Want to navigate the airport like a pro? Here are the extremely important airport tips and hacks that will make your travels easier.
Traveling is fun, and the rush of going through airports is amazing – at least for me but can also be exhausting for many.
I actually always look forward to reaching the airport, I mean it’s the gateway to my final destination so the anticipation is always high.
But, however exciting it is to me, it’s not always easy for everyone. While people gazing at airports, I always see a number of other travelers seemingly uncomfortable or not prepared at all.
During my time of running up and down at airports, I’ve picked up a couple of airport tips and hacks that I believe will be helpful to other travelers.
So in this post, I’ll be sharing the best airport ticks and hacks you need to know to make your travels easier and more fun.
Airport tips to make your travels easier
1. Arrive at the airport early
One of the most important things to do if you don’t want to run around the airport aisle like a crazy person is to reach the airport on time.
You should try to be there 2 hours before your flight if its an international flight or 1 hour earlier for a domestic flight to make sure that you have time to get everything in order.
Related post: Tips to know if you’re flying for the first time
2. Bring an empty collapsible water bottle
One of the useful airport tips you need to know is carrying an empty water bottle.
It would be a mistake to spend your money on buying water at the airport which is always pricey btw.
This water bottle is collapsible which means that it can easily fit into your carry on luggage as you go through airport security and later refill it from the airport fountain facilities.
Other useful travel essentials to carry in your carry on.
Travel Pillow: Seriously, you should never travel without a travel pillow. This neck pillow is lightweight, super comfortable and the neck support is amazing.
Sleeping mask: You might want to sleep in the plane but your neighbor wants to read, so carry this super comfortable sleeping mask to block out all the light as you get some sleep.
Earplugs: Still about getting some sleeping or simply blocking out any noise even when you’re not sleeping, carry a pair of these noise-canceling earplugs for your comfort.
Chewing gum: If you get affected during take-off or landing, I suggesting carrying chewing gum in your carry on.
A large scarf: It can get really get cold in the plane, so carry a large scarf like this that can also act as a small blanket.
You can check out my previous post of all the other carry on essentials you should carry on a plane.
3. Queue left at check in
Since many people are right-handed, it’s in their instincts to queue on the right hand lines which makes those lines longer.
So you might want to queue on the left-sided line which is more likely to be shorter.
Of course, unless if many people are already aware of this super handy airport hack.
4. Check for sleeping spots if you have a long layover
If your wait at the airport is going to be long, then I suggest searching for sleeping spots and other things to do at that particular airport.
Sleeping in airports website is a good resource to find sleeping spots in almost all airports across the world.
So before you head to the airport, check it out and you might be lucky and find a comfortable sleeping spot.
Related post: Things to do at the airport on a long layover
5. Check-in 24 hours before your flight
Honestly, check-in queues can be quite long and tiring. So if you don’t have a huge bag to check-in, you can do your check-in online.
Most airlines have upgraded their systems to allow online check in before the actual airport check in.
Though you can do it earlier, I suggest checking in 24 hours before your flight because, at that time, you’re able to select a free seat on the plane unlike if you do it way earlier.
Actually, even if you have baggage to check-in, you can just head to the airline kiosk and print your baggage tag without wasting time in the check-in queue.
Related post: How to survive a long haul flight in economy
6. Take a photo of your boarding pass
Many a times, bags get lost at airports! And if that wasn’t enough, you reach the baggage claim area and realize that you somehow lost your boarding pass.
I know this first hand because it happened to me while traveling to Botswana. I reached the carousel and my backpack was nowhere to been seen and it turns out that I had lost my boarding pass while going through security at immigration.
Before I started sweating and panicking, I remembered that I had taken a photo of my boarding pass and the airline staff was able to trace my backpack on the next plane that was landing the following day.
Imagine if i hadn’t taken that photo! It would have turned into a disaster – one i dont even want to imagine.
Since then, I always take a photo of my boarding pass just to be on a safe side.
So as you travel, one of the airport travel tips to remember is to always take a picture of your boarding pass.
