5 Tips for Effortless Airport Travel

5 Tips for Effortless Airport Travel

As someone who flies home for every break, I’m here to share with you my tips to make your airport travel experience the best it can be! Yeah, we all have to wait in those massive lines and deal with screaming babies. However, some simple preparation can make your time in the airport feel like no time at all.

1. Do Some Research

If you’ve never been to the airport that you’re flying to (or flying out of), Google it! A simple search will usually bring up a floor plan and what amenities the airport has to offer. If you have an idea of what kind of food you can find, you’ll save yourself from wandering around the airport looking for a Starbucks only to find out that the only coffee shop is an Einstein Bagels.Β Less time wandering around always means more time to relax at the gate with that special book that you brought along for the trip.

2. Don’t Leave Home Without the Essentials

The essentials include 1. your ticket (mobile or printed), 2. your ID (and passport if you’re going international), 3. your phone/iPod/laptop/earbuds/any other electronics and 4. a portable charger (because no one likes to be stuck in line behind someone who has a mobile boarding pass and a dead phone).

With these essentials packed, you can fill up the rest of your carry-on with other things, like snacks, books, and the all-important travel pillow (just don’t bring too much; see below).

3. Have the Essentials Nearby

The ID that you expertly remembered before you left home isn’t going to do you much good if it’s jammed in the bottom of your carryon below your scarf, laptop, and travel bag of pretzels.

Invest in a small crossbody where you can hold your phone, ID, and ticket. You’ll never have to dig through your stuff for these items, and you’ll feel so much more secure knowing exactly where these items are. Once you get through security, you can easily stash your crossbody in your carryon or just keep it on your person until you board.

4. Be Prepared in the Security Line

There is NOTHING WORSE in this world than being stuck behind someone in the security line who has absolutely no idea what’s going on. I get it, some people haven’t flown in a while. Β It can also be a pain trying to remember what you have to take off (shoes and heavy coats) and what you have to put in a special bin (your laptop).

While your waiting in the endless security line, make a plan! Laptop out of carryon and in one bin, check. Phone, coat, and shoes in one bin, check. Carryon in the third bin, check. Hold your ticket and ID, check. It’ll make you (and everyone else behind you) so much happier, and you’ll get to the gate (aka food and that great book you picked up just for this trip) so much faster.

5. Establish a Routine

If you’re a frequent flier, establish a routine! I know that once I get to the airport, I grab a sandwich and a coffee. Once I establish what terminal my gate is in, I usually try to find a pretty empty gate where I can plug in my laptop and phone and just chill out for a while. When it gets closer to boarding time, I pack up all my things and head to the gate.

It makes my flying experience so much less stressful, because I know exactly what to expect every time I fly. Obviously, it’s hard to establish a routine if it’s the first time at an airport. However, having a general routine (e.g. go through security, get food, read a book, wait to board) makes traveling a breeze.

Airport travel isn’t as glamorous as it once was, but you can make it as easy as possible! All it takes is a little research and planning. What are some of your favorite travel tips? Let us know @theswirlblog on Twitter or in the comments.


  • Nice post

  • I’m always waiting in the security line planning out exactly how I’m going to organize my stuff in the bins, haha! I’m so glad I’m not the only one that does that! These are awesome tips πŸ™‚


    • Thanks so much Cristina! It would really make the lines a lot shorter if everyone knew where their stuff went πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for this

  • I love flying, it’s so much fun! These are all really good things to keep in mind when traveling. I always get so nervous going through security because I don’t wanna be one of those people who takes forever and is confused lol.

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    • Me too! Sometimes it just gets so chaotic trying to throw all your stuff in bins (somehow there always seems to be not enough bins left??). Thanks for reading, Kayla!

  • These tips. YES. I also make sure to have some cozy socks and a big cableknit wrap / comfy sweater with me, just in case the airplane is freezing.
    XO Amanda | http://www.glitterandspice.com

    • That’s such a great idea! Airplanes always seem to be as cold as a meatlocker, no matter how warm it is outside!

