Stop dreading the airport and start loving traveling again with these efficient tips.
As the epicenter of travel, going to airports is inevitable. For some, like myself, the experience is enjoyable and even fun at moments. But for others, it’s stressful and monotonous.
Ever since I was younger, I’ve loved the airport. The adrenaline rush comes from being woken up for an early flight and spending dawn exploring halls, passing newsstands, restaurants, and fluorescent-lit gates. That childish excitement has bled into my adult life.
Unlike my own experiences, many find themselves anxious and overwhelmed when at the airport. Whether it’s because of travel anxiety, fear of flying, or some other reason, people struggle to navigate them.
As an avid flyer, I’ve acquired tips and tricks that make my experience at the airport smooth, efficient, and enjoyable every time.
1. Bring a Book or Magazine
There is nothing worse than arriving at the gate early with nothing to do. Boredom is a killer and the number one cause of antsy behavior. The cure: a book or magazine.
They are the perfect distraction while waiting for and on a flight. Bring one from home or buy one at the multiple bookstores and newsstands scattered around the airport.
Trust me, scrolling through your phone is only satisfying for so long, and with a quick pace of life, it’s rare for someone to finally read that book they “keep meaning to.”
2. Find an Empty Gate
Gates overflowing with bodies and excessive chatter can quickly feel overwhelming and claustrophobic. But they can be entirely avoided by finding empty gates to wait at instead.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Go to the screen of flights that have just boarded or are about to. Once these planes have boarded, their gates will be vacant for at least another hour until the next flight.
Someone can comfortably lounge there in peace, removing themselves from the hectic nature of their actual gate, filling with bodies, until it is time to board their flight.
3. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
This one might be obvious, but it completely changed my traveling experience. If you’re anything like me, water is essential while traveling, no time for dehydration.
But those overpriced oversized water bottles sold are a knife to the heart and bank account. Reusable water bottles save the hassle of breaking the bank and are even better for the environment. It’s a win, win.
Also, every airport has public water fountains to fill them with. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and someone never has to worry about running out of water again.
4. Check into flight online.
There is nothing more frustrating than having trouble checking in for a flight. Whether it’s lengthy lines, understaffed airline counters, or problems with the self-check-in kiosks, any issues are stressful.
Checking in online is the simple solution. It’s an efficient, alternative method that is so easy, it can be done during the ride to the airport. You get a mobile boarding pass that can be accessed and scanned from your email or apple wallet.
There’s nothing more relieving than arriving at the airport, dropping off a checked bag if needed, and strolling to security in under five minutes. Online check-in saves time, energy, and paper. It’s beautifully efficient and eco-friendly all at once. What’s not to love?
5. TSA Precheck
To close out this list of helpful tips from me to you, I’m ending on my golden one – the hidden (or maybe not) secret of smooth sailing in the airport: TSA pre-check.
Having TSA pre-check for three years has revolutionized my airport experience. Security is usually half the battle of the airport – the miserable waiting in lengthy lines in between black retractable belts.
With TSA pre-check, that waiting game is over. Someone can sail right through security in shorter lines and with less hassle. They don’t have to take their shoes, electronics out, or jewelry off.
To get a TSA pre-check, you make an appointment at the closest airport. During the meeting, a worker asks you a series of standard questions like your occupation and address. It’s a relatively short and laid-back interview that pretty much everyone can pass.
If accepted, the initiation fee is 85 dollars and lasts for five years. You will get a known traveler mile that you type in when buying a flight or even after. Take advantage of the opportunity to avoid lines and be able to breathe while at the airport.
Bonus Tip: Utilize Airport Transportation
One of the biggest causes of concern people have when it comes to air travel is navigating to and from the airport. Finding and paying for parking can be impossible, and asking a family member or friend to drop you off can be a tall order.
For these reasons and many more, it can be extremely beneficial to seek out a transportation service that offers trips to your local airport. Not only will this save you an exponential amount of time, but you will also be traveling in comfort and style.
While hiring an airport transportation service can be a little more expensive than a taxi, for example, you are getting far more from your dollar with the transport service. Not only can you schedule ahead and not worry about finding a taxi, but you can also schedule a return pick-up, and do so from the comfort of a premier limousine!