Hey friends! Do you ever wish that you could just skip going to the airport/flying? Well, I can’t make that happen lol. But, I can give you some of my best tips for making air travel a little less stressful and a little more convenient. I’m not going to say ‘way less stressful’ and ‘way more convenient’ because let’s face it, it’s an airport. I’m pretty sure if you look up the definition of ‘airport’ in a dictionary, it would say something along the lines of “the most inconvenient and stressful place one could ever visit”. With over a hundred of flights under my belt, I thought I would share with you some of my best airport hacks!
- 1 Take A Photo Of Your Parking Spot
- 2 If You Can, Travel With Just A Carry-On
- 3 Arrive Two Hours Early
- 4 Bring An Empty Water Bottle
- 5 Wear Layers
- 6 Wear Slip-On Shoes
- 7 Keep Your Laptop In An Easy To Reach Place
- 8 Have Your Passport and PRINTED Ticket Ready
- 9 Clear Your Pockets While You’re In Line
- 10 Pack Your Own Snacks
- 11 Bring A Fully Charged Portable Charger
- 12 Fly Red Eye As Often As Possible
- 13 Like This Post? Pin It!
The Best Airport Hacks
Take A Photo Of Your Parking Spot
Wherever you park your vehicle, whether it’s at the airport or a ‘park-n-ride’ place, take a photo of your parking spot. This way, it’ll be nearly impossible to forget where you parked your car – even after an extended period of time. I actually use this tip even while I’m not traveling, especially when I’m at a place with an extremely large parking area (ahem, Disneyland, I’m looking at you). I don’t feel like wasting my time wandering up and down aisles of vehicles trying to locate mine so this tip has been a lifesaver.
If You Can, Travel With Just A Carry-On
About 4 years ago, I made the decision to never check a bag again and I’ve stuck to it. Even during a two week trip to Europe – that’s some serious commitment right there. It’s such a good feeling when you get to skip both the luggage check and baggage claim. Nor do you have to worry about losing your bag! I really could go on and on and on about how much I love traveling without a checked suitcase.
Also, make sure you store your in-flight essentials in your personal item instead of in your carry on so that way you save some room by stowing it up above.
And if you do check a bag, take a picture of it just in case it was to get lost and you need to describe/show it to the airline employees. But you wouldn’t have to worry about that if you didn’t check a bag 😉 Hahaha I’m just kidding, I know that sometimes you just have to check a bag. When we went to Los Angeles last year for my birthday, it was actually cheaper for us to check a bag than to have a carry-on!
Shop ‘Carry-On Luggage’
Arrive Two Hours Early
Always, always, always arrive AT LEAST two hours before your scheduled departure time, especially for international flights. I find that this is the perfect amount of time because I don’t feel rushed getting through security nor do I feel bored after getting through security. I take this extra time to relax, use the restroom (a few times – #smallbladderproblems), find my gate, pick up a snack, and fill up my water bottle. Speaking of which…These are the best hacks to make your time at the airport smoother. Click To Tweet
Bring An Empty Water Bottle
While you can’t bring a full bottle of water, you can bring an empty one! This is a great way to get out of paying $100 or however overpriced a bottle of water is at the airport. I have a really cute metal water bottle that I bring everywhere with me because I am constantly thirsty. I fill it up as soon as I’m past security and before I board the plane. As a bonus, if you’re polite to the flight attendant, they may fill up your entire bottle for you during your flight as well! There’s no excuse to not stay hydrated while traveling!
Shop ‘Metal Water Bottles’
Airports and airplanes are notoriously chilly, it’s just a fact of life. In fact, I have not once gotten hot on an airplane and if you have, I’m kind of jealous. Anyways, layers are my best friend. I’m the type of person to wear a sweatshirt even when it’s 110 degrees outside in Phoenix, Arizona lol. But, I’ll always wear a t-shirt or a tank top underneath juuuust in case I get hot.
ALSO – wearing layers helps save on precious suitcase room! Just wear your bulkiest sweatshirt or jacket instead of trying to squeeze it into your bag. Just make sure you take off said sweatshirt/jacket while going through security because you don’t wanna to get yourself a pat down.
Wear Slip-On Shoes
Speaking of going through security, wear slip-on shoes while you’re going through it. Everybody behind you will thank you for being so thoughtful for not holding up the line, unlike Bob* who’s taking his sweet time untying his tennis shoe laces with a line of annoyed people behind him. Just as the name ‘slip on’ shoes imply, you can just slip them off, walk through the metal detector, and slip back on. Easy as 1-2-3.
Keep Your Laptop In An Easy To Reach Place
You know how annoyed you get when the person in front of you in the security line has to dig out his laptop from THE VERY BOTTOM OF HIS BAG WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE. Ahem, sorry but that’s one of my biggest pet peeves. It’s so much easier to just keep your laptop in easy to reach location at the top of your bag. I know that it seems kind of obvious but you’d be surprised at how many Bob’s* are out there infuriating their fellow travelers.
Have Your Passport and PRINTED Ticket Ready
I am specifying a printed ticket because then you don’t have to worry about your phone battery dying and making the TSA employee angry at you for wasting their time trying to find your ticket. Always have a printed ticket and your passport ready to go as you get to security. It’ll make the whole experience a lot smoother.
If you decide to ignore my advice about having a printed ticket, at least make sure that your phone screen is on 100% brightness so it’s much easier for the scanner to read your ticket.
Clear Your Pockets While You’re In Line
Okay, last security line tip. It really is one of the worst parts of air travel, isn’t it? Anyways, while you’re waiting in the inevitable line for security, take the time to empty your pockets of your wallet, cell phone, and whatever else the TSA agents don’t like you to bring through the metal detector. This way, you can just drop your stuff in the container rather than taking an extra precious 49 seconds digging it out at the Divest & Composure Tables (yes, that is the official name for those tables with the trays at the security checkpoint – I Googled it for you) and holding up the line.
Pack Your Own Snacks
Remember how you can bring your own empty water bottle through security? Well, you can also bring food through too (as long as it’s solid)! Now, please respect your fellow travelers and don’t bring anything smelly through. It’s best to stick to granola bars, bags of peanuts, Chex mix, etc. For our super long flight to Europe a couple months ago, I packed quite a few protein bars because no one wants to be around me when I’m hangry (adjective; informal; “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger”). It’s never a guarantee that you’ll get meals on the airline, and if you do, it probably has an extremely large amount of sodium, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Bring A Fully Charged Portable Charger
Finding an empty plugin at the airport is like finding a needle in a haystack. To prevent the stress of having a phone at less than 50% battery, bring along a fully charged portable charger! I have this awesome one that I carry in my purse everywhere I go and I get about three full charges out of! Ugh, it’s basically my lifeline and I wouldn’t be caught dead without one.
Shop ‘Portable Chargers’
Fly Red Eye As Often As Possible
Especially for long-haul flights! I love falling asleep on the plane and waking up in the morning at destination refreshed and ready to take on the day! Although, I do have a difficult time sleeping on a plane so I rely on a sleeping pill and a small bottle of wine. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I find that when I fly on a red eye, my jet lag isn’t as rough so it makes adjusting to the local time much easier.
As an extra bonus, there’s usually less turbulence when you fly in the late evening/overnight making the flight a little less scary…
*Bob is a placeholder name for an inexperienced traveler. Please don’t be offended if your name is Bob. If you are offended, that would be a real Bob move, Bob.
So there are my best airport hacks! Feel free to leave your airport hacks in the comments below!