The article, How the Tough Get Going: Silicon Valley Travel Tips, features tips from several excessive travellers, including our favourite short-cutter, Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, and The 4-Hour Body. This trick is his:
"Pack Heat: Never write “fragile” on your bags unless you want an airport worker “to just wing them against the wall out of spite,” Mr. Ferriss said. For those rare (and hateful) occasions when he must check a bag, he places a cheap starter pistol inside (they don’t use bullets and are available on Amazon or in sporting goods stores), and then declares at the check-in counter that he’s carrying an unloaded and locked firearm. (See T.S.A. firearms guidelines.) No chance the airline will lose track of that bag (for which you need a T.S.A.-approved lock), Mr. Ferriss said. (Don’t even think of trying this on international flights.)"
While we are quite sure we lack the kahunas to actually try this, we rather liked a few of the other tips in the article.
- If you forget your phone or computer charger, "tell the hotel you want to rummage through the lost-and-found bin." You'll almost definitely find what you need.
- "Mr. Ferriss saves space (in his luggage) by leaving his gym clothes and sneakers at home and swimming for exercise instead."
- "...if you have work to do or a stack of magazines to pore over, try it Mr. Ferriss’s way: Go early. Absurdly early." Like five hours early, then work in the lounge stress-free.
Yesterday, a correction was included at the bottom of the article online:
Correction: July 15, 2012
The cover article this weekend about travel advice from frequent travelers in Silicon Valley refers incompletely to the legal issues surrounding one such tip, by the author Tim Ferriss, who discussed packing a starter pistol and declaring it at check-in as a way to insure that a checked bag is not lost. While Transportation Security Administration rules allow such items if properly declared and locked, some local jurisdictions, including New York City, have stricter rules. (A spokesman for the New York Police Department said starter pistols are illegal without a permit.)
Just in case you were actually considering trying this, be warned.