Airports are the hub of travel, not just in the world, but for the entire world. Some people may fear flying, but nothing really gets you where you need to go faster than air travel. Even so, things can get a little tedious, or you may just find yourself spending money on unnecessary costs. So, in order to prevent that from happening, here are a few tips to help you out while at the airport.
Bring Your Own Headphones
Pros: No need to pay for extra
What you need: Your own set
The obvious reason for bringing your own headphones on a plane is so that you don’t have to buy your own. Some airlines will provide complimentary ones, but they aren’t always top quality. Your own will likely have a better sound quality and fit better anyway.
Ask For A Free Upgrade
Pros: You might get a better seat
What you need: Confidence
Sometimes all you need to do is ask. It might seem presumptuous to ask for a free upgrade, but some airlines are more than willing to give one for special occasions. It won’t always work, but you don’t have anything to lose from asking!
Head To The Left Checkpoint
Pros: Get through quicker
What you need: To be able to tell right from left
Waiting in line to get through security can take forever, and it can certainly get annoying. However, try just headed to the left checkpoint instead of the right one. Most people are right-handed, and seem to automatically gravitate towards the right. You’ll get through the left faster simply because there’s less people there.
Bring A Portable Charger
Pros: You’ll never run out of power
What you need: A portable battery charger
Trying to entertain yourself with your phone or laptop as you go through an airport can be a pretty big battery drain. You might be seated next to a charging point on the plane, but it’s not guaranteed. So, just try bringing a spare battery or portable charger. It’ll at least double the amount of time you can spend on your electronic devices.
Bring Wet Wipes And Hand Sanitizer
Pros: You’ll be protected against germs
What you need: Wet wipes, hand sanitizer
With the number of people in close proximity to you, the air being filtered through the plane, it’s possible you could catch something if you’re not careful. It can be especially dangerous in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, do be on the safe side, pack some wet wipes and hand sanitizer. Just use them every opportunity to have to keep the things you touch, and your own hands, clean.
Book An Early Morning Flight
Pros: A more relaxing flight
What you need: A morning flight
Nobody likes turbulence. And for those with a fear of flying, the constant shuddering can make the trip even worse. However, there is a way to avoid at least most of it. Most turbulence occurs in the afternoon, so if you get a morning flight, you can get a smoother ride.
Bring Your Own Ziploc Bags
Pros: Traveling with liquids, keeping stuff safe
What you need: Ziploc bags
It’s never a bad idea to come with your own Ziploc bags, even if they’re empty. They’re useful for carrying small objects, such as pre-wrapping your jewelry, but you never know if you’ll end up buying something else small during your trip that needs some extra protection.
Check In 24-Hours Before Your Flight
Pros: No waiting in the check-in line
What you need: Online check-in
Back in the day, online check-in wasn’t even an option. But nowadays checking in online is practically standard. You can check in online as early as 24 hours in advance of your flight. You won’t even need to print out a physical copy, as long as you’ve got your electronic boarding pass on your phone.
Take A Photo Of Your Checked Luggage
Pros: Easier to spot at baggage claim
What you need: A camera phone
Cost: $100+ (free if you already have one)
Have you ever been worried about your luggage making it to your destination in baggage claim? Sometimes you may also mistake someone else’s bag for your own. The easiest way to avoid any stress is to just take a picture of your bag. That way it won’t be any more difficult to identify.
Freeze Your Liquids
Pros: Get your liquid through security
What you need: A frozen bottle of water etc
Liquids are completely banned from airport security. How might you get around that though? Turn your liquids into solids. It will have to be totally frozen in order to properly make it through checks. If it’s even a little thawed though, you’re going to lose that bottle.
Find The Best Seat When You Check In
Pros: You’ll be super comfortable
What you need: SeatGuru
Different airlines have different planes, and, as a result, different layouts for their seats. It can be difficult figuring out which seat’s going to be a comfortable one. However, there’s a nice app called SeatGuru to help with this. You can look for reviews of actual seats, so you know what might be more comfortable on the plane. Just remember to leave a review of the seat, yourself, after you disembark.
Pros: Peace and quiet
What you need: A red-eye flight
Not a lot of people take red-eye flights. Resting in a comfortable bed just seems to make more sense. But taking a red-eye flight will be a much quieter experience. And it won’t cost you anything extra to take it.
Check Which Restaurants Are In The Airport
Pros: You’ll be organized
What you need: The internet and a good sense of direction
Sometimes you may just think that you’ll stop and get dinner at the airport. But not all airports have good restaurants. At best, there will be several fast food joints, which are bigger money sinks and have poorer food quality. Just check what’s in the airport ahead of time. It’ll help you prepare and be ready to eat before you arrive in the terminal.
Bring An Empty Water Bottle
Pros: Free water
What you need: Empty water bottle
Freezing your water is one way to get water into the terminal, but there’s a much simpler one. Just bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after you get through security. There are always water fountains in the terminal, and it’ll certainly save you some cash.
Check Your Flight Status Before You Go To The Airport
Pros: You won’t be waiting forever
What you need: Internet
It’s a fact of life that sometimes your flight will just be late. Sometimes it might even be cancelled. That’s why it’s a good idea to check to see if your flight is on time before headed to the airport. That way you’ll at least have some more free time to lounge around before you have to head to the airport.
