Managing Early or Late Flights

Very early or very late flights have their advantages:

– early flights can often be the most awesome deals!
– early flights allow you to not waste any of your vacation time before you even start.
– late flights can allow you to travel after work without having to take the afternoon off.
– late flights can let you spend a full day in a city you’re visiting before you fly home.
– a late flight might allow you to sleep overnight on the plane, thus saving a night’s accommodation.
– it’s easier to get a ride to the airport if you’re taking a late flight and a friend or family member can give you a ride after work, and after rush hour traffic.

However, if you’re not careful, early or late flights can cause issues.

– you’re too early or late for public transportation to/from the airport and have to get an expensive cab.

– getting up early for a red-eye flight might put you in a grumpy mood and make you feel jet-lagged for the rest of the day. That on top of travel day stress might cause you to argue with your travel companion/s, or make stupid mistakes like losing things.
Of course, there are options for how to handle this better. Here’s how one super experienced traveler handles travel stress.

– you arrive at your destination tired or end up going back to work really tired.

What are some solutions?

– Consider getting an airport hotel if you are arriving late or departing early on the final day on your trip. Airport hotels are usually cheaper than city center hotels. Make sure you get one that has a free 24 hour shuttle. This way you will also likely save some on your transportation costs. Spend your last afternoon enjoying your trip and then head out to your airport hotel. A quiet, early night on your last night means you’ll be refreshed when you arrive back at work. Most larger airports have a lot of accommodation to choose from. Look for hotels that offer free wifi and/or parking if you’ll be needing those.

– If you’re only going on a short trip then another way airport hotels can save you money is that some offer options where you can stay one night and park free in their car park for 7 or even 14 nights. This can save you some money on airport parking.

– If you’re going to be flying out too early for public transportation or getting a lift to the airport, then you can save some cash by booking airport parking in advance through various companies, including Airparks. Run your numbers to see if this works out better for you than the cost of a cab, especially if you’d need to pay night rates for the cab.

– If you are mainly flying overnight or early morning to make the most of your holiday, rather than to save money, then you could consider trying to bid on an upgrade for your flights. Although I only travel economy, I have friends who swear that they arrive much more rested after having travelled in business class, and that this makes a significant difference to how they feel for the first few days of their trip.

Image by Andei Demofte under Creative Commons license.

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