by Marina Liao 10/24/15
Traveling is always a fun and exciting experience, but getting through the airport can be a struggle. If it happens to be an unlucky day, you’ll get stuck with long lines, rude airport security officials, or delayed flights. Luckily with just a little bit of research, there are many ways you can make your journey faster and more comfortable. We rounded up all the tips and tricks so you don’t have to! Learn to navigate airports like a pro with the advice below. You’ll be surprised how much time and money you end up saving.
1 Bring Your Own Spare Ziploc Bags
Since TSA requires you to separate your liquids into clear plastic bags, it is always a good idea to bring spare Ziploc bags in case you lose one or if you’re buying tiny travel liquids last minute. For carry-on bags, TSA has a 3-1-1 liquids rule and you are only allowed to have one quart-sized clear plastic bag.
Source: Instagram user im_not_your_papi
2 Freeze Your Liquids to Bring on Planes
The only con to this trick is your liquids must actually be frozen solid like a rock. If you’re on a long flight, however, consider freezing your favorite drinks.
Source: Flickr user chapstickaddict
3 Pack Your Own Snacks
If you can, you should avoid buying snacks and drinks at airports because they’re overpriced. Instead pack your own travel snacks, like nuts, cereal bars, candy, and other dry goods, to munch on while you wait for your flight.
Source: Instagram user rochainc
4 Bring an Empty Water Bottle
Like snacks, water usually costs a lot more at airports. The best way to cheat the system is to bring an empty water bottle or canteen and fill it up once you get past security checkpoints.
Source: Instagram user senspasf
5 Take a Nap at the Airport
Some airports, like London’s Heathrow, offer sleeping pods where you can catch up on rest between long flight transfers. Pay $39 for four hours and you can take a shower (body wash and towels are provided) and enjoy a comfortable nap (not on the airport floor). If you’re traveling internationally, check to see if your airport location offers this sleeping amenity. Your body will thank you.
6 Pick the Checkpoint Farthest to the Left
If you hate waiting in line (and who doesn’t?), research shows that most people are right-handed and tend to turn right first, so do the opposite and go left. For more on how to find faster airport security lines, follow these tips.
7 Sign Up For a VIP Airport Lounge
If you’re a frequent flier, you can use your flyer miles to buy a membership to airport lounges. Most lounges also offer day passes (under $50). These private, fancy spots are perfect for resting and offer amenities such as a great bar and knowledgeable staff.
Source: Flickr user Luke Lai
8 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Free Things
Especially when it comes to flight upgrades. Take advantage of special events; if you were recently married (on your honeymoon) or have a birthday, tell the airline staff — they may be willing to upgrade you. Traveling alone also makes it easier to ask for a flight upgrade as well as just simply asking! Do so quietly, and the worse that can happen is a polite no.
9 Wear Your Extra Luggage
Worried about your carry-on going over the weight limit? Wear the heaviest items and wear layers to get past security. Then head to the nearest bathroom and switch out of the clothes.
10 Fly Red-Eye
If you really hate packed airports and rush-hour traffic and don’t mind overnight flights, try booking for a plane that leaves past 10 p.m. You can simply go to sleep and wake up at your next destination without all the usual airport hassle.
Source: Instagram user federica_franchino
11 Collect Unused Hotel Toiletries
And bring them with you next time you travel. These mini bottles are the perfect carry-on items, and you won’t have to shell out the extra money for reusable bottles or travel liquids.
Source: Flickr user amcgore
12 Sign Up For TSA Precheck or Global Entry
These programs allow you to bypass long lines and get into another country twice as fast. Check to see if you can apply for global entry.
Source: Flickr user dionhinchcliffe
13 Store Your Laptop in an Easy-to-Access Place
If you don’t have a laptop case, invest in one. Security usually makes you scan your laptop separately, so always have it in an easy-to-reach spot of your bag or suitcase.
Source: Flickr user cfarivar
14 Always Check For Free WiFi
There is also a trick circulating that adding “?.jpg” to the end of a URL allows you to access the Internet for free.
15 Wear Glasses
If you wear contacts, you’ll notice how your eyes often get really dry during the flight (as well as the rest of your skin). Glasses may not make a fashion statement, but you’ll be comfortable, and you can always switch into contacts once you land.
16 Bring a Light Scarf or Sweater
Always expect an airport or plane to be cold. Bring a light blanket or extra sweater, hoodie, or scarf to keep yourself warm before and during the flight.
Source: Instagram user ___christmastime___
17 Bring Wet Wipes
Planes are one of the easiest places to catch germs and a cold. Pack wet wipes to use during the flight or while you’re at the airport. They’ll keep your hands clean and refresh your face after a flight.
Source: Instagram user nadisecret
18 Check Airport Real-Time Conditions
Check to see what’s happening at your airport (whether there’s a delay in flights, long lines, or other issues) before you leave your home.
19 Wrap Your Luggage Handle
If you’re the type to worry about someone else taking your luggage, make your suitcase identifiable by tying brightly colored fabric or ribbon to the handles. You’ll be able to spot that red bow amid all the black suitcases rolling out.
20 Carry a Portable Battery Charger
Airports have charging stations, and that’s usually the spot everyone gravitates toward. And often you can’t get a seat next to an outlet, so you end up standing off to the side while keeping an eye on your phone that’s charging. To be on the safe side, carry around a small portable charger that you can pull out anytime.
Source: Instagram user futurocks
21 Skip the Taxi Service
Check out the local transportation systems at your airport destination. See if there are air trains you can take to a regular metro or a bus that will take you to your destination. Avoid taxi services if you can, but if you really want to travel via car, check out services like Uber (which can be a lot cheaper in European countries).
Source: Instagram user jrfernandez09
22 Download Offline Google Maps
In case there is no WiFi when you land at your destination and you have a limited online data plan, download the Google Maps app beforehand.
Source: Flickr user ToastyKen