Related post: Important things to do before traveling abroad
7. Take a photo of your bags
While still at baggage and the possibility of them getting lost at airports, I advise you to take a photo of your bags.
Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll forget how it looks like especially if you’ve been using it a couple of times, but in the unfortunate event that it gets lost, it will be easier to trace if you have a photo of it.
8. Put a differentiating mark on your baggage
Yes, we are still talking about your luggage since it’s pretty important because if your bags get lost, you’re likely to start your trip on the wrong foot.
So one of the best airport security tips is to put a unique identifying mark on your luggage before checking them in.
This can be a colorful ribbon or a sticker – anything that stands out for you.
Doing this will help you not spend so much time at the baggage carousel trying to spot your bags especially if they’re other many bags that are similar to yours – or better yet pulling out the wrong one.
You might also want to avoid buying a black suitcase/backpack since that’s what most people buy.
Related post: Useful travel tips for first time travelers
9. Carry your own snacks
Things at the airport can be overpriced and spending money on snacks is not the best option especially if you’re a budget traveler.
On top of that, if you’re on a diet or a healthy eater, you might want to carry your own healthy snacks as it’s hard to know whether the plane food will be healthy for you or you can even find healthy snacks at the airport if you choose to buy some.
Related post: How to survive a long haul flight
10. Keep all your documents in order and together
Do you sometimes get frustrated with people holding up the line because they can’t find one of the documents while at check in!!
It can be such a pain to watch as well but try not to be that person!
What you should do is to have your passports, vaccine cards (if needed), plus all the other required travel documents together and organized so that you just easily present them when asked for.
It’s also a good idea to have a travel pouch like this one where you can keep all your travel documents together, organized, and safe.
You can easily put your credit cards, boarding pass, passport, phone, money in this kind of travel wallet and you won’t have to delay because you can’t find any of them.
11. Know all the TSA rules before you go through airport security
If you’re a frequent flier, you probably know the TSA rules and what’s accepted and not accepted to go through airport security.
But if you’re flying for the first time, you may not be familiar with all the TSA rules. So before you go to the airport try to know them.
A few that are obvious include not taking any sharp objects that can be weaponized to the airport and emptying your pockets while you go through security.
You can check out all the other TSA rules from their website to make sure that you’re familiar with them.
Related post: Things not to do when you travel
12. Weigh your baggage before you go to the airport to avoid the extra fees
One of the most important airport hacks you’ll ever hear from me it to pack light! I mean I am a backpack, so packing light is part of my daily norm.
While it’s easier for most backpackers like me, it’s not always the same for others.
And in the end, they end up paying more for the extra kgs of their baggage.
To avoid this from happening to you, weigh all your luggage using a travel weighing scale like this one to make sure that the weight of your luggage doesn’t exceed what the airline is offering for free.
Related post: Best tips for packing light for your trip
13. Dress comfortably but also practically
There is no specific rule on what you’re supposed to wear at the airport or while flying but it’s prudent to dress comfortably.
From walking around a large airport aisle to sitting in airplane seats with limited legroom, the best way to be comfortable during those times is to wear comfortable clothes.
Wearing high heels is definitely not the best choice of shoes or really tight short skirts.
I always opt for comfortable jeans or even sweat pants with my sneakers. The idea is to be as comfortable as possible.
It’s also a bad idea to wear gladiator shoes with countless straps to untie since you have to take off your shoes as you go through security and it’s not fun having to do that when you have a long line of people behind you.
Some of the clothes I recommend wearing to the airport include;
- These kinds of sweatpants
- Leggings – every girl traveler needs a pair of these cute and comfortable leggings
- Warm and compression socks – ones you can keep on during the flight if you choose to take off your shoes.
- A warm fleece and a large scarf – it gets cold in the plane.
- A pair of comfortable shoes – this pair of sneakers always does it for me.
Related post: Carry on essentials for long flights
14. Skip the belt
On that same note, you can forego the belt. I mean if you wear leggings or sweat pants, you won’t need it anyway.
