Travelling is fun and exciting, but the trek you have to take from an airport’s entrance to departure gate can be arduous, time-consuming and completely annoying. Look familiar?
Long lines, frustrating security checkpoints and seemingly ridiculous carry-on restrictions are enough to make even the most patient person say “Arrivederci!” to jet-setting altogether. Luckily, there are some rather ingenious hacks you can try to make the first few hours of a trip easier.
Learn to navigate even the craziest and most harried terminals with the eight tips below.
Gotta love science! We as a species tend to move in a direction that benefits our dominant side; because most of us are right-handed, that means we’ll veer right before we veer left. The theory holds true at the airport: the shortest lines are always to the left. Do as Beyoncé does and shift to that side to shrink your wait time.
If you’ve packed your carry-on to the brim and are worried about it fitting through the new luggage security screens, layer up! Remove bulky clothing items and wear them through security. We know one person who wears three or four layers through the X-ray machine so she can bring on more than she otherwise could. But don’t be that guy who wore 12 layers and then passed out on the plane.
If you think you’re going to encounter issues getting through security when travelling in and around the U.S., get pre-screened by their Transportation Security Administration. Nab more details on which airlines are eligible here. Trust us, if you’re a frequent traveller, you’re going to want this. Long lines, be damned!
Like hospital staff, airport employees have a ton of acronyms and sayings they use to get stuff done. If you want to move around faster and look like you know what you’re doing, get to know airport speak. For example, “in range” means a plane will land soon and should board within 40 minutes. There are terms for everything from “give me free food” to “sorry, your plane has been delayed.” Google away!
Take a Picture
Most of us have a smartphone with a camera, which means remembering where you parked your car in the airport parking lot is simple. Snap a shot of your auto against its section sign then pull the pic out when you return from your journey. You may think you’re going to remember, but you won’t.
Losing luggage is the worst, and airlines can often be of little to no help when tracking a pack’s whereabouts. Tack a tracker (like Trakdot) on your bag so you know where it is at all times. And when investing in a suitcase, skip the black lining and reach for something that stands out. Our personal goal when shopping for luggage is to find the ugliest, tackiest one of the bunch. Added bonus is it’s usually the cheapest, too.
There’s a workaround (when you’re NOT travelling to/from Canada) for those pesky liquid rules and regulations that prevent you from bringing H2O on the plane: freeze your water in a bottle before hitting the airport. Turns out frozen water is a-OK; the bottle just has to be scanned by an X-ray machine. Why are frozen fluids allowed but not liquids? Most explosive items can’t be frozen. Now you know.
Believe it or not, but airline attendants have the ability and the resources to upgrade you to a better seat or to give you access to a VIP lounge – all you have to do is ask. Research shows few people ever pose such “do me a solid” questions to the service staff they’re talking to. Who knows what could happen? You have nothing to lose.
There. Now you’re better-equipped for your jaunt through the airport. Safe travels!