Every day, in airports around the world, travelers experience a long list of issues before they ever board a plane. They face flight delays, canceled flights, lengthy layovers, lost luggage, long security lines, and broken check-in kiosks. Whether your destination is an hour away or on the other side of the world, adopting some useful airport hacks will make your getaway not only simpler but less stressful.
Only pack what you need. Roll your clothes and pack them first, then tuck accessories into the gaps. Heavy items, like shoes and books, should be placed at the base of the suitcase to prevent it from toppling when standing alone. Decide which outfit you plan to wear first once you’ve reached your destination and pack it on top to prevent having to pull everything out immediately.
Baggage that is overweight or over the allotted number per ticket can cost you anywhere from $35 to $300 depending on the airline. The easiest way to avoid this cost is to weigh your bags before heading to the airport. Luggage scales are inexpensive and worth the investment if you travel a lot. Or, weigh yourself on your home scales, then weigh yourself holding your luggage. Subtract that number from your weight to determine luggage weight.
Heavy, bulky clothing adds to luggage weight. Wear bulkier clothing to reduce the weight of your suitcase. Travelers can stuff a winter coat with items they need, like hand sanitizer, stain remover pens, and wet wipes. Or invest in the growing trend of wearable luggage. This may also cut down on checked luggage and allow you to carry your bags onboard instead of checking them. Remove or add layers to stay comfortable once you’re on the plane.
Daily parking fees at airports can take a big bite out of your travel budget. One great hack is to save money by staying at a hotel near the airport the night before your flight to take advantage of a “stay, park, and fly packages.” The hotel will provide you a shuttle service to the airport on the morning of your flight and bring you back to the hotel after your return. Another bonus is you can travel with the peace of mind that your car is parked safely on the hotel parking lot for the duration of your trip.
By the time you get back from your trip, you may forget where you parked your car. No one feels like wandering around a parking lot, trying to locate their vehicle, especially after a long day of traveling. Having a picture of the parking space will take the guesswork out of the equation. Just make sure the space number is visible in the photo.
Staying hydrated is essential, especially while traveling. The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule only allows one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes with no more than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters or less of each in your carry-on. That includes bottled water. To avoid having to buy bottled water, throw an empty refillable bottle in your carry-on, and fill it up once you’re past security.
This hack is especially useful for those more sensitive to airsickness, or people traveling with children. Early morning flights allow you to fly when the winds are at their calmest, meaning you'll be less likely to feel turbulence. As well as booking a morning flight, choosing the seats directly over the wings, nearest to the plane’s center of gravity, minimizes the effect further.
If you're running late, avoid long lines to check-in your baggage. This can be the difference between making and missing your flight. Some airports may allow you to check bags at the entrance for a small fee. Some travelers use curbside service to check-in as well as check their bags. Others find it easier to check-in online on the way, and then drop their bags off at curbside and let the baggage handlers do the rest.
Having a map of the airports you’re landing in will not only save you time but will reduce your stress levels as well. Whether you’re in the airport for a layover or it’s your final destination, finding your way around in a timely manner is essential. Download interactive airport apps to your phone that not only guide you through the airport but pinpoint restaurants and charging stations. Plus, some apps provide the estimated walking times between any two points, including distances from one gate to another.
Whether you listen to music on your phone or play mobile games during a flight, you’ll need a fully charged device. Plus, when you land, you may need to contact your hotel or call a rideshare or taxi. A portable charger ensures that your device will be ready when you need it. Flight cancellations and layovers may force you to camp out in an airport, so bring along your laptop and pack a portable charger just-in-case.