Seasoned Traveler: Mike Rubendall

New York-based tattoo artist and owner of Kings Avenue Tattoo, Mike Rubendall traverses the globe, attending tattoo conventions, studying woodblock prints and Edo period art in Japan and China, and, of course, working (he’s typically booked more than 2 years in advance), all while cramming in as much sightseeing as possible. We tapped the frequent flier for his tips on avoiding baggage fees, beating jet lag, and making the most of “airport time.”

Travel hero. George Clooney in Up in the Air. I wish I were as efficient a traveler as he is.

On airport time. “Airport time” is the window of time before you board and after you check in. Nobody is looking for you and you have nowhere to be. It's time to do absolutely nothing if you choose to. These small windows of peace and quiet are rare for me and I cherish every minute. This is why I absolutely love good airports.

Invest in a scale. I'm now experienced enough to know what the bare essentials really are, but I still recommend investing in a mini luggage scale. You know exactly how much your bags weigh so you don't get hammered with overweight charges or have to scramble to repack your bags while you're on line. It has saved me a lot of time and money over the years.

To check or not to check. Check, 100%.

Jet lag prevention. Red wine pre-take off, business class, and a blindfold. Plenty of rest and hydration is key for me to perform at my highest level after a long trip.

On list-making. Before traveling, I do extensive research on the location and speak to people that have been there before. I put together a list of places to visit, break it up into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, historical spots, and areas with great atmosphere and nightlife. I try to cram in as much as possible to really maximize my trip.

Best souvenir. Handmade Japanese Noh masks. As far as people, architecture, Cuisine, history and culture, Japan was mind blowing for me. In Kyoto I was fortunate enough to explore many temples. The one temple that really stands out is Sanjūsangen-dō. It’s a temple of the Tendai school of Buddhism. It’s a room of more than a thousand Buddhas, all handmade and unique in their own way.

Travel theme song. Frank Sinatra, Come Fly with Me.

Grooming on the go. I'm a bald guy who is constantly on a quest for shaving products that will make life easy and make my super sensitive skin cooperate. Thank goodness Birchbox discovered Grooming Lounge’s The Greatest Shave Ever Try Me Kit.

Want more unexpected tips for packing, flying, and arriving in style? Check out the rest of our Seasoned Traveler series.

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