10 Airport Hacks To Help You Get To & From Your Destination Quicker
While traveling might be one of life's greatest joys, actually getting to your destination can be a nightmare. Until we invent instant travel, teleportation, or some other The Jetsons-esque mode of transportation, we're all stuck dealing with airports as a means to get from one far away place to another. In the mean time, there are some airport hacks to get through security faster that really do make a difference. You don't have to be a rookie traveler to make common mistakes that add to your travel time or stress load. Even the most seasoned travelers find themselves making constant adjustments to improve their airport game.
While getting TSA pre-checked is a huge help, not all of us have time to go through that process, and if you're reading this article the night before a flight, that's not an option. Personally, it took me so much trial and error to figure out a travel technique that works for me, and even with my hacks in place, there's still room for error and I still have yet to become pre-certified. And while there's always a chance of crowds, delays, and setbacks, taking the time and effort to make yourself as efficient of a traveler as possible, leaves less room for complications. Here I've put together a list of ways to get from departure to destination as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Avoid A Checked Bag, If You Can
Though this isn't always an option, avoid checking a bag if you want to streamline your airpot experience. Rolling your carry-on items can create more space, and wearing as many layers as possible on the plane is one way to reduce the amount of clothes you need to pack.
Organize Your Bag Properly
If you're traveling with liquids in your bag, keep them in a plastic bag, and make sure that you leave that bag on the top of your clothing pile. This way, if security needs to go through your checked bag, they don't have to tear through all of your carefully packed valuables — or, if you're using a carry-on, you can easily pull the bag out in the security line. You want to keep your items in question easy to access and organized.
Check In Before Your Flight
The second you're able to check in online, do it. Usually, it's 24 hours before your flight and you'll get a notification online, but sometimes that notification won't come through or will get lost in a spam folder. So take the initiative and go online to initiate the process of checking in.
Get Organized Before Heading To Immigration
Though having physical paperwork is not always necessary, showing up at the immigration window with your flight information, hotel information, and personal identification all printed out on paper can be helpful. The faster you're able to declare yourself, the faster you can be processed.
Download The Mobile Passport App
If you're traveling internationally, the Mobile Passport app is a must. Get through customs faster and more efficiently with the Mobile Passport app and bypass the regular line when you're returning to the U.S. — because there's a dedicated line for the Mobile Passport app, so you literally just have to show your phone at immigration and you're literally home free. This is a HUGE time saver.
Head To The Left At Security
Because most people are righties, they tend to veer towards the right lane at security, which makes the right lanes more congested. Instead, veer left and move through security faster.
Dress And Pack For Security
If you have a laptop, pack it in a separate TSA-approved bag to reduce the amount of time you spend fumbling with it. If possible, avoid wearing jewelry, complicated shoes, bulky jackets, and clothing with hardware. The less likely you are to set off security bells, the more likely you will be able to speed through the security line.
Download The MyTSA App
To stay on top your flight with continuous updates, download the MyTSA app. There, you'll be able to check out wait times, hear about delays as soon as they're announced, check on TSA approved items before heading to security, and get live assistance from a TSA member from wherever you are.
Don't Wear Headphones Before Your Flight
If you're listening to music while you're at the airport, you might miss an important announcement about your flight. As you head to security, take your headphones off or free at least one ear so that you don't miss any important security updates. Sometime the TSA will announce that you don't have to take off your shoes, or that laptops can remain in your bag, or that bulky top layers must come off. To get through as quickly as possibly, you'll want to make sure you're up to date with the protocol. Additionally, while you're at your gate, you'll need to be able to hear crucial details about your flight.
It sounds obvious, but when you're in travel mode, you might not be in touch with your best self. The combination of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and confusion can make travelers short-tempered and short-fused. Remember that the airport staff is there to do a very intense, stressful, and important job, so greeting them with kindness and patience is of utmost importance. Take a deep breath and speak to airport officials with whatever niceness you can pull from your sleep-deprived self.