Air Travel 101 – Trip Tips

MBA students travel a surprising amount, and after our recent trip to Israel as part of Cornell Tech’s iTrek, we compiled the list below of important travel tips. Some of us are seasoned travel veterans, and some are new to the game. I’m somewhere in-between, but I think this list will help anyone who is about to take flight.

  1. ticket prices increase the closer to your departure date – this one is pretty simple. Don’t wait to book! The sweet spot is 54 days before your travel, and the best days to book are Tuesday through Thursday – not weekends!
  2. finding a direct flight should be significantly preferred – unless you enjoy sleeping in airports, avoiding layovers reduces the possibility of a lost bag and eliminates the possibility of missing a connection. An overnight layover that I recently had in London totaled $140 in taxis and a hotel – not exactly a bargain.
  3. travel light – packing less and leaving a little space will give you the flexibility to buy things on your trip and carry less when traveling.
  4. signup for miles rewards programs – rewards programs these days are basically just currencies controlled by airlines. They give them away, for free, when you travel with them. Warning: keep an eye on the expiration dates.
  5. in a hurry? Carrying on is always faster – even if you get a free checked bag, carrying on will be less waiting and less of a headache. Be sure to board first so the overhead bin doesn’t fill up.
  6. TSA Pre-check is inexpensive and the greatest thing ever – $85 for five years ($17 a year) gets you the best kept secret that most casual travelers don’t know. TSA Pre-check will make you (almost) enjoy breezing through a shorter security line at US airports. CLEAR is a more expensive alternative that is also available internationally.
  7. always make an attempt at language/cultural understanding – locals always appreciate it when you attempt to meet them on their level. Struggling through a phrase or two can be worth it, and you might even learn something or create a great memory.
  8. travel comfortable – This is mostly preference, but travel can be uncomfortable. Sweatpants and comfortable shoes make everything better!
  9. think ahead about your sleep schedule – Doing this will really help alleviate jet lag. There’s even an app called Entrain developed at the University of Michigan that uses science to help you adjust to your destination timezone.
  10. always use the best resources to plan (and book)

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