Air traveling days are quite stressful; carrying your multiple bags around all day, having to stand at the security checkpoint lines for hours, and paying a small fortune for that necessary caffeine intake at the cafe near the boarding gate. Fortunately, there a few things you can do to make them a little easier. It is all about preparation.
Everybody knows that there are a few obvious things you should never do before your flight, such as arriving late at the airport location or not double-checking if you have your ID card with you.
But some airport and travel mistakes may not be as evident and can go unnoticed by the more inexperienced travelers. Here, we will give you some travel tips to make your air travel days as pleasant and smooth as possible.
1. Do your check-in online
Online check-in is one of the best services introduced by the air travel industry in recent times. It allows airlines to save some money because they don’t have to hire as many assistants, and passengers save their precious time and patience. It’s a win-win situation, so don’t forget to take advantage of it.
Besides, if you booked your flight ticket with a low-cost airline, you have to do the check-in online – otherwise, they will charge you an additional fee (which may even exceed the amount you paid for your ticket).
2. Figure out how to get to the airport
It’s important to get to the airport some time in advance. Depending on the time of the year you are traveling, and whether it’s an international trip or not, this time interval may need to be longer or shorter.
You should know exactly how to get to the airport and how much time it will take, especially if you are relying on public transport services to get you there. Time management is essential to avoid the agonizing stress of arriving late at the airport and be forced to run as fast as you can through its aisles.
3. Wear comfortable clothes
From the moment you enter the airport of departure until you leave the airport of arrival, many long and uncomfortable hours will pass. The least you can do to prepare for that kind of pain is wearing comfortable clothes – there’s no way you can fall asleep at the airport or on the airplane in some tight jeans.
Don’t worry, nobody will judge you just because you decided to go to the airport in a tracksuit. People will probably envy you.
4. Keep your travel documents within easy reach
This is a useful travel hack that every seasoned traveler knows: travelers should keep all documents in the outside pocket of their carry-on bags. Always.
You don’t need to carry around an additional handbag exclusively for your documents. That’s just one more thing to carry and to keep an eye on. You also don’t want to keep your documents inside your bag, mingled with all your others belonging.
That’s only going to make you waste everybody’s patience every time you need to show your ID or tickets at the airport security checkpoints. Be practical.
5. Weigh your luggage
Bringing overweight luggage to the luggage drop-off counter is a big problem. You have two options: you either pay the extra fee to check your suitcase, or you unpack a few heavy sweatshirts and coats and start putting them on.
Checked luggage has strict weight restrictions, and they are placed on a scale every time, so don’t think there’s a chance you can get away with that. Weight it at home and make sure it is within limits.
Similarly, carry-on luggage also has its limitations. In this case, what matters the most is the size – the vast majority of airlines have no weight restrictions. The common size allowed is 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
This limit ensures that everyone’s bags can be stored safely in the overhead bin for the entire duration of the flight. However, you should confirm those values by checking the airline’s website because they may vary slightly.
6. Check TSA rules before packing
The main goal of airport regulations is to keep everybody safe. Including you, the passenger. They may seem too strict and sometimes even unreasonable, but there’s a valid reason behind every single one of them.
You should carefully read TSA guidelines before packing to make sure you are not breaking any rule – especially if you don’t travel very often. Packing prohibited items and liquid containers over the legal limit (100 ml) are the most common mistakes passengers make.
These mistakes will delay the inspection process for you and everyone else in line. Your items will also inevitably be stifled by the security agent. Respect the law!
7. Bring your reusable water bottle
In case you don’t know, you can’t pass the airport security checkpoint with a filled disposable water bottle. The agent will kindly ask you to throw it away, and then you will have to buy a new one at the airport cafe – it will probably cost you three times the regular price.
Unless you bring your own reusable water bottle with you. Most airports provide water fountains where passengers can fill up their water bottles free of charge. Take advantage of that!
8. Don’t do anything unusual before boarding
We mainly refer to alcohol intake and the type of food you eat in the airport lounge restaurants. Eating food that your stomach isn’t used to and drinking a high amount of alcoholic beverages before boarding a plane is a recipe for disaster.
Imagine having an upset stomach for the entirety of your flight. That would be a real nightmare. Also, airport security has the authority to prevent you from entering a plane if they suspect that you are drunk. Just play safe – you will have plenty of time to drink and experiment with the local cuisine once you land on your destination.