You did it! You planned and booked the ultimate trip that you’ve been looking forward to for weeks. The countdown has finally come to an end, your bags are packed and you’re readier than ever to take on your next adventure! The only thing standing between you and your blissful vacation is that ever so daunting airport experience.
Don’t stress, we’re here to help! Read through our tips below and you’ll soon be breezing through the airport like you own the place.
Juggling your boarding pass, official photo ID or passport, hotel and transportation confirmations (all while triple checking that you haven’t dropped your cell phone or wallet somewhere along the way) can start to feel like an Olympic sport.
One trick to staying organized at the airport (and winning the gold) is to always to have your travel documents easily accessible. The good news is that it’s 2019 and a lot of these files can be accessed electronically. Time to ditch the paper printouts and try using a dedicated app or folder on your smartphone, such as Apple Wallet, as a one-stop-shop for your important travel documents. Retrieving an electronic confirmation or boarding pass on your phone can be a lot quicker and simpler than sifting through endless bulky paperwork.
Navigating the airport as hands-free as possible may also call for purchasing a new travel accessory! A dedicated travel wallet, chic passport holder or fashionable side body bag is the perfect solution to keeping all travel related materials neat and organized. Find an accessory that you can easily fit into your carry-on bag or personal item … the less bags you have weighing you down, the better.
Long gone are the days of air travel where you simply walked onto the plane. Today, several checkpoints, rules and regulations are enforced to ensure everyone successfully reaches their destination. It is important to educate yourself on the latest rules to avoid any surprises during your airport journey (like the TSA agent trashing your prized, new hair product because it was more than 3.4 ounces).
The Travel Security Administration (TSA) provides a wealth of information on their website along with a helpful checklist to scope out before packing. Specific information about liquids, what you can and cannot bring on the plane and overall packing tips will help put your mind at ease.
Googling the airline’s specific baggage rules is also highly recommended! Carriers have various weight restrictions that can be dependent on the type of ticket you purchased or the destination you’re travelling to. Take a five-minute break from packing to scour your airline’s website for this trusty information. Why not take it a step further and weigh your checked luggage before arriving at the airport? This will also help shed a ton of stress. Baggage overage fees are never fun … nor is standing at the bag drop-off and staring at the teetering scale praying that your last-minute addition of yet another pair of sandals didn’t put your bag over the limit.
We’ve all seen it: that poor, stressed soul sprinting through the airport with the look of sheer panic on his face and beads of sweat gathering on his forehead while bolting to the gate. It’s enough to raise any spectator’s anxiety levels. The best way to avoid being “that person” is to properly time out your airport arrival. A common recommendation is to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
Pre-planning your transportation to the airport will help ensure your timeliness! Choose an exact time to leave your house and stick to it! If you’re using a rideshare, try scheduling an Uber or Lyft pick up time in advance on the app. If parking your car at the airport is more your speed, do some research on potential nearby parking lots a few weeks beforehand and reserve a spot. Companies like The Parking Spot will allow you to valet or self-park your vehicle and then conveniently shuttle you right over to your terminal. Factor in the potential of traffic and the time it takes to park when selecting your leave time. Give yourself some breathing room, you never know how long the security lines are going to be that day.
Not a line person? Look into applying for TSA PreCheck. Once accepted, this $85 membership will help you speed through security without needing to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, etc.
Get to your gate too early? No problem. Airports today have become miniature shopping malls full of endless entertainment. Spend some time perusing duty-free shopping, getting a relaxing mani-pedi or even a massage to Zen out and prepare for your in-flight journey.
At times a necessary evil, airports should be looked at as the beginning of your vacation instead of the end of your sanity. Keep these tips in mind to help keep your cool as you set off on your next great adventure.
And if all else fails, hitting the airport bar for a glass of champagne never hurts. You’re on vacation after all! 😊
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