Airport Hacks

Some tips/hacks that could help when your at the airport. There are most likely a lot more tips but these are one that I have found, or have used myself. Some of these can be moved to other modes of transport, like if you taking a train long distance. But that could be another post on its own. If you have more tips to add to this list, add to the comments and I will most likely add it to the list.

  1. Bring an empty water bottle

When you get through security you can fill it up, instead of paying the hefty price for bottled water at the airport. There are a variety of water bottle options – stainless steel, double-walled, collapsible, etc that suits you and situation.

  1. Don’t forget to bring a portable charger

Having a portable charger can be a serious lifesaver when you’re on-the-go or unable to find an open outlet at the airport. You can also use your portable charger to charge your phone while on the plane so it will be ready to use when you land.

  1. Keep your laptop in an easy to access place

When going through airport security, you’ll have to take out your laptop. Store it in an easy to access place so you won’t have to scramble through your carry-on luggage to find it in the security line.

  1. Mark your baggage as fragile

Not only does this mean your bag is more likely to be handled correctly, but it’ll also find itself at the top of pile in the storage compartment of the plane.

  1. Tie a bright-colored ribbon on your luggage

Use a bright-colored ribbon or luggage tag so it’ll be easy to identify. Your luggage will stand out among all the black suitcases at baggage claim. Or use and kind of material that will make your luggage stand out from the other black or blue ones.

  1. Bring your own healthy snacks

Just make sure to check the rules ahead of time so you know what you can and cannot bring through airport security. And when done eating, and you have your reusable containers empty, you can use them later on for food or storage after your done.

  1. When entering the security check, head to the left checkpoint

Research shows that people naturally gravitate toward the right lane, so do the opposite and go left. Chances are the left lane will be slightly quieter and less hectic, although this may not always be the case.

  1. Always wear warm socks and bring a scarf or sweater

It can get a little chilly when sitting on the plane, staying warm can go a long way to making your flight more comfortable.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for a free upgrade

Traveling alone or letting the airline staff know that you’re celebrating a special event, such as a honeymoon, can make it easier to get a free flight upgrade. Be polite and ask quietly, the worst they can say is no.

  1. Keep a collection of hotel toiletries

Instead of paying for travel-sized toiletries, bring hotel toiletries with you on your next trip. This works great for frequent travelers and saves you money too.

  1. Skip your contacts and wear glasses

Whether you wear contacts or not, you’ll notice that your eyes and skin will feel dry during the flight. Wear glasses instead of contacts and bring a small bottle of hand lotion and eye drops with you to keep moisturized.

  1. Wear your extra luggage

If you’re worried about your luggage being over the weight limit, consider wearing your heavier clothing through airport security. Once you pass through security, then you can make a quick outfit change.

  1. Fly red-eye

Evening flights are often cheaper than earlier flights, and the airport is usually less busy at this time too. Get some sleep on the plane and wake up in the morning at your destination to make the most of your trip.

  1. Check in 24-hours before your flight

This allows you to avoid waiting in the check-in line at the airport, which is great if you’re travelling with just carry-on luggage. For those who need to check their luggage, head to the airline kiosk to print your baggage tag (and boarding pass if you don’t already have an electronic copy). This can save you time and you might be allowed to head straight to the baggage line after, instead of waiting in the check-in line.

  1. Find the best seat on the plane when you check in

Check SeatGuru to find out which seats receive the best reviews on your flight. This is helpful if you want extra legroom and comfort.

  1. Take a photo of your parking space so you won’t forget where you parked

If you’re parking and flying, make sure to snap a photo of where you parked your car (for example: Level 3, section D). You don’t want to come back from a fun vacation only to forget where you parked your car.

  1. Store all loose items in your carry-on luggage before entering security

Airport security can be stressful, which is why it’s a good idea to store all your loose items (coins, keys, etc.) in your carry-on luggage. You don’t want to wait until you reach the conveyor belt at airport security to remove these items, as it takes up time and could cause delays.

