10 Important Airport Hacks You Need To Know For Busy Travel Days

If you are flying during any busy time, from the holiday season to regular busy days/hours the key to avoiding stress and making it to the other end unscathed is to utilize these professional traveler, tried and tested airport travel hacks.

1. Always Check In Online

Checking in online 24 hours prior to your flight gives you several advantages. You are less likely to be bumped from your flight and you will already have your boarding pass. When you arrive at the airport unless you are checking a full sized suitcase you can move straight to the TSA checkpoint.

Airlines will let you gate check oversized bags for free, so you can save yourself $30 checked luggage fee by doing it at the gate.

2. Arrive Early

You may be able to get away with arriving later for flights during non-busy times, but during high traffic periods plan on arriving at the airport 2-3 hours early. The most stressful parts of flying on busy travel days are getting stuck in long lines either at check in or at the TSA check point. It doesn’t hurt to have some extra time up your sleeve – worst case scenario you have a coffee or something to eat once you have gone through the TSA check point.

3. Use The TSA App

Use the TSA app to see how long the wait times are. If they are looking excessive you can leave home earlier than planned.

4. Pack Your Carry-On Properly

One of the reasons that TSA gets so backed up is that travelers don’t think ahead when packing their carry-on luggage.

image via Smartertravel.com

If you don’t have TSA pre check you know up front that your liquids and laptops will have to be taken out of your bag before going through the x-ray machine. Save yourself (and everyone else) time and aggravation by having your liquids/skin care/makeup products packed together in see through bags packed at the top of your carry on.


5. Be Ready For TSA

Another reason that lines get so backed up at the TSA checkpoint is travelers arriving not ready to proceed through.

*If you don’t have TSA Pre Check be sure to wear shoes that slip on and off easily.

* Remove all jewelry, belts, small change from your pockets, jackets, hats, scarves prior to entering the TSA line. Ideally do this before you leave home, and put on belts and jewelry after passing through the xray machines.

*Have your bags and coats ready to go through the xray prior to getting to the front of the line.

If you watch frequent flyers/professional travelers you will see that they have all of this thought out and prepared prior to arriving at the checkpoint.

6. Turn Left

Most people are right handed, so after having their I.D and boarding pass checked they turn right to the x-ray machines. The lines are always quicker to the left.

7. Bring Snacks

On busy travel days and busy flight times the lines at the terminal snack bars can get long. It is much easier and less stressful to bring your own snacks and just proceed to the gate.


8. Bring A Phone Charger

Always arrive at the airport with a fully charged phone and a fully charged phone charger. You can’t rely on their being power socket/charging stations available, and even if there are phone charging ports at your seat on the plane there is no guarantee they will be working.

9. Bring A Refillable Water Bottle

Bring an empty water bottle and fill it at a filling station once you have cleared TSA. Should you encounter delays you will be glad you did!


10. Gate Check Bags

Most domestic flights now are fully booked which means they run out of overhead bin space. Save yourself the hassle of wandering up and down the aisle trying to find space for your carry-on bag by checking it at the gate.

There is no fee for gate checked bags and they get walked directly down to your plane, so unless you have a connecting flight you can be relatively certain your bag will arrive when you do.

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7 Great Travel Hacks ~ How To Travel The World On A Shoestring Budget

People always ask me how as a single parent I manage to travel internationally every year. Most assume that international travel is exceedingly expensive, but I can normally do a 2 week trip to Italy for my son and myself for less than a 2 week trip to Hawaii.

It just comes down to knowing how to work your way around the system.

With a few simple travel hacks up your sleeve, the world becomes your oyster.

Santorini Greece

7 Great Travel Hacks To See The World On A Budget

1. Frequent Flier Miles

The most obvious way to do it is by using frequent flier miles. Sign up for them through the airlines when you travel. Airlines are either part of One World or Star Alliance, so even if you are flying with multiple airlines you can generally consolidate those miles.

Also use credit cards with great frequent flier programs, such as American Express, Chase Sapphire and Capital One Venture. Use the card like a debit card, never running a balance, but running every possible expense through the card.
You would be amazed at how much you spend each year on food, transport, cell phone bills, utilities etc. At worst you will get a mile per dollar spent, but frequently you will get 2x or even 3x that.

A free round trip to Europe is normally around 50,000 or 60,000 miles, a trip from USA to Australasia is around 80,000 miles during peak seasons. A trip from the USA to Europe can run as low as 30,000 miles in the off season

You can easily earn a free round trip ticket every year without spending a single dollar more than you are spending now.

 Related Post: 10 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Your Life

2. Keep Your Dates Flexible

If possible don’t be married to specific dates. You can save drastically by moving your dates by just a couple of days. Normally Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s are cheaper days to fly. Sometimes moving your trip by just a couple of days can save you hundreds of dollars. At the moment I’m prepping this year’s Glam Italia Tour and by moving our start date by 2 days everyone will save $900 on their return airline ticket. Which means $900 more to spend at Prada!

3. Look At Alternate Airports

Sometimes flying into a nearby airport is considerably cheaper than going to your main airport. I prefer London Gatwick to London Heathrow, and it’s sometimes cheaper. If Rome is your final destination try flying into Milan instead and then catching either a cheap internal flight or go 1st class on the fast train and you will still come up hundreds of dollars cheaper.

I’ve known people to fly to Munich or Berlin and then take a sleeper cabin in an over night train, adding a few commuting hours, albeit in gorgeous comfort, and saving money.

Train travel in Europe is just fantastic. Super affordable, often luxurious, and the view as you travel is always stunning.

Look at multi flight options too. Maybe there’s a cheap flight from the US to Copenhagen for $500 roundtrip, and Copenhagen to Rome is only $200 round trip, saving you $1000 on airfare – the more you look around, the better deals you can find.

 Related Post: Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

4. Avoid Hotels.

If you want to keep your trip to a budget don’t stay in hotels. Air B&B offers rooms for rent in people’s homes, which is probably the least expensive way to travel. Personally I rent apartments every place I go. I choose gorgeous areas, rent divine apartments and spend a fraction of the money a hotel would cost. Renting an apartment gives you an entirely different experience. Rather than being a casual observer, you feel like you are a part of the community. I love it!

5. Eat In.

One of the glorious benefits of renting an apartment is that you don’t eat out all the time. I love to go to local stores and markets, pick up local foods and dine in. Eating at home cuts down the amount of food you consume (and the calories!) so you are less likely to overeat. Having a mix of eating out and eating in can save you a small fortune, but also can be much more relaxing as well as fun.

6. Pre-order Online

If you are planning on buying tickets to major tourist sites, try buying tickets online ahead of time. I do this for major art museums and tourist spots, and it not only saves dollars but also saves you time as you are not spending hours of your vacation standing in line.

 Related Post: 7 Travel Essentials You Can’t Leave Home Without

7. Take The Train

Flying and renting cars (in Europe anyway) can be unnecessarily costly. Train travel in Europe is exceptional. It always seems to be efficient, on time, and relaxing.

If you will be moving around a lot look at a Eurorail Pass, if only traveling a little look at booking tickets online, ahead of time for substantial savings.

If you are taking long train trips look at overnight trains. A sleeper cabin booked in advance can be much cheaper than flying and booking airport transit and a hotel.

Bon Voyage!

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