck Pepsi. Point being, you might be tempted to save $20 rather than picking one airline over the other, but that’s not the move, kid. Sure, if you’re only flying every once in a while then you want to save money where you can, but if you see yourself flying for years to come, you should probably pick an airline and stick to it. Huge savings and sales will make you break this rule, but odds are if one airline is having a sale on a route then other airlines are having similar issues filling those seats and will have similar prices. I don’t care what you prefer to fly, but sticking with one airline comes with benefits. Start racking up those miles and taking advantage of being “a valued customer,” because every airline is going to fuck you over at some point, but they prefer helping people that have a track record of flying with them. It’s basic customer service, people. Put yourself in a position to win.
Higher Prices Often Cost Less
You found a steal on a 3-star hotel for $99 a night in Nashville? Dude, you’re the man. I can’t wait to get down there and tear up the nightlife with you. Wait, this says the hotel is 5 miles from downtown? If the prices are off by 20-30 dollars, think about what that 20-30 bucks could actually get you. If it’s a prime location with a hotel, a rental with 10 more mpg or a flight not on Spirit Airlines, it’s probably worth it. Cabs cost money, gas costs money and your time is worth money.
Be A Better Packer
It’s a weekend with your friends, not a weekend full of dates with different contestants from America’s Next Top Model. Pack light. Checking bags is one of the most annoying and risky moves you could make for a short trip. And not just because they charge you an arm and a leg to check bags. Delta used to lose my bags on such a consistent basis when I was flying in and out of Northwest Florida that Gabe, the Delta baggage rep, only needed a simple wave from me while everyone else was in line to register my lost bag. Gabe is the homie; I bought him a gift last Christmas. Pack the carry-on items you are allotted with the necessities: electric razor, toothbrush and hat (unless you shower, then substitute the hat for toiletries in small ass bottles). I recommend the hat, though.
Delta is going to lose your bags; it’s kind of what they do. American’s flight will be delayed; it’s kind of their thing. Don’t cut corners and try to make tight schedules. It won’t happen. If you’re a valued customer, you’ll probably be in a position to get some drink vouchers or miles added to your account. Expect that everything is going to go terribly wrong, and then nothing will really piss you off.
Phil Dunphy said it best: “The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you when you just lower your expectations.”