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. 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. 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.