Happy New Year! As I write this, it's the end of one year and the beginning of another, and as I look back on what I've accomplished this year, I also see what I could have done better. Hopefully these five tips will help you as you travel.
1.) TSA PRE-CHECK IS YOUR FRIEND
Going through security is never fun. Going through security with a backpack full of expensive gear including laptops, camera equipment and an assorted Nintendo item, even more so. Now that cameras are required to be screened separately, it adds another bin of things you need to take out of your bag and pull aside to go through the checkpoint. Do yourself a favor, get TSA PreCheck and save yourself some time for a little money ($85/5yrs), or if you do international work, get Global Entry, which is like TSA PreCheck but for international flights.
2.) LAYER UP WITH POCKETS
In addition to your equipment going through security, you have to yourself, and chances are, you're going to be carrying something metal, at minimum like keys, or possibly watches and or jewelry. I usually wear a jacket that I can tuck all of that stuff into, toss into a bin and send through the scanner. When I'm finished, I just pick up my jacket and keep on going. Layering also gives me the freedom to adjust to a warm terminal/cold airplane or vice-versa.
3.) PICK THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR
I love my leather Timberland Earthkeepers. They've gone with me to New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Tulsa and DC. They're waterproof, which means whether I'm in an East Coast puddle or the West Coast hills, I'm ready to go. But for long flights, I'd pick something a little softer, like the Adidas UltraBoost or NMDs. Keep one pair for taking on whatever comes at you and the other for those 2 1/2 - 5 hour treks across the country.
4.) EVERYTHING COMES WITH YOU, NO EXCEPTIONS
The last thing you want to have happen while going back and forth is your equipment getting lost somewhere because you decided to check it in. If it can be folded, taken apart and condensed, do so and put it in a carry-on bag. ThinkTank makes a few hard case carry-ons just for this sort of scenario. I currently have Incases's DSLR Pro Pack backpack for my camera equipment, as well as Timbuk2's Uptown TSA backpack for getting through security easier. Better to carry it with you and know where it is than to check it in and be in the dark.
5.) TRAVEL LIGHT, TRAVEL SMART
Everything in your bag should serve a very clear and defined purpose. Anything else is excess weight and you should leave it behind. In my case, I am a one-man show, so I have to be mindful that at the end of the day, I'm the one carrying all this with me, so I curate my lens choices depending on the job I'm going to do.
Hopefully these 5 tips can help you get to where you're going faster and smarter. Altogether, they've saved me some stress and time as I've gone across the country.