One day I will be a responsible blogger and regularly update. I’m working on it! I’ve actually pre-written quite a few posts, so it should improve. Bear with me! As I’ve been posting so much about traveling, I thought I’d share my top 10 tips and tricks for making a trip through the airport easier. Everyone knows that the airport can be an absolute nightmare, so anything I can do to make it less horrific is gold. Some of these will be pretty obvious, but nonetheless, essential.
1. Weigh your bags before you get to the airport.
This is so so so so so important. It used to be that you could rock up at the airport, check a bag for free and go along your merry little way, but those days are no longer. In today’s world you get charged outrageous fees if your bag is even one pound heavier than the limit. It’s a good idea to weigh each bag before you go, so that way you’re not surprised at the check-in counter.
2. Arrive early!
Ok-this is sort of a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people I know that have missed planes because they got stuck in security. Especially nowadays, TSA (or the equivalent) can take forever. I have literally stood in a security line for over an hour. My rule of thumb is generally to arrive at least 2 hours before my flight, especially if that flight is international. Around peak season, like the holidays, I usually add about 30 mins to an hour. You never know what can happen; you might get pulled for extra screening, you may have to go back and check a bag, the US soccer team might show up and delay everyone. Hey-it’s possible. Bottom line- having too much time is better than not enough.
3. Have all documents ready and available
Nothing, I repeat, nothing is more annoying than somebody digging through their backpack for their passport because they somehow missed the part about being in line for security. Make sure that when you get in line you have your boarding pass, Passport/ID, and any other visas/documents you might need ready and out. It makes the process so much faster, and nobody will be contemplating your slow demise in their head. Double tip: Do your research and make sure that you actually have all the correct documents-some countries require special visas even if you’re going as a tourist for a short period of time.
4. Wear easily removable shoes/jewelry
So I know that many countries don’t require you to remove your shoes/jewelry when you go through security-but for the ones that do this is a biggie. I never understand people that wear knee-high, twisty, gladiator, high heel, tie back shoes when they’re getting on a plane. Same goes for people who wear 37 rings and bracelets. News flash: You’re holding everyone up. My favorite shoes to wear are either slip on Vans/Toms/etc, or shoes that have a zip up side that I can just step out of. I don’t generally wear jewelry besides my engagement ring, which is easy to slip off if I have to.
5. Dress for your destination
I’ll admit-this is spoken from experience. You know what happens when you fly dressed for Barcelona, but you’re going to Nottingham? You freeze to death. Ok-maybe that’s a big dramatic, but you catch my drift. Check in the morning what the forecast for your destination is, and dress for it. You may not be the most comfortable while at your departure location, but you will be happy for it once you get where you’re going. Layers are key when it comes to this! You can always add/remove to adjust for your destination.
6. Bring your own snacks
Airport food is super expensive-for no reason. While you can’t bring beverages with you past security, you can bring some foods. I always bring a few snacky items like peanut butter crackers, chips, etc. You can sometimes bring fruit or veggies, depending on where you’re going. Just make sure to double check the regulations on bringing food onto your aircraft or into another place. If you’re going to have to spend $3-5 on a bottle of water, you might as well save some cash on the food.
7. Try to avoid buying the airport Wifi
I discovered this when I was in London- I have a 7 am flight to Amsterdam and I had to spend the night in the airport. The wifi is super expensive and you normally only get about an hour free. I happened to be in the airport Starbucks, and I realized I could use their free connection instead of paying for the airport one. Now- you usually have to buy something at these places, but hey- a $4 coffee isn’t bad compared to the outrageous pricing of airport wifi!
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for upgrades
Now- you won’t always get anything, but sometimes you can get free upgrades if you ask at the gate. Sometimes the plane isn’t fully booked so you can get a little extra leg room. Once I even got upgraded to first class just because I asked if there was a spot! It’s never guaranteed, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
9. Bring something to do
I made the mistake once of downloading just one movie for the flight, and thought I’d be golden because that was all the downtime I’d have. Long story short-my flight got delayed by 2 hours…and I had nothing to do on the plane. It was terrible and I was bored. I always have at least one movie, plus a book ready to go in case I need to occupy more time than I thought. Another good option is to bring one of those adult coloring books! They actually can take quite a bit of time, so they’re perfect for airports!
10. Pay for First Class Lounge
I didn’t know that this was a thing until relatively recently. It doesn’t work at every first class lounge, but many will let you buy a day pass for around $30-50. Especially if you have to stay in the airport overnight or you have a really long layover, it can be worth it. First class lounges typically have more comfortable seating, free food and drinks (including alcohol), and internet access. Some even have showers and quiet rooms for sleeping. If you’re going to be stuck somewhere, it’s better to be comfy without paying that first class ticket fare!
There you have it-my best hacks for making the airport a (sort of) enjoyable experience. It’s not always easy to travel, but sometimes even the smallest things can make a big difference! What are your best airport hacks? Have you had any really good or really bad airport experiences? Let me know in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading & stay golden!