  1. Bring wet wipes and hand sanitizer

We don’t want to believe it, but the airplane tray tables are some of the dirtiest items on the plane. Always keep wet wipes or hand sanitizer in your carry-on luggage to use at the airport and during your flight.

  1. Always check your flight’s status before heading to the airport

Checking your flight’s status before leaving home can give you a quick heads up of what to expect. If your flight has been delayed, you won’t need to rush to the airport and if it has been canceled, you can get on the phone to rebook another flight.

  1. Bring extra Ziploc bags

You never know when a Ziploc bag might come in handy while travelling. Store your liquids in a Ziploc bag so they’re easy to access when going through airport security.

  1. Wear a belt with a plastic buckle.

Some security agents will let you leave your belt on if it is not made of metal; a belt with a plastic buckle might save you the trouble of taking off your belt and having your clothes half falling off.

  1. Check ahead to see which restaurants and shops are at the airport

Airplane food is full of sodium and fat, which isn’t great to eat while flying. Instead check to see which restaurants and shops are available at the airport. You might be able to grab a healthy meal and do some last minute shopping before your flight.

  1. Have a go-to travel outfit

Having a designated travel outfit can help make life easier when flying. Have one planned out, some like to dress up while others more of a comfortable outfit. Having a favorite set of clothes to wear on planes can make the minutes before you leave for your flight easier, and guarantee comfort at the airport and in flight. Once you have chosen your air travel clothes, make sure they are clean and at the top of your packing list a couple of days before you travel.

  1. Take a photo of your checked luggage

Even if you make your luggage stand out with a bright-coloured ribbon, it’s helpful to have a picture of your checked baggage on your phone. That way if you need airline staff to locate it, it could help make their job easier than just having a luggage receipt alone.

  1. Get familiar with the rules

To avoid any problems at airport security, spend a few minutes getting familiar with all the rules. Know what you can bring on board the plane and which items are restricted.

  1. Track the airline crew for the best places to eat and drink.

By watching what the crew does because they use the airport all the time. They will know where the best quality and cheapest prices are available.

  1. Avoid rushing the gate

It never fails, as soon as boarding begins, everyone seems to rush to the gate. Wait until your zone or section is called to avoid crowding around the gate. The plane won’t leave without you and you’ll have plenty of time to get on board.

  1. If you don’t like turbulence, book an early morning flight

Thunder storms and wind usually happen during the afternoon, so try to book an early morning flight if you don’t like turbulence. Alternatively, seats in the middle of the plane (near the wing) tend to experience the least amount of movement.

  1. Avoid waiting in line to get your flight rebooked

If your flight has been canceled, never wait in the long line up to rebook. Instead find an airport phone (free when calling the airline) and call to rebook your flight instead. The representative on the phone can do the same thing as the representative at the check-in counter, and it’s usually faster too.

  1. Know where you should pick up your checked luggage (if you don’t have a nonstop flight)

There are times where you would have to pick up your checked luggage in a layover. So asking may cover any confusion or missed flights.

  1. Bring your own headphones

Instead of paying extra for the headphones they sell on the plane, always make sure to bring your own pair. Also have a charged smart phone or tablet so you can connect to their in-flight entertainment.

  1. Find a quiet gate to relax at before your flight

If you have time before boarding your flight and want to unwind, find a quiet gate where you can sit and relax. The gate by your flight will usually be busy as it gets closer to boarding time. Just make sure to set a reminder on your phone so you have plenty of time to reach your gate.

  1. Have all your information in order for immigration

To avoid any unnecessary delays and have a smooth arrival, be sure to make a good impression at immigration. Have hard copies of flight, reservations, credit card or local currency. Also, make sure to fill out your travel declaration card correctly to avoid any problems, and check to see if you require a visa before entering the country you plan on visiting.

  1. Check for information about destination and layover airports.

You’re probably pretty familiar with your own home airport, but layover and destination airports can be disorienting. The GateGuru app can help, with its airport maps that include amenities available in each terminal. This can save you time if you’re trying to find food or toiletries during a tight connection. The app also has information about airport Wi-Fi options, which can eliminate the hassle of trying to figure out which of a dozen available networks are legit.

