I subscribe to a ton of newsletters mostly focused on travel, news and deals. I also sign up to the newsletters of friends and colleagues to see what they’re sharing. The other day, one of them reminded me of an important travel tip, which is the inspiration for this article. RELATED: How To Avoid Long Lines When You Travel … and At Home

My friend Aly Walansky is a travel writer and the subject line of her newsletter last week caught my attention. The subject line was: My top tips for being productive while at the airport. Of course, I’m interested in top tips for being productive in the airport so I was curious about her advice.

Most of what Aly had to write didn’t resonate with me personally except point number three. She says: “Set a timer. This is SO important. Working in airports can feel as a kind of time vacuum. Almost like working in a casino cafe (which, I’ve done too…)…you don’t want to get so in the zone with work that you lose track of time and miss your flight!”

Aly is so right and I wrote a similar tip about this in 2013.

I always set an alarm, whether I’m working or not. I think it’s most important to do it just in case jet lag kicks in and I doze off or I start talking to someone and I lose track of time.

It’s also imperative to make sure you’re on the right time zone when you’re connecting. This is why I always set my time zone to local time on my laptop, especially when I’m making a connection because I don’t want to get mixed up.

Fortunately, these days our smart phones and digital watches update themselves but I still double check the departure board clock just to make sure my time is correct.

I learned this tip the hard way a couple decades ago while on a European train. think I was traveling from Germany to Switzerland. Back then I had a (dumb) phone that didn’t do anything but make calls and text. And an analog watch, which required me to manually set the time if I changed time zones. My fingers used to hurt because I was constantly changing the time and I couldn’t go backwards, only forwards so if the time zone involved a date changed, I needed to wind that thing for days. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

Anyway, I was so tired I fell asleep and missed my stop to make a connection. Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge a mistake but now when I take a train, I also set my alarm for 10 minutes before my scheduled stop just in case I fall asleep.

How about you? Have you ever missed a flight, train or stop because you didn’t set an alarm?

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1 Comment On "The Easy Trick That Ensures I Never Miss a Flight, Train, or Ferry"
  1. patrick|

    How about making sure you are at the right gate? Sound pretty straight foward and it is unless you make assumptions.
    I had a connecting flight out of gate C24. When I arrived I came in a A22. I assumed my departure was “just over there” at 24. I wasn’t paying attention that it was C24 and not A24. I wondered about the airport for awhile and went back to A24 and when it got close to departure time I looked around and wondered why there wasn’t anyone lining up? Checked my BP and oops. Time to run to get C24. And it was a long run.
    Double check your gate!

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