Ten Things You Can Do to Make Your Next Airport Trip a Breeze
Updated: May 24, 2022
Welcome to your next lesson on learning how to travel like a star! Airports---notorious for bringing nothing but stress, time-crunches, and battling crowds of other irritable travelers. That's why it's essential to be as prepared as possible before entering the airport. Though these may seem like small "hacks," these tips can make a world of difference when it comes to handling the little irritants of the airport. Keep on reading to learn more about how you can optimize navigating TSA, checking in, and more.
Book an Early Morning Flight or a Late Night Flight
Both times have their advantages, so let's take a look:
Early flights are best for avoiding turbulence. Though it can never be guaranteed to be avoided entirely, flying early is your best bet for minimizing it. Red-eye flights are best for a peaceful airport experience. If crowds stress you out, consider booking the latest flight you can handle. On the plane, you can sleep, enjoy a book or movie, and even watch the sunrise as you coast into your destination if you travel late enough. Plan late for a quiet, peaceful trip.
Upgrade Your Carry-On Game
Your carry-on is your chance to ensure you have the most comfortable trip possible. To step up your carry-on, consider pro packing items like a quality pair of headphones, a portable charger, a reusable water bottle, hand sanitizer, wet wipes (this one is seriously a must when you find out how little seats and trays are wiped!), and your own snacks. For more carry-on packing tips and tricks, check out a previous blog post here that goes into more detail.
Go Left When Choosing a Security Line
Possibly the worst part of any trip is going through security. There're coats and shoes to shed, electronics and liquids to pull out, several different bins to juggle, and those lines take forever. For the chance to speed up this process, consider going against what may be your initial instinct and veer to the left instead of the right. Because most people are righthanded, they are more likely to choose the right line. Take advantage of this and choose the leftmost line for the opportunity to avoid the dreaded TSA traffic jam.
Pro-tip: Consider carry-on packing cubes to keep your electronics and liquid in their own separate sack. That way, you can simply pull them all out at once when it's time to deconstruct your packing.
Make Your Luggage the Star of the Show
Millions of people go through the airport every day. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to be on the same flight as someone with the exact same luggage set as you. Make yours stand out from the crowd as much as possible with decorative tape, ribbons, or a unique luggage tag.
Up the security even more by taking a picture of your luggage before dropping it off. That way, in the unlikely event of your luggage getting lost in transit, you will have a handy reference photo for whoever is helping you out.
Look Up Reviews on Seat Selection
Because every plane is different, things such as the layout and seat placement will differ. Before hitting that definitive "confirm selection" button, check out SeatGuru to find your seat map, comparison charts, and even reviews for your specific seat. This way, you can plan around accessing the bathroom, legroom, and other accommodations. If your airline does not allow the option for assigned seating, don't be afraid to call your airline ahead of time to explain your specific situation if you need special accommodation. Most airlines are happy to help make your experience memorable with seats to allow closer access to the bathroom, more legroom, seatbelt extenders, and more.
Upgrade Your Experience
Some airlines offer VIP lounge memberships for their frequent fliers. This is a great way to unwind in luxury before your flight with premium service. If you are not a frequent flier, it's also an option to pay for a membership. You may also consider upgrading your flight experience itself with premium, business, or first-class seating. For long international flights, this may just be the experience you need to look forward to your long-haul flight, rather than dread it.
Choose Your Booking Day Wisely
According to CheapAir, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days of the week to book air travel. When you book in the middle of the week, you could save yourself an average of $73 per ticket. The cheapest days to travel, on the other hand, are Thursday and Friday. The cheapest months to travel are January and February. If you're on a date budget but still looking for a little adventure, consider booking a winter weekend away.
Take a Detour to Departures for Your Taxi
Once you arrive, it can sometimes be near impossible to get a taxi right out the gate. Instead of battling it out in the arrivals, try swinging by departures instead, where traffic is 80% faster. It will be a much less congested area to get your bearings. There, plenty of cabs are dropping off travelers, freeing them up for you to use. Just be sure to be quick about hailing them!
Skip the Baggage Line All Together
Save money on checking a bag, save yourself the worry of size requirements, and save yourself the hassle of waiting for your baggage to arrive by shipping your luggage directly to your home, resort, or hotel with ShipGo. Traveling light frees you from the burden of stressful packing, plus it's a great way to get big equipment to where you need to go. On a golf or ski trip, this assurance that your expensive investment will be handled with care is priceless. Check out their website for more information on how it works.
Carry Two Wallets
Though it may seem counterintuitive to separate out your belongings, having a separate wallet for cash and another for credit cards is the ultimate insurance in case one goes missing. While it's best to avoid this scenario as carefully as possible, things do happen. This method ensures that you won't be losing everything at once. Without your cards, at least you'll still have some cash, and vice versa. Similarly, it may be a good idea to separate your cards as well. That way, in the event of an emergency, you'll only have to deactivate one or two bank or credit cards instead of the whole bunch. Talk about a traveling nightmare!
Big thanks to the folks over at The Money Time for their 40 airport hacks. Check out the article that inspired this post right here. Of course, there's more where that came from when it comes to traveling hacks! Connect with me here to discover what else I can teach you and how I can ensure the smoothest trip possible and take care of some of these tips for you! I look forward to hearing about your next travel plans. Got some more tips on how you like to tackle the airport like a star? Chime in with your comments!
Thank you for checking in this week! Until next time, toodles!