8 Time-Saving Tricks for the Airport
Published on - 2022-08-26
As the number of travelers has increased since the pandemic, it seems airports are often slower and more stressful than ever, even for a simple domestic flight. But thankfully these few easy tricks will help you save time when you get to the airport.
1. Take a Picture of Your Parking Space
You think you’ll remember where you parked. It was by that red sign, right? Then you return from your trip, exhausted, only to find a parking lot full of red signs and your car nowhere in sight. Take a picture identifying your parking space and you’ll stroll right to your car and be on your way home in no time. This trick can save you hours of wandering around airport lots.
While you’re at it, take pictures of your luggage, too. It helps you find yours on the conveyor, and you’ve got an exact image to show airline staff if your bags are lost.
2. Bring Your Own Snacks
Divide your snacks into portion-sized Ziploc bags for easy eating. This is an especially great airport trick for people with small kids. Prevent children—and yourself—from eating all the snacks at once so you’ll still have some for the airplane and any unexpected delays.
3. Handle Liquids Correctly
Remember, you can’t bring most liquids through TSA checkpoints. You’re best off dumping out your water bottle and refilling it after you’ve gone through security.
For liquids that are exceptions to the rule, knowing the procedure ahead of time will save you delays and questions from the security agents. Make sure liquid baby food is in the original labeled, unopened container. If you’re traveling with breast milk for your infant, brief yourself with the TSA’s current requirements on their website. Liquids that are part of a special diet will need a note from your doctor before going through security.
4. Check In at the Line by Business Travel
You don’t have to be in business class to travel like a VIP. When there are fewer business class travelers, and the other lines get long, the business class counter attendant may wave you over for faster check-in.
If you’re getting to the airport for a domestic flight, it helps when you stand in line with your ID clearly in hand. When you look ready to go, the attendant is more likely to signal you over to a faster line. If you’re busy fumbling with your baggage, you will end up waiting longer.
5. Use Security Checkpoints on the Left
This next hack is similar. People naturally gravitate to the right, so those lines tend to be more crowded. You might find that the line on the left moves faster, is less crowded, and is a more pleasant experience.
The same logic applies to finding a restroom partway down the terminal from your gate. If you go where most people aren’t, you’ll avoid having to wait.
6. Pack Your Carry-On Correctly
Be sure your computer and other electronic devices are in an easy-to-access place. Not only will you have to unpack your computer at security, but you will also want to find it easily onboard the plane. Keep snacks, hand sanitizer, and other essentials in a separate bag that you can easily remove from the carry-on. If you end up needing to stow the carry-on in an overhead bin, you can remove your most important items quickly before doing so.
Make sure to put an empty water bottle in your bag and fill it up once you’ve passed through airport security. This trick gets you around the liquids restriction.
You will also want a portable charger for your phone and headphones. Many planes have in-flight movies, but you’ll need your own headphones for the audio. And make sure to bring headphones with an aux plug in, as you likely won’t be able to connect your bluetooth earbuds to the plane’s infotainment system.
Finally, delays do happen, so make sure you have a change of clothes and any important items (like medication, toiletries, etc) in your carry-on, if you end up spending the night in an airport without access to your checked luggage.
7. Get to the Airport 2 Hours Before Your Domestic Flight Leaves—and Explore
You never know how bad the traffic and security lines will be until you get there. Two hours gives you plenty of time to check in. But then what?
You’re about to sit on a plane for several more hours. Sitting in a different chair before that only increases the muscle and neck cramping. Instead, plan a brisk walk around the terminals to stretch and get the blood flowing. You’ll find the flight itself more comfortable and have an easier time staying in your seat.
If you would rather rest, at least do so away from the chaos and noise. Most airport lounges allow you to pay a fee and stay there before your flight—even if you’re not a member. Enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks, along with workspaces and relaxing furniture. Some lounges even have showers and beds for use. Be sure and set your alarm for your boarding time if you decide to nap between flights!
8. Make Pick-Up Arrangements Before You Land
National chains are notoriously slow at the car rental counter, and you may end up waiting a long time for a ride share or taxi if you call for the pick-up when you land.
Instead, book with a local car rental company. They are usually dealing with a smaller fleet, making their processes more streamlined and their staff more available. You will not be just one of thousands of customers that day—they will be waiting for you!
Research online before you go, and avoid feeling trapped by “bundle” deals that put a flight and rental car together. Often you can find a similar price with much better service from a local company. If you’re traveling to Hawaiʻi, GoVibe is happy to pick you up!
Use these tricks to improve your experience the next time you’re at the airport. Wherever you go, travel safely!