The weekend is my hard-earned precious time to devote to myself and my relationships. I do NOT want to spend that time waiting around on transportation and the like. As someone who is always on the go and experiencing change at a frequent rate, I am constantly looking for novel shortcuts. I encourage you to push the 24-hour limit in a day and look for areas to reduce travel time. Trying new potential shortcuts can be time consuming, but it really helps out in the long run (example of a trial run at the bottom). Here are some of my favorite travel hacks I use every weekend when I fly home to SF.
- Vagabond on travel day
- Rides in advance
- Avoid checking bags
This is Part 2 in my series on maximizing personal time. Enjoy!
Rides in Advance
I have TSA pre-check so security is rarely an issue, but there are plenty of other ways time can be wasted while traveling. I used to spend a lot of time waiting for lyfts/ubers once I landed at my destination. That is because the apps force you to specify which door you’re at before ordering the ride. By the time I figured out which door I would be at, I was already there, and the ride would still be 8+ minutes away. But now, much to uber and lyft’s dismay, I realized it’s only important to know which terminal you’re landing in. If you show up in terminal 1 closer to door 8 than door 5, it’s not the end of the world and you can just walk to the door you ordered in a few minutes. But if you specify terminal 2 and end up at terminal 1 door 8, you’re about to cause a lot of mayhem with the ride. So now I check ahead of time before landing as to which terminal I’ll be arriving in. I open my app as soon as we land and get ready to order my ride. I order it as soon as I hear the “ding!” indicating the cabin door is open and we’re definitely disembarking the aircraft. Then I speed-walk straight to the departures level. Usually my ride and I show up at the same time, and I haven’t kept one waiting yet. This has worked well for me at both SFO and LAX.
Avoid Checking Bags
Note I do not stop in baggage claim. I try to avoid checking bags at all costs, no matter where I’m going or for how long. That is because the last thing I want to do is wait for a bag. Sometimes bags pop right out, and other times they take forever and completely put a damper on otherwise smooth travels.
I drafted this post in December. I had just arrived in Asia and was writing from a Hong Kong Starbucks while waiting for a ferry. Taking quick inventory, I had one backpack and one carry-on. I'd packed clothing for warm Asia weather, freezing Indianapolis weather, and comfortable LA weather. Plus I had workout clothes and my NYE outfit. That was 2 weeks and 3 locations worth of clothing. We’ll talk about packing later ;)
Vagabond on travel day
This is my favorite. I love being a vagabond for some reason and relish in the time it saves. On Friday mornings, I take myself and all LA belongings in an uber to Equinox (my gym in Westwood). I exercise, shower, change, and then uber to work in Venice and park my luggage under my desk for the day while I'm whizzing around between meetings.
My suitcase and I do all this ubering on Friday mornings for 2 reasons:
- I don't have to go home after work to get my suitcase.
- I can leave my car at home in Brentwood and avoid fees/tickets/tows over the weekend for parking pretty much anywhere else.
Work in Venice is much closer to the airport than home in Brentwood, so it saves almost two hours to not have to stop home after work.
Travel Hack Trial Runs
In order to fit exercising in on Fridays but leave my car behind in the morning, I had to try out something new the other week: If I bring my carry-on to Equinox, will it fit in a locker so I don’t need to pack gym clothes in an extra bag? I don’t want to be stuck with a duffel bag in addition to my suitcase and backpack at the end of the day when I’m trying to head straight to the airport. I drove to work that Friday to test it out since I could leave stuff in my trunk in the worst case where the suitcase could not function as my gym bag in my locker. I took the hit that week because I had to return my car after work, but now I know the carry-on at the gym works for the future and can build this into my routine!
If you’re making a life change and will be entering a new chapter, give yourself a couple of weeks or a month to try different things out. Things will absolutely be messy at first, but it's essential to try things out to figure out what works best for you. You may waste some time or money up front, but it will leave you with a solid routine and adaptability in the future.