The Best Airport Travel Hack

Throughout my travels, I have learned a few travel hacks, tips, and tricks that make journeying to a new destination a little bit easier. Not that I mind 40+ hour journeys if it gets me to interesting locations far from home, but sometimes you arrive a little less than fresh and rejuvenated by those long, dry flights.

It was on a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg in South Africa that I discovered what is now one of my best airport travel hacks. I spent the day cage diving with great white sharks near Cape Town and had a flight booked that evening to Johannesburg to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I was going from the ocean direct to the airport, still covered in salt water.

Mere hours before I needed to step on a plane and celebrate New Years Eve in a different city.

Mere hours before I needed to step on a plane and celebrate New Years Eve in a different city.

I had several hours to spend at the airport but would not have time to shower when I flew in to Johannesburg. My flight arrived after 9pm and we were heading out right away to celebrate. So I considered my options. It was too expensive to taxi into Cape Town to a hostel for a quick shower (which was overbooked for the holiday in the first place – that’s another story), and calling around to the hotels close to the airport for a day-use shower came with a high fee of $50CAN which would not fit my budget. I continued to Google my options and discovered that many airports offer private lounges not affiliated with an airline that are open to the public to use for a fee. This particular fee was a mere $17CAN for a shower, unlimited food and drink, free Wi-Fi, and a safe space to relax before my flight. That is what you might spend on food alone in an airport – and that doesn’t always guarantee free Wi-Fi. It was clear to me what decision I needed to make, so I booked it.

Just a small glimpse of the private lounge I had access to for 3 hours.

Just a small glimpse of the private lounge I had access to for 3 hours.

I admit to feeling a little special as I pushed the elevator button to the private lounge access area. I checked in and was shown immediately to a clean shower with fresh towels and complimentary soap and a hair dryer. I dolled myself up for the pending night out (which resulted in a lovely compliment from the air steward when I boarded the plane) and for the next few hours, enjoyed sampling the tasty food available to me. I dipped into the wine, as there was a full selection of beverages you could help yourself to. May as well get prepped for a fun night out, right? I enjoyed the view of the tarmac, free Wi-Fi to update my blog, and comfortable couches and chairs to relax in while I waited for my boarding call.

Just a small glimpse of the private lounge I had access to for 3 hours.

As much free food and drink as you’d like to enjoy for a variety of palates.

If you ever want a little privacy, some delicious food and a quiet place to rest before a big flight, I’d highly recommend checking into public-use lounges at airports. They’re worth every penny, and are one of my best kept secrets while traveling abroad.

5 thoughts on “The Best Airport Travel Hack

  1. Hello Ashlyn George you could never find a job like the one you have and you at my school mother Teresa school rember

  2. Hi Ash, well written article and a great tip… I’ll be sure to remember that for future flights.

    By the way, I recall being offered a first class seat on a flight from Harare Zimbabwe to London when I was the last person on the plane… apparently they had overbooked the economy class and the last few people boarding had to sit in first class… I’m not sure how often this happens or if it’s worth trying to be the last person onto the plan… not sure if you would care to look into this and give us your feedback PS, also really curious to find out how your new job is going and maybe a link to the website that you’re marketing would be really great 🙂 wishing you all the best from Zim.

    1. Richard! So good to hear from you 🙂 Where are you these days? In Zim now?

      Saskatchewanderer.ca is where I post a few articles and videos, but most of it is through Facebook (facebook.com/Skwanderer). It’s been really great to travel around home for a while. This year is breezing by!

      Keep in touch 🙂

  3. Congrats on your Job! I don’t think you could find one more suitable than that! Remember us when you see the clean blvds and freshly cut grass. 🙂

    1. Thanks Shane! I’m honestly really sad to not come back tomorrow but it was about time for me to move on. Plus you get to move up in seniority now! 😉 I’ll make sure to visit!

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