Keep Hotel Toiletries
Pros: No need to buy travel size
What you need: Hotel toiletries
Hotels often have small, travel-sized toiletries for you to use. So, you should use them. Take them with you and keep a stock for when you head through airport security again. They’ll just replace them after you check out anyway, so you might as well put them to good use.
Sign Up For The VIP Airport Lounge
Pros: Comfortable VIP lounge experiences
What you need: Frequent flyer miles/a spare $40-$50
Cost: As above
The more often you fly, the more perks you seem to unlock. The frequent flier miles you may gain from this can be exchanged for things like VIP lounge memberships. They’re very luxurious, with comfortable seating, free drinks, and other forms of entertainment. If you don’t have frequent flier miles though, then you can probably get a day pass for around $50. Not the cheapest offer, but it can help you relax if you hate traveling.
Pros: You won’t have to wait in line
What you need: A phone
Sometimes, when a flight is cancelled, the immediate reaction is for people to rush to the desk to rebook. Avoid the line and just call the airline directly. Even if you need to rebook, they both have the same power, and will be able to take care of your issues as well.
Take A Nap At The Airport
Pros: You’ll be refreshed
What you need: A quiet place/a sleep pod
When your flight gets delayed, sometimes the best thing to do is to take a nap. Some airports actually have sleeping pods for you to rent. Trying to deal with a delayed flight can be annoying, but a nap can help you feel refreshed. Just set a timer to make sure you don’t accidentally sleep through your new time.
Store Your Laptop In An Easy To Reach Place
Pros: You can reach it at any time
What you need: A laptop case, a big bag
Seriously, just buy a laptop case. People struggle to take out packed electronics on their flight all the time. This will just make your laptop more easy to get to. Not to mention, you can use it out of the airport as well. They’re not even that expensive.
Take A Photo Of Your Parking Space
Pros: You’ll never get lost again
What you need: A camera phone
Cost: $100+ (Free if you already have one)
When you drive yourself to the airport, you’ll be gone for days, maybe even weeks depending on the nature of your trip. That’s plenty of time to forget where you parked your car. But if you take a picture of your parking spot in the lot or garage, then you’ll never have to worry about forgetting where it is.
Wear Your Extra Luggage
Pros: More space in your suitcase
What you need: Extra clothes
Sometimes, even when traveling light, you’ll end up having to check an extra bag. And no one like spending that little extra bit of money if they don’t have to. The easiest way to avoid this is to take out your bulkiest items and where them through the airport. It might be a little uncomfortable, but it’ll save you money, and you can take them off after you get through security. This also helps lower the weight of hand luggage to ensure you can still take it on the plane as a carry-on.
Tie A Scarf On Your Bag Handle
Pros: No more standing at baggage claim wondering what’s yours
What you need: A bright scarf/tie
Cost: $5/Free if you already own one
Even if you’ve taken a photo of your luggage, your luggage may be on the more generic side of things. It still may be hard to spot. But, there’s a simple thing you can do to help identify it. Just wrap a brightly colored tie or scarf on the handle. It’ll help you pick it out among the bunch no problem.
Sign Up For TSA Prescreening
Pros: Quicker entry
What you need: To meet the criteria and apply
TSA prescreening or Global Entry is a way you can basically get pre-approved to go through the TSA. It’ll save you time in line and you’ll get through the airport much faster. However, not everyone can meet the criteria to prescreen in the first place, so make sure to check the requirements before trying to purchase it.
Check For Free WiFi
Pros: You don’t use your own data/incur hefty charges
What you need: A phone
When you’re not connected to WiFi, that can incur some pretty hefty data usage, especially when you’re out all day like when you travel through an airport. The data costs can get even more expensive when you visit another country. However, there’s a simple way to avoid these data charges in the airport, and it’s quite simple. Just check for free WiFi. You can connect very quickly and then you won’t have to worry about those data charges.
Pack Electronic Devices At The Top Of Your Carry On Bag
Pros: Saves time going through security
What you need: Nothing
Everything that has to be screened when going through the TSA often has to be taken out of their bags and screened individually. So, to save yourself some time, just put all your electronic devices on the top of your carry on. You at least won’t be digging through your bag to get everything situated and hold up the line.
Book Flights On Tuesdays Or Wednesdays
Pros: Save money on tickets
What you need: A computer/phone
If it’s an option for your trip, the best times to buy tickets would be on a Tuesday or Thursday. It’ll save you an average of $73 per ticket for booked flights. The cheapest days to travel are Thursday and Friday. But the absolute worst day for booking and traveling is Sunday. The months of January and February often have the best deals for booking flights, while the summer months have the more expensive ticket prices.
Get A Portable Weight Checker
Pros: You don’t get fined or have to pull stuff out of your bag in front of everyone
What you need: Portable weight checker
There isn’t anything much more annoying than finding out that your luggage is over the weight limit. Not only will you get charged $1,000 extra, but you’ll have to remove items until you meet the weight limit. So save yourself at least part of the hassle by buying a portable weight checker. Then just check your bag at home to make sure it’s within the limit.
