Nobody enjoys long waits at the airport. Using the golden airport rule of arriving ‘2-hours before a flight’ can be mean you get a few extra hours sleeping or watching your favorite T.V show. But, airports can be unpredictable. Long check-in queues, immigration lines, and delayed security checkpoints. You can be running late before you know it!
If you keep hearing your name on the loudspeaker, you need to get through the airport fast! Here are some proven tips to fast track your journey and navigate the airport smoothly. Hit the airport at breakneck speed and get your trip off to a flying start.
Check-In Online Ahead of Time
The check-in counter is the first place you can save some serious time. Instead of lining up and battling the crowds, be smart and check in online a few days before. Provided by every major airline, online check-in allows you to print your boarding passes up to 24-hours before departure. This is a huge time saver if you only have hand-luggage, as the lines at the check-in desks can be notoriously long. Even if you need to check your baggage in, many airlines have bag-drop areas that allow you to bypass the standard line.
Weigh Your Luggage
Do you have 50lbs of checked-in luggage? Make sure you don’t go over! Airlines are well-known for handing out huge fees for going over your baggage weight. Even if you’re only over by a few pounds, it can cost you a lot. Know the weight limit and pack accordingly. If you can’t seem to cut anything out, consider transferring smaller items into your hand luggage. Depending on the airline you may be allowed to bring a laptop bag in addition to your small backpack. Check with your airline and make sure you plan ahead!
Know Where to Go
Airports can be big. And finding your way around one can be a hectic experience if you’re not familiar with the layout. Larger airports have multiple terminals and lots of walking in between gates, so it can take time to get to your boarding gate. Learn the basic outline and layout of the airport as soon as you arrive to help choose the path of least resistance when it comes time to fly.
Most airports have online maps that indicate where terminal gates, baggage carousels, and toilets are located. Unfamiliar airports can be confusing and weary travelers can easily get lost! Make sure you know where your boarding gate is and start making your way when your flight is called.
Make a Good Impression at Immigration
To guarantee a smooth arrival and avoid any delays, have everything prepared before you get to the immigration counter. We recommend having a printed copy of your itinerary including flights, hotel reservations, and travel insurance.
Also, make sure you have correctly prefilled out your arrival card to avoid any scrutiny and further questioning. Finally, before you go, check if you require a visa to enter the country you are visiting! There’s nothing worse than being denied entry as you forgot to complete the visa requirements!
Dress for Travel
Getting through security can be one of the most exhausting and stressful aspects at the airport. This is one time it’s worth sacrificing form over fashion.
Speed through security by wearing slip-on shoes and avoid wearing any metal items (place these in your luggage). Don’t dress in lots of layers, and remove any bulky clothing, jackets, and shoes as soon as you arrive in the line. Have your laptop and other electronic equipment within easy reach and be prepared for your items to go through the x-ray machine.
Although, where most people fall down is not correctly displaying liquids or gels. Your liquids and gels need to be packed in transparent re-sealable plastic bags and cannot weigh more than 3.4 ounces per item. You can find these at the start of any security checkpoint, or pack these at home to save even more time.
Preparation is the Key
Getting through the airport fast is all about preparation. Take these tips on board and you’ll have more time to relax and less time to stress as you fast-track your way to the gate.