Try an airport mystery shopping assignment whether or not you're traveling

Since airports are putting a renewed effort into their environments as enticing shopping destinations, some are actively seeking mystery shoppers to complete assignments.

Mystery shoppers might not consider signing up for an airport assignment for many reasons. They may not have travel arrangements that would give them access to the shops and restaurants inside the terminals. If they do have travel arrangements, they may assume they won't have enough time to complete an visit on their way to the gate. 

However, advice site the Mystery Shop Maven explains why none of these reasons necessarily restrict participants from taking these jobs. Since airports are putting a renewed effort into their environments as enticing shopping destinations, some are actively seeking mystery shoppers to complete assignments. Stay-at-home parents, college students and senior citizens can take advantage of these opportunities to earn a little extra money without committing to the responsibilities of regular employment.

How to shop without a boarding pass

Since airports now restrict access to terminals past the security checkpoints to just those individuals with boarding passes, mystery shoppers might not think they can complete assignments on location. However, The Mystery Shop Maven suggests those who are interested in these jobs discuss their concerns with their provider and try to gain access or take a job that doesn't require them to go into restricted areas.

The site explains that providers might be able to discuss the restraints with the client that hired them to perform the assignment. Under certain circumstances, the shopper might be allowed to enter the terminal without a ticket, the source adds. If that is the case, the shopper might be selected to additional jobs because they have already gone through the steps to earn clearance.

If they are unable to enter the terminal, or choose not to petition the mystery shopping company for assistance, shoppers can always take an assignment at the airport parking lot/garage, the blog adds. While this may not seem like the most exciting assignment, it can provide participants with easy cash. They don't have to interact with employees for long (just when paying the parking fee) and the only requirement is often simply to stay in the lot for at least 20 minutes while noting the conditions of the area -  is it clean, well-paved or well-lit?

Complete assignments on your way to the gate

Parking lot assignments are also an option for mystery shoppers who already have travel plans, the site explains. If they want to boost their paycheck and score some free items while traveling to and from their final destination, participants can pick up those jobs as well as those inside the security gates. However, any work they plan to perform will have to be planned well in advance.

Signing up for a few assignments that shoppers don't actually have time to complete could result in what the industry refers to as a "flake." This is when individuals who have agreed to fulfill jobs don't follow through and the provider must find another person to fill in at the last minute. While every company is different, some will blacklist even well-established shoppers for flaking on assignments.

If shoppers are confident they will have enough time to complete the necessary tasks at the terminal - or in the parking lot - they should start studying the assignment requirements. In a busy environment, where they will likely be carrying multiple items, shoppers may be more likely to forget to ask certain questions or time each interaction.

Most importantly, shoppers must remember to complete their report when they reach their final destination, The Mystery Shop Maven cautions. Often, written documents must be submitted with the required materials - a receipt, photo or business card - by a specific deadline. If they miss that deadline, they could forfeit both the cash payment and reimbursement for their purchases. On the other hand, a well executed assignment will earn them a larger paycheck when they get home from vacation, and maybe even free parking to boot.