Airports are a necessary evil when traveling. From the long security lines to the overpriced food, I think it’s safe to say that very few people actually enjoy their time at the airport. Going through security it seems like its everyone’s first time at the airport and long layovers feel like a massive waste of your time and energy. And the absolute worst part? Seeing all those people who look effortlessly relaxed while dealing with the same struggles you are! Never fear because this frequent traveler has come up an airport survival guide! After countless hours spent in airports, I have put together this collection of tips and tricks to make your time at the airport just a little bit easier. I really hope my airport survival guide can help make your next trip a little bit easier!
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Always Arrive Early!
I am a firm believer that travel is less stressful when you aren’t rushed. I follow the 2 hours for domestic and 2.5 hours for international rules in terms of when I get to the airport. This ensures that I have plenty of time to check in at the airline counter, check a bag if needed, get through security and have time to relax on the other side before boarding. For me, nothing stresses me out more than feeling rushed at the airport. I really hate standing in security constantly checking my watch and worrying about having to rush right on to my plane on the other side of security. Inevitably, whenever I arrive later than my preferred 2 to 2.5 hours in advance, the check-in line is out the door and security is even worse. Do yourself a favor and just get to the airport early to reduce your stress levels.
Know the Security Rules
Before you enter that security line, be sure you know what to expect. Will you have to remove your shoes? Can your liquids stay in your bag or do they need to come out? Most airports have the same general rules but if it is your first time flying be sure you know what the security line will entail. This will save you and your fellow travelers a great deal of time and frustration. One rule that seems to be constantly forgotten is that all your liquids need to be under 3 ounces(100m) and fit into one quart sized ziploc bag. Some airports want this bag to be out and visible when you go through the screening so don’t bury it in the bottom of your bag! Other common rules include needing to remove your shoes and having to take your laptop and larger electronics from your bag. If you are a frequent traveler, it may be worth investing in either Clear or TSA Precheck to speed through security and make things a bit easier! Surviving Security is the first step in Airport survival.
Pack Some Essentials
I have an entire post about my My Carry on Essentials for Long Haul Flights, and many of those can make your time in the airport easier as well. One of the most important things you can carry with you is an EMPTY Water bottle. Staying hydrated can keep you energized and feeling great throughout your time at the airport. Bringing your own water bottle lets you fill it up after security and waves you from buying a $4 bottle of Evian. I personally love my Tervis Water Bottle and highly recommend it! Another great thing to always have is a sweater! Airports are notoriously cold so having a sweater can keep you comfortable! The other thing I never travel without is my portable charger! Travel days are long and this keeps all my electronics alive as long as possible.
Bring Some Snacks
Airport food is expensive, unhealthy, and often tastes bad. unless your travels overlap a meal time in a way that makes eating there unavoidable, pack some snacks to ward off hunger! I usually opt for some good protein bars, something salty, and something sweet. This gives me a good combination of things to snack on. It also saves me from getting any kind of craving that I might have! This is also a great way to save some money! No sense wasting money on food at the airport when you can bring snacks from home!
Airports are boring. That is the truth. Whether it is the time before your flight, or on your layover, be prepared to entertain yourself. I personally carry a book with me, as well as my laptop or tablet. This gives me a variety of different ways to keep myself busy in the airport. On trips when I anticipate a lot of airport time, I actually try to carry a coloring book with me! Coloring not only relaxes me, but is a great way to entertain myself! And the best part? my coloring book doesn’t have a battery that can die on me! So if you can picture yourself coloring on your next 4 hour layover, pick up a great coloring book and some decent pencils and get going!
Airports can be stressful, but they don’t have to be! If you follow these basic rules of airport survival, your next trip can be much easier! Always remember to relax and breathe because at the end of the day: you are on your way to somewhere amazing!
From one Misguided Millennial to the world, these are my tips for airport survival!