Catching Worms & Flights - Being An Early Bird
When it comes to travelling, I am that guy; you know the one who if left to book the tickets will seek out the 5:30am departure? That’s me. Not only do I genuinely enjoy watching embers on the horizon envelope the sky in crimson before intensifying to deliver a glowing sunrise, but let’s be honest – traveling early makes the MOST sense, and can save you some money actually.
For as long as I can remember I have been waking up at what seems to be ridiculous hours to most people, but at 4:00am is when I come alive. I prefer waking up early because I get an advantage over 80% of the working and traveling population: 5 extra hours of productivity before 9:00am.
Here are three reasons why you should wake up early, travel early and arrive early on your next trip:
Reason #1 - It’s cheap and you can sleep.
Hear me out.
Most commercial airlines, and in particular the larger carriers have planes scattered across many different airports at any given time. This means that there are sometimes planes that need to be relocated, and there's no benefit to the airlines in flying an empty plane, right? Airlines will post special flights that may involve a plane that would have had to fly from say, Edinburgh to London anyway, so they try and sell a couple of seats at whatever price because for the airline, they would rather make some money, than no money. These are usually wicked early in the morning though.
So you’ve saved $250 traveling at 6:00am instead of 10:45am, now what? Get yourself a neck pillow and sleep. You’ve got a 3.5 hour flight that will land you in New York City just in time to make it from JFK to Egg for brunch and get your day started. If you can’t sleep on planes then this goes out of the window, but you can still rest. Unless you are really suffering from fatigue, travel early and save.
Reason #2 – More time to do sh*t
Disclaimer: I am the most restless person you can imagine. I will pace up and down as I concoct solutions to boredom and I absolute dread having nothing to do.
After a 16 hour flight to Hong Kong nothing would agitate me more than landing at such a time that the only thing I can do is go to bed. Likewise, if I am flying into Cat Island, I want to get there as early as possible. My rationale is simple: I want to have more time, to pack in more activities. There is no point in arriving somewhere so late that you literally have to hop in your Uber (or Lyft, whatever) and go straight to your hotel and go to bed.
If you land early, you can check-in early, take a shower, have a short nap if you didn’t manage to sleep on the flight and then you still have a full day ahead of you to go exploring.
Reason #3 – Thing go awry, sometimes.
Sometimes it’s the fault of the airline, sometimes it’s not but for better or worse flight delays happen.
Traveling early means that you’re ahead of the curve if there’s a delay, at least you still have time to reschedule and make it to your destination. You just don’t know what can happen. Bad weather, mechanical issues with the aircraft, poorly timed union action (which is anytime there is union action) who knows?
I once had a meeting with a client scheduled in Munich, which is a short flight from London – a little under 2 hours. Having gone out in Marylebone the night before (horrible idea) with another client and some colleagues, I hastily changed my flight from 6:40am, to 11:00am so I could bag a few extra hours of sleep. My meeting was at 3:30 so I figured “What the hell could possibly go wrong?” Long story short, I got to the airport just in time to take a seat and wait to find out that my flight was delayed. I ended up stuck until 2:00pm because of the weather, and there was nowhere to get a mimosa in sight.
Needless to say I missed the meeting.
Moral of the story: Shit happens, fly early.
The early bird catches the worm. The worm is a great deal on a flight, you get me?