How to Get Through the Airport like a PRO

Traveling is one of my favorite things ever, but I know it can be annoying or stressful for others. Personally, I love visiting other countries and learning about other cultures. I just flew from Chicago to San Francisco to spend the rest of the summer with my family, and I’ll be traveling to Malta and Turkey later this summer, which I’m super excited about. I’ve visited over 20 countries in the past, so I’ve learned a few things about getting through the airport quickly and having a smooth journey. Pretty much everything nowadays is digitalized, so I make sure to take advantage of that. Here are some useful airport tips to remember to make your traveling experience easier!

Before I go to the airport, I check-in online so I don’t have to wait in line at the airport which saves a bunch of time. Make sure you get the airline app (for me it’s usually American or United Airlines) and check-in as soon as the feature is available, which is usually 24 hours before your flight time. Some airlines even offer mobile boarding passes, which means you can skip the check-in counter altogether, so I usually add my pass to my Apple Wallet. You can pretty much find any information about your airplane or airport on the app, so I always check to see if my flight is still on time and stuff like that because it usually updates faster than the screens in the airport. 

Most importantly, I follow the general rule of getting to the airport 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 before an international one, just to make sure you have enough time to check your bag if you need to, to get through security, and to get to your gate by the boarding time without feeling rushed. Speaking of checking your bag, some airlines allow you to pay the fee online, but I found that there are sometimes check-in counters outside departure doors, which are a lot cheaper. When I got to O’hare, I only had to pay $4 per bag instead of the regular $30. PLUS there was literally no line.

Security is the most annoying part for me, so I want it to be as quick as possible. I recommend getting TSA PreCheck, so you don’t need to take off your shoes/belt/etc or take anything out of your bag. It’s $89 per year, but if you travel often, it’s sooo worth it. Obviously, try to pack efficiently and try to travel light. Check the airline’s baggage restrictions to avoid any surprises at the airport. Consider using packing cubes or compression bags to save space and stay organized. Also, keep essential items like medications, travel documents, a change of clothes, toiletries, and electronic devices in your carry-on bag. This ensures you have everything you need, even if your checked luggage gets delayed or lost. If you can’t fit everything, don’t worryyou can probably find what you need at your destination.

I like to wear my slip-on Vans and a comfy hoodie with sweatpants to make going through security checkpoints easier. Layer your clothing 

so you can adjust for temperature changes during your journey. Airports can be dry, and food options may be limited or expensive, so I carry an empty reusable water bottle to fill up after passing security, and I pack some light snacks to keep me fueled throughout the journey. Most planes nowadays have power outlets, USB ports, and wifi, but I suggest bringing a portable charger to keep your devices charged during flights or layovers.

Remember to always check with your airline and airport for any specific guidelines or procedures they may have in place, as these can vary, and keep an eye on your flight status through airline apps, email notifications, or airport information displays so you can adjust accordingly. Whether you travel a lot or very few times in a year, I hope you learned something new! Safe travels!


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