Traveling to new places is invigorating and exciting, but just like any new experience, unexpected obstacles are bound to appear. This is especially true of getting through the airport, which is a journey all its own. Between lost luggage, long security lines, and delayed flights, there are plenty of ways in which things can go wrong. Unfortunately, these events are out of our control. However, with a little thought and planning you can make your experience at the airport smoother, faster, and–most importantly; less stressful. Listed below are a three things you can do to properly prepare for the airport:
1. Pack smart. The best way to avoid any issues with luggage is to only bring a carry-on and have no checked bags. However, if you must check a bag, make sure that it is clearly marked with your name and contact information. Looping a bright piece of tape through the luggage handle will aid in identifying your bag for retrieval at the carousel. Also, throw a change of clothes in your carry-on along with any other personal necessities–travel-sized toiletries are great for freshening up after long flights–as back-up in the event of your luggage being misplaced. Additionally, remember the 3-1-1 rule for liquids in all non-checked baggage: bottles must be no larger than three ounces, separated into a one quart bag, with only one bag per person. Be sure to check the airport website for a list of items that are considered liquids, as things such as lip balm and deodorant are classified as liquids. Your quart bag will need to be visible when going through security, so keep it accessible.
2. Dress thoughtfully. Comfort takes priority when dressing for travel, but it is important to keep in mind the process of going through security. For example, you will have to remove your shoes, so wear slip-on shoes with socks to avoid stumbling around and walking barefoot on a surface that has been touched by hundreds of other people. Also, select an outfit that does not require a belt, and save accessories and jewelry for when you arrive. Anything on your body with metal will have to be removed to proceed through the metal detector. If you’re not sure whether your accessories contain metal or not, just play it safe and leave it behind or pack it. Be sure to empty your pockets as well–even the smallest item like a ball of lint can be detected by the body scanner, resulting in a recheck. Following these steps will ensure you pass through security without any time-consuming issues.
3. Prepare documents. Photo identification and a passport (for traveling abroad) are required for entrance through airport security. You can also speed up the process by accessing the TSA pre-check online, which basically serves as a fast-pass through security. Remember to also have a physical or electronic copy of your boarding pass on hand. If using a mobile boarding pass, have a screen shot saved on your device in case you encounter issues with internet access. Once you get through security, recheck your flight time and boarding gate on the departure board as there may be changes.
Whether you are a regular traveler or a first-time flyer, getting through the airport can seem like a hassle. Unfortunately, things like misplaced baggage, busy security gates, and flight delays are unavoidable. What you can do is plan ahead. When you pack smart, dress thoughtfully, and prepare documents ahead of time, you can ease airport stress and focus on your destination. Keeping these tips in mind, you will be prepared to go anywhere!