There’s only one thing standing between you and your holiday trip: the airport, complete with long lines and complicated screening procedures. Getting through all that with minimum fuss is easier with some advance preparation.
Put your ID, credit card and boarding pass in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag before you leave for the airport. This is for two reasons: first, you make sure that you don’t leave home without these crucial items by going through this exercise. Second, at the moment you need them, you are not wasting time fumbling around for them.
Prepare as much as you can before leaving. The night before you go, and again before you leave for the airport, check your airline reservations. If you can, print a luggage tag for your checked baggage and your boarding pass. Check in online as well. Bag-drop lines tend to be shorter than check-in lines, so it’s still a good idea to check in online when you can, even if you have bags to check. Many airlines also charge extra at the terminal for baggage. By going all-carry-on, you can completely skip the ticket desk. It’ll save you time and possibly money too.
Regardless of whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or automobile – head out and arrive early. You’ll want to be there two hours early for domestic flights, or three hours early for international, if you’re going by plane.
Your luggage weight should be watched. Many airlines have recently started introducing fees for a standard checked bag. Not to mention there’s always a hefty fee if they’re overweight or oversized. Before you even start throwing stuff in your suitcase, read up on your airline’s guidelines. Leave everything you do not need.
Dress with speed in mind. In the US, every airport security checkpoint requires you to remove your shoes, big belt buckles, coat or jacket, and pretty much anything else you can easily take off without undressing completely. Keep your pockets empty, skip the jewelry, wear a jacket that’s easy to put on and take off, avoid shoes that require excessive lacing or yanking – and you do yourself a favour.
Your laptop will have to be removed from its case. Put it in a a bin after removing it from its case, or use a checkpoint-friendly laptop bag that enables easy scanning. For separate screening, you’ll also have to remove full-sized video-game consoles, DVD players, and some video cameras from your baggage.
And be sure to move to the right. On the moving walkways, if you are not moving stand to the right. While walking through the airport, look behind you before stopping. It is important to realize others in the airport might be trying to make a plane or connection.