Use The TSA App To Learn Wait Times
Pros: You can find out wait times and receive important news updates before getting to the airport
What you need: Phone, MyTSA app
Most people just hope for the best when it comes to wait times when going through security. But you can be at least a little more prepared by using the MyTSA app. It was actually rated the Best Government Mobile App by the American Council for Technology. It gives information on wait times, traveler tips, and other important news and updates.
Carry A Power Strip
Pros: You’ll have multiple power sources for all your devices
What you need: Power strip
Finding an outlet in an airport can be difficult. And it’s even more difficult if you have multiple devices you need to charge. So bringing a power strip can help keep everything at max power. Considering that it’s not battery operated, getting it through security shouldn’t be too hard. And you won’t have any more issues getting it through outside of a small delay, even if you’re stopped.
Sit On The Front Side Of The Plane
Pros: You will get less sick or uncomfortable if sensitive to flying
What you need: Nothing
The best seats to get are closer to the front of the plane. A person’s center of gravity is around 28% and the center of pressure acts around a quarter of the way down the plane’s wing. This helps people that get motion sickness keep steady while flying. Other good seats would be exit rows and window seats.
Empty Your Pockets When In The Security Line
Pros: You don’t hold up the security line
What you need: Nothing
Considering how long the lines can get, holding up line in the TSA can be a real nuisance. The TSA agents always seem to be moving people through as quickly as they can. So just save everyone time and already have your pockets emptied and shoes and jewelry off before you reach the front of the line.
Where Compression Socks For Your Flight
Pros: Blood won’t pool in your feet
What you need: Compression socks
Even if you don’t have issues with circulation, you can benefit from this one. Compression socks help to stop blood from pooling in your feet, which helps reduce jet lag and other circulatory issues. The recommended tightness is between 20 and 40 mmHg (extra firm). It’s especially important for long flights, as the chances of swelling or even deep vein thrombosis go up.
Get Onboard Last
Pros: Less people crowding your space, cuts wait time
What you need: Nothing
You’d think it would be best to get onboard the plane first, right? Well, it’s actually better to board as late as possible. All the seats are assigned anyway and it’s not like you’ll depart the sooner you board the plane. The only benefit to boarding sooner is that you might not have to ask someone to make some space if you have a window or middle seat. With the plane mostly boarded, there will be fewer people in the way for you to stow your carry on and get seated.
Shrink Wrap Your Luggage
Pros: Your luggage won’t get damaged or dented
What you need: Shrink wrap or an actual luggage cover
There are normally shrink wrap stations in actual airports, so its not like this one will be hard to do. In 2017, a report by Luggage and Suitcase determined that around 22 million pieces of luggage were mishandled. Shrink wrap prevents damage to the luggage and will still pass through the scanner. Another option if you hate using shrink wrap is to just get a luggage cover.
Roll Back The Time On Your Device For More Free Wi-Fi
Pros: You won’t have to pay for Wi-Fi
What you need: Just your phone
A lot of airport offer complimentary wi-fi, but that’s not consistent across the board. Some have time caps. And once you hit that cap, you’ll have to pay for more or go through a reboot process. But, as it turns out, you can trick the airport into thinking you have more time. If you roll back the device’s time, it might trick the wi-fi into continuing without shutting you out. Just make sure you remember what the actual time is so you don’t miss your flight.
Pros: Will help unclog ears
What you need: Sugar-free gum, hard candy
People are pretty familiar with that feeling of fullness in their ears from higher altitudes. The best way to alleviate that feeling is by chewing, so always bring gum with you on flights. If it’s particularly bad, it’ll at least give you a distraction from what’s happening. It’s especially helpful when traveling with children.
Add A “FRAGILE” Sticker To Your Luggage
Pros: Bag will be brought to baggage claim quicker
What you need: “FRAGILE” sticker from check-in
This one isn’t a done deal, but it could certainly help. Attaching a “FRAGILE” sticker to your luggage often causes it to be given special treatment. The stickers are ordinarily provided by a kiosk near the counter. But if you don’t see one, just ask. Technically this means that your bag has to be loaded last and taken off first. Not to mention, the handlers have to be a lot more gentle.
Call Your Bank To Let Them Know You’re Traveling
Pros: Tells the bank not to freeze your card if you post a transaction while on vacation
What you need: Phone
Have you ever been traveling and, because you don’t have a lot of cash on you, you decide to pay for something using your credit card? Then your card is either shut down or you get a call from your bank about “suspicious purchases”? Well, this helps prevent that. Often, they expect fraud because of the distance from where you live. Just calling your bank and telling them you’ll be traveling will prevent them from overreacting to any purchases you make with your card.
Charge A Portable Battery, Not Your Phone
Pros: No risk of data theft from using the USB charger at the airport
What you need: Portable power bank for your phone, USB cord
How much do you trust foreign USB chargers? Well, if the answer is “not at all”, this is another reason to have a portable battery. Those USB stations are known to contain dangerous malware that can steal data from your phone. So, charging your battery instead of your phone directly gives you a “middle man” that prevents that malware from stealing your data.