After the tickets have been purchased, the hotel booked, and the bags packed, the only thing standing between you and your vacation is the trip itself, which often requires the stress of dealing with an airport. Whether it’s arriving hours before departure to ensure you can park, check your baggage, and get through security, or just worrying over that 30-minute window to change planes, airports can present difficulties. In addition, most people don’t spend enough time inside airports to become pros at navigating them. Luckily, by following these tips, you can make your next trip as relaxing as possible.
Ideally, start with some research. Be sure that you select luggage and pack appropriately for your trip; a carry-on bag that’s too big or a checked bag that’s too heavy will definitely delay your travels. If you will be traveling to or through a busy airport, it can be helpful to schedule travel mid-week; alternately, select smaller airports nearby. You will also want to speed your travel by doing most of the pre-trip tasks online. If you don’t plan to check bags, check in online and you can march straight to the security checkpoint. Smartphone users should also consider downloading their airline’s applications or saving their 1-800 numbers.
Before you arrive at the airport, make sure your luggage and personal possessions are well organized; you will want easy access to your identification, a quick way to remove laptops from carry-on luggage, and slip-on shoes to breeze through security. Of course, making your way through your home airport is probably a snap; it’s the short layovers at unfamiliar airports that present the biggest challenges for travelers. Prepare yourself ahead of time by checking maps of destination airports, and when the captain permits cellphone use after landing, look up your connecting flight’s gate number with your smartphone. Waiting to get off the plane is the perfect time to make sure you’re ready to get to the next one.