Irritate Hotels with this One Simple Trick

It is still July and I’ve already been on 22 flights this year, even more nights in hotels. I’m not the most traveled person year over year, but I’ve learned a few tricks that might help you out. This isn’t really security related but I’ll try pulling a few elements in to make it interesting.

TSA Pre-Check

Yes. If you travel, this is fantastic. I leave all my belongings in a bag, the lines are short and even when you get pulled into secondary to see if your laptop is explosive heroin, you still come out way ahead of the regular lines. I won’t say buy this if you’re flying primarily international, or not often. But if domestic flights are your weekly chore, this saves an amazing amount of time.

Taxi, Uber or Lyft?

I stopped taking taxis. I’ve found that they are often just dirty and there’s no really good way to ensure the rate is understood and you may not even get a receipt.

I live in the range of MKE (General Mitchell Airport, Wisconsin), MDW (Midway Airport, Chicago IL), and ORD (O’Hare International, Chicago IL). Because of that, I try to take the smaller airports if possible… But the most cost economical option as far as ride sharing apps go that also offers several non-stop domestic and international flights will be ORD. MDW offers Southwest (which I love), but the rideshare fares there are usually $85 each way. Uber tends to surge price up to $135 each way. Lyft is pretty consistent and I ended up taking them during the surge pricing.

Last week I noticed that surge pricing when I flew from ORD to LAX. Today I decided I would check into the pricing when flying from ORD to BOS, and here’s what I seen:

Lyft vs. Uber
Lyft vs. Uber

Right there is nearly $20 savings for no other reason than selecting Lyft. Really a shame since I have so many points with Uber and over 50 rides, but the numbers don’t lie. On a side note, Lyft won’t let you book a ride without tipping, rating and writing a review about your last ride. Pretty annoying when you just got off a plane an to the rideshare area, but still, worth it.

Texting, E-Mailing or Working on the plane

Yes, I can pretend to look down at the endless clouds and also see you typing up E-Mails with your Apple ID, the profit margins of your doctors office, or anything else you’re typing. You don’t know who you’re sitting next to, so remember that before pulling up information that can easily be compromised by strangers.

Not all heros wear capes

Plug Splitters
Plug Splitters

Here I am at the Godfrey Boston, finding a great way to turn one outlet into 5. You can plug in phone chargers, laptops, whatever you want… And TSA allows these and they will make you have an easier time at the hotel, and a friggin’ hero at the airport when tons of people can share an outlet (or, an outlet sticker ;)).

Backup Batteries

Great for when you’re away from an outlet, I have a wireless battery brick that’s right at the TSA limit and juices up my phone. These are allowed not in your checked luggage, but your carry-on. This is due to the lithium batteries. They don’t want the luggage compartment to go up, they’d rather notice sooner than later.

First Class Seats

Unless you’re a “person of size”, first class is a gimmick. Those seats are only marginally bigger than economy and you’re better off just sucking it up for the few hours you’re on a plane. There’s very little interesting about sitting next to folks just like you who feel stupid for paying an extra $230 for a 1st class seat.

You can lockpick on a plane… Seriously!

Picking on a Plane
Picking on a Plane

Here I am cracking open a Master 140 and a few 142s in the middle of California airspace. Over and over again. (I’m still working on getting a 570 :(). TSA is perfectly fine ( with them (just use something to protect the sharp parts of your picks, such as a water bottle, endmill sleeve or bubble packaging). These are fidget spinners for folks in security and really helps to pass the time.

Turbulence Ain’t Nuffin’

I’ve flown through nasty thunderstorms (they look really pretty from ~37k feet, really dark and flashy at about ~10k feet, and really wet around 6k feet). I’ve been in 19-passenger jets as well as American 777-300’s with high-300 person capacities. All of them tend to have some bounces in mid air, while landing, and sometimes take their sweet time pulling up in the air. Oddly enough, I’m still alive. Pretty neat.

Real ID Act

October 1st, 2020, the TSA will require “Real IDs”. Read up on the Real ID act if you’d like. Illinois, like usual, isn’t onboard with much and has pushed off moving to real IDs for some time. You can submit the plethora of documentation to get a Real ID, or in my case, you can just get a passport card. A rarity for American families, my wife and kids all have traveled internationally and have passports and passport cards. They’re good for 10 years (5 if you’re really young) and work just fine. Passport cards are only good for domestic flights, or boat/land borders. International travel still requires the good ‘ol book.

I don’t know it all

I’d love to hear your traveling tips in the comments, maybe I’ll add them to this document as well! Safe travels!

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Robert Lerner

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