This is because you’re required to take off your belt every time you go through airport security and it can be such a pain to take it off and back on every time yet you can easily do away with it.
This is one of the common airport hacks that most travelers take lightly yet it can save you the discomfort.
Actually, even without the airport security point, it’s so freeing to walk around without a belt tied around your waist.
15. Carry a power bank
Though most of us charge our devices to 100% before leaving for the airport – well at least i do. Sometimes it’s inevitable to run out of battery especially if you have to wait a bit longer for your flight.
But its also not fun to have all your devices not charged, so make sure you carry a power bank like this one to charge whenever needed.
Carrying a personal power bank will also help you sit wherever you want instead of camping right next to the airport sockets where most people are actually likely to be.
But in the same way, you might want to carry a power splitter should you need to charge via the airport sockets.
A power splitter like this one means that you can even help charge other people’s phones instead of just charging one device at ago.
This is a great way of making news friends and spark a conversation especially if you’re traveling solo.
16. Carry extra Ziplocs
With the chaos that can happen as you navigate airport security especially since you have to remove some stuff from your carry on, it’s possible for your Ziplocs to get damaged.
Or better yet, you can store all your liquid tins in such a Ziploc to make sure that they are no chances of leakage whatsoever.
But if you’re worried about the Ziploc, then you can opt for this kind of TSA toiletry bag to store all your stuff in without any issues.
17. Bring noise-canceling earphones
While it’s essential to carry these kinds of noise-canceling earphones, you shouldn’t use them to listen to loud music but rather to cancel out any unnecessary noise – which is super common at airports.
Though you can listen to something to kill time as you wait for your flight, make sure you can still hear the airport announcement so that you don’t miss any important information about your flight.
18. Take a photo of your parking space
If you plan to leave your car in the airport parking, then make sure that you take a picture of your parking space.
This will save you hours of moving around the airport parking just looking for your car when you return from your trip.
Make sure that you capture the nearby features to know exactly where you left your car.
19. Try requesting for a free upgrade
If you’ve never heard of free upgrades, you’re welcome! However, it doesn’t happen all the time!
I’ve actually never done it myself but I have friends who got free upgrades and now I am committed to request for one on my next flight.
Though it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the free upgrade, the worst thing that can only happen is getting a “no” .
So don’t be afraid to ask for one! It might be your lucky day and score a perfect seat other than flying economy.
20. Put your laptop in a place that can be reached easily
As a rule, you have to remove your laptop from the carry on bag while going through security.
So to avoid fidgeting while looking for it in various places, keep it in an easy to reach place so that you don’t waste time for yourself and others waiting in the queue.
21. Carry a universal travel adapter
Though its very likely that you charged your phone before leaving home, it’s also very possible to run out of battery while still at the airport.
But worry not because you can still charge your phone from the many airport outlets.
However, since most airports have different kinds of outlets depending on the country you’re in, I advise you to take a universal travel adapter like this that can work in all kinds of outlets. This will also save you from buying a different adapter for each country you travel to.
22. Download the airport app
One of the airport tips that I’ve found useful during my travels is downloading the airport app.
It might be hard to find all the information on a particular airport anywhere or if you do, you’ll get bits of info from different sources which can be tedious so downloading the official app of the airport you’re flying from (or to) will come in handy.
You’ll be able to find out information like things to do at that particular airport if you have a long layover, check for availability of sleeping spots, check for availability of public showers, and so many other useful things to know.
Think of this as your one stop shop for everything you need to know about that particular airport. This will definitely help you travel better and easier,
Thank you for reading this far. I hope that these airport tips and hacks will help you travel better as you navigate your way through the airport.
Do you have more tips for the airport that have been helpful through your traveling journey, share with us in the comment section.
More travel tips to help you travel better
- Practical travel tips to make travel easier
- Carry on essentials for long flights
- How to survive a long flight in economy
- How to plan a trip from scratch
- Things to do before traveling abroad
- Things not to do when you travel
- Must-know tips for the first time flyers
- Things to do at the airport during a long layover
- Tips for staying in a hostel for the first time
- Tips for making friends when traveling solo
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