  • Love traveling, but hate security!

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlife.com

    • I know, it’s so frustrating! If everyone knew what was going on, it would make it a lot easier πŸ™‚

  • I fly a few times a month, as often as twice a week, so I’ve totally got my airport routine down. Thankfully I have TSA precheck, but on the off chance the precheck line isn’t open, it’s really frustrating to get stuck behind people who have no idea what’s going on. Being prepared for security BEFORE you get in line is so essential!

    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

    • Ah TSA PreCheck is so nice! I’ve been randomly assigned to it a few times before and it’s awesome not to have to take my laptop out of my bag. If everyone would just watch the videos they play when you wait in line, it would seriously go 1000 times more smoothly. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  • These tips are so helpful!

    • I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!

  • I fly often and I still seem to always forget something like to charge my phone or to bring a jacket, it is honestly so frustrating. It is just one of the things I will never perfect. This post definitely had some great things to note for future trips though!

    • I totally feel ya about the chargers – I swear I put them in my bag and then somehow when I get to the airport they’re not there! I hope my tips help you in the future!

  • i travel often and i am amazed by how many who travel often as well are so unprepared when they travel. when I am in line for security I have my laptop out and shoes off before I even get to the bins so I am quick & efficient. Great tips in your list πŸ™‚

    • That’s great Michelle! It just make the line go so much faster for you and everyone behind you πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  • That cross body trick is one of my go-to’s! Whenever I’m traveling I make sure to have one (not only is everything close, but you can easily toss it in a bigger bag and go!). Thanks for sharing some great tips ladies!

    Pick Your Beau

    • Crossbody bags are definitely a lifesaver – so much easier to find things than in a big tote or backpack. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • Ashley

    Great tips! Security always stresses me out! I always start to plan what I will be taking off and how many bins I will need before I even get in line!

    xo Ashley

    • Me too! It just takes so much stress out of flying! If only everyone knew to plan ahead as well πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  • Teresa

    These tips are so helpful! I get so frustrated when I’m behind someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing at security. It’s already stressful enough – haha!

    • Right? I just want to reach over and move their stuff for them so the line can move along! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  • I agree with having a set routine when you go the airport along with getting to the airport early enough. That definitely helps each time. Great tips!

    • It’s so important to get to the airport way earlier than you think you need to – you never know how long the security line is going to be! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • Traveling is the worst! I love going places, but the actual act of going to airports, getting on planes and so on and so forth is horrendous! These tips are great! My go-to tip for first-time travelers is definitely wear layers! A lot of times it may be hot or cold in the place you’re leaving or traveling to, but airports and airplanes temperatures vary really quickly and most airlines make you purchase blankets nowadays, so I always make sure to wear layers so if I’m too warm I can take one off and if i’m too cold, i can add one more!

    • Layers are definitely a lifesaver! I’ve made the mistake of wearing shorts on a plane (because I’m flying somewhere warm) but then I can’t fall asleep during the flight because I’m shivering the whole time! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • These are all awesome tips! I’ve only flown once in my life, but I think my husband and I are about to start planning next summers trip to Jamaica so we’re going to need all the tips we can get before then!

    xoox, SS

    The Southern Stylista

    • I’ve heard Jamaica is absolutely beautiful! I hope this post helps you get through the airport smoothly πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  • Those are such genius tips! I haven’t flown in almost ten years but I will be going on a trip next year so I will need all of the tips I can get!

  • I fly home for every break too, so I can vouch that these are great tips! Anything to make air travel less stressful is always welcome, right?! Awesome post!

    Stephanie | http://www.stephanietherese.com

    • I wish flying was as glamorous as they made it out to be in the ’60s! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • These are such great tips! I’m always a hot mess at the airport, so I will use this post to prepare for my next trip!