  1. Pack stuff you will need within easy reach.

This applies to your carry-on; your “personal item” in which you might carry your ID, boarding pass and other critical items; and your checked luggage. Pack stuff you will need first or frequently in easily accessible locations to avoid the misery of digging through your bag in view of dozens of fellow travelers.

  1. Put in-flight essentials all in one small bag.

Put everything you’ll need during the flight into a single small bag — earbuds, e-reader/book, a snack, etc. — so you can just grab it and stick it in the seatback pocket before you stow the rest of your stuff in the overhead bin or under the seat. (Note that if your in-flight necessities include liquids like antibacterial hand gel, you may have to transfer them into the small bag after you get through security.)

  1. Check in next to the first/business-class line.

As check-in becomes more automated, with most economy check-ins taking place at kiosks, standing in big lines is becoming less common, but some travelers swear by the tactic of using the check-in option closest to the first- and business-class counters, where agents will sometimes help economy travelers if no one is at their counter.

  1. Bring a multi-plug adapter.

Especially if you are traveling with family or a group, bring an adapter that can turn one outlet into multiple ones so more people can plug in. Even if you arrive at the gate and all the outlets are in use, often a fellow traveler will share one with you if you have such an adapter.

  1. Stow your stuff while going through the security line.

Don’t wait until you get to the front of the line to take your phone, keys, loose change and other stuff that security agents don’t like out of your pockets; take care of it while winding through the inevitable security line.

  1. Find an empty gate during layovers or delays.

If you have a few hours to kill, opt for a more peaceful and comfortable experience by finding an empty gate where you can have seating, power outlets, Wi-Fi signals and brain space to yourself. Just be careful not to be too far away when announcements affecting your flight might kick in.

  1. Sneak your stuff into a shopping bag.

If you’re having trouble adhering to the “one carry-on and one personal item” rule, some devious travel hackers suggest asking for a shopping bag at an airport store and putting your extra stuff in it. Gate agents will think it’s just some things you purchased, which they may not count against your carry-on allowance.

  1. Be careful when wearing headphones at the gate.

Listening to music, streaming a podcast or watching a movie on your mobile device helps pass time at the gate, but also puts you at risk of missing important gate announcements. Be careful when tuning out the noise that you don’t also tune out the signal.

  1. Use the Family Room in the Club Lounges to Watch TV and Use Wi-Fi

If you’re a frequent traveler with children who likes to arrive at airports early, the family rooms within lounges like the United Club lounge can be worth their weight in gold. Not only can Mom and Dad grab a glass of wine and help the whole family to fruit, hot chocolate, and other snacks, they can take those goodies back to a private family room that includes a TV, DVDs, Wi-Fi and more. It can make a big difference in calming down the clan prior to a long flight.

  1. Update Yourself on the Newest Items Designed to Make Travel Easier

Manufacturers are coming up with new products all the time to help travelers lighten their load. Whether it’s a strap to attach a car seat to rolling luggage or improved folding hair dryers to help you not over-pack, it pays to keep up with the latest inventions.

  1. Get a TSA Pre-Check for Speedier Screening

Visit the TSA Pre-Check website to get through airports in the United States in a faster fashion.

  1. Go for Global Entry for Faster International Travel

Use the Global Entry program when traveling internationally to experience expedited clearance back into America.

  1. Check the “My TSA” App for Current Wait Times to Plan Your Trip

Pop on over to the My TSA app and place your airport information within the search box to discover that, for example, the Chicago-O’Hare International Airport currently has a security checkpoint wait time from one to 10 minutes, and general departure delays due to volume.

  1. Book a Private Jet to Avoid Commercial Flight Crowds

Apps like JetSmarter are being called the Uber of airlines. And although some flights are uber-expensive, others – like a flight to Arlington from Houston for eight people – cost only $365 per person.

  1. Secure Your Luggage with Trackers

Instead of just slapping a pretty bow on your bag to distinguish it from the other luggage in baggage claim, invest in advanced technology like Trakdot luggage tracker and crush-proof, locked bags to help avoid theft.

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