Tidbits for travelers: tips and useful tools

 

It’s hard to stay up to date on all the changes you might encounter at airports and on airplanes these days.

Cheat sheets come in handy.

In a blog post titled “Expedited airport security: We all want it but how do we get it?,” GateGuru put together a good run-down on how to get qualified to use the TSA’s expedited security lines at airports.

The take-away: you can pay to join some programs; you must qualify for others, but if you get ‘in’ you’ll save some time and hassle at many – but not all – airports.

And in a column “Handy Tips From Those in the Know,” in the New York Times, Joe Sharkey shares some great travel tips from expert travelers.

The take-away: In addition to reminding us to steer clear of the Cinnabons and to always wear clean underwear to the airport because “You never know when you’re going to get strip-searched,” Sharkey includes a travel tip from Christopher Schaberg, whose book “The Textual Life of Airports: Reading the Culture of Flight” (Continuum, 2011), is sitting here on my desk. “Pay attention not only to public art in airports, but also to your own place within, no matter how grim or humble a concourse might seem,” said Schaberg. “Think of your time spent in the airport as an art walk of sorts. You are actually part of a giant, living art piece, the architectural matrix and social swirl that we recognize as airport life.”

Sharkey didn’t ask for a travel tip from me, but if he had I would have told him: When you’re stuck at the airport, don’t just sit there, poke around. That’s how I found some wonderful art and history exhibits, my favorite skirt and shops selling everything from used books to locally-crafted treasures. And: don’t forget to look out the window.