As anyone who has done any flying recently knows, spending time in airports can definitely be a pain. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will make your trip a lot better. In this slideshow, you’ll learn 60 of the best airport and travel hacks, guaranteed to make traveling much less of a headache.
Some of these hacks you may already be aware of, and some of them might be totally new, but we’ve done our best to include something in this presentation for everyone. Even the most seasoned of travelers are bound to learn something new.
If you have the time, getting a short workout in before heading to the airport is always a good idea. It will boost your endorphins and give you the energy you need to power through your day of travel. It will also make it easier to take a nap if you’d like later on once you get on the flight.
Everyone knows that it’s hit or miss how long it is going to take to get through security. Plan ahead for when to arrive at the airport by using the MyTSA app. It’ll give you the most up to date information, such as the current average wait times in the security lines, etc.
If you are a fan of smooth flights and dislike turbulence, one of the best things you can do is book morning flights. Due to weather patterns, the earlier you fly the less likely you are to have a bumpy flight. Storms are much more likely to occur later in the afternoon as the day progresses.
It’s important to make sure you charge your devices as much as possible before you travel. However, if you’re in a pinch and can’t find a charging station inside the airport, one spot you can check is behind the televisions. Most TV’s these days have USB ports on the backs that you should be able to plug into.
Another turbulence avoidance hack is to choose a wing seat. The way the weight of the plane is balanced, wing seats will provide you the least bumpy ride. The worst place you can choose is the back of the plane!
Using TSA Pre-Check will help you get through security faster. If you get this certification, you can go in select security lines reserved for Pre-Check people that are generally shorter. If you fly internationally a lot, signing up for the Global Entry program will also save you time.
If air quality is important to you and you don’t mind a little extra turbulence, the best place you can sit is in the front of the plane. In general, the air in the front of the plane is cooler and fresher. In the back, it is typically slightly warmer.
If you need a place to escape all the noise for a minute and destress while waiting in the airport, consider heading to the chapel. Most airports have one and it is normally the quietest place you’ll find. Business lounges are also a possibility, but they typically cost some money.
Airplane coffee and tea isn’t always the best. If you have your own type that you prefer, you can always bring a few tea bags and an empty mug with you through security. The flight attendants on the plane will be able to fill up your mug with hot water.
We mentioned before the airport executive and business lounges as a good place to get away from the noise. If you have the money, they are definitely a great way to make your time in the airport more comfortable. Day passes typically cost between $30-75, and they normally have snacks and drinks available inside.
Don’t want to spend the money to enter the business lounge but still want to get one of the perks for free? Oftentimes you will be able to tap into their free wifi by sitting directly outside the lounge. Of course, this depends on the airport, but it’s worth a try!
This one is sort of common sense, however, it’s good to keep in mind that flight attendants are normal people too, just trying to do their job and get through the workday. Treating them nice instead of like your personal slave will go a long ways towards getting better service. If you have a request, be polite about it and remember to smile.
If your flight gets canceled, the reality is that there is probably going to be a mad rush to the service counter. Gate agents will likely be overwhelmed. By calling your airline’s customer service phone number, many times you can speak with a representative and rebook your flight over the phone much faster than waiting in line.
Many don’t realize that frozen liquids are allowed through airport security. If you are going on a long trip, bring a frozen water bottle with you and it will thaw out later on in the day. The catch is that it has to be 100% frozen. It can’t be partially melted already.
A trick for listening to music on a flight is to use Spotify Premium. Their service allows you to put entire playlists and albums into offline mode. That way you can listen to them whenever, even on the plane when you don’t have cell service or a Wifi connection.
A lot of people end up getting dehydrated while traveling. Try to drink a good amount of water before heading to the airport. It’s best to order water on the plane for drink service instead of things like coffee or sodas with caffeine.
Another component to staying hydrated is to avoid alcohol. Alcohol will also mess up your REM sleep, causing you to be more groggy and out of it upon arriving at your destination. Being hungover to start your trip sucks.
When you have a choice in which line to go through in security, customs, or any other situation really, you should always go to the left. People tend to choose to turn in the direction of their dominant hand. Most people are right-handed so they turn right. Because of this, the lines on the left will normally be shorter.
If you are traveling through airports, especially in foreign countries, it is a good idea to pass on the ice. A lot of ice in airports comes from water tanks that aren’t exactly super clean. Because of this, getting drinks with ice in them increases your chances of getting sick.
If you have a coat with a lot of big pockets, it can basically serve as an extra carryon bag. Fill your pockets with things that won’t fit in your backpack or purse. Of course, you want to make sure you are comfortable as well, so don’t go overboard.
With so many people traveling through airports daily, they often end up being huge breeding grounds for bacteria. Help yourself not to not to get sick by using disinfectant wipes liberally. When you get on the plane, one of the first things you should do is wipe down your tray table!
Another important aspect to staying germ-free is bringing hand sanitizer gel. Applying it a few times throughout your trip will go a long ways towards keeping you healthy. Just make sure that the bottle you bring is under 3.4oz and stored in a ziplock bag so that it makes it through security.
If you are traveling in a group of two, book the window and aisles seats, leaving the middle one available. As no one likes the middle seat, it is likely no one will book it and it will remain open. Then you will have more space to spread out. This tip is a little risky, so it should only be done on flights that you don’t think will fill up completely.
Keeping the air blowing on you throughout your flight helps keep the germs away. It also works to prevent your skin from drying out too much. If the air feels a little cold for you, no worries, just put a light sweatshirt or jacket on.
If you find yourself getting stuck with the middle seat all the time, you need to make an account with Expert Flyer. Set up a seat alert using their website. Then if someone changes seats at any time before your flight, it will send you a notification and you can swoop in to get reassigned.
The blankets they give you are often covered with germs. The only time you can really be sure they are okay to use is if they are presented in a sealed plastic bag. Although, it’s probably safest just to wear warm layers instead. If it gets too hot, you can always take them off.
The problem with carbonated drinks is that they can often cause gastric distress, especially when flying. You don’t need a bunch of air floating around in your intestines when the pilot is changing altitudes all the time. The pressure differences can easily cause some discomfort.
Oftentimes, people forget to return their luggage carts or are just straight up too lazy to bring them back. You can save money by looking outside the terminal where they often get left. The bonus is after you use it, you can then return it and even make a dollar or two profit.
If you have a lot of devices to charge, it helps to bring your own electrical outlet strip. That way all you need to do is to find one outlet in the airport to charge everything at once. If you’re traveling with friends, they will love you.
If you are packing something like an electric razor or toothbrush that runs on batteries into your suitcase, it is wise to remove the batteries. Reason being is the appliances will often get switched on as the luggage gets shuffled around. Not only does security not like this, but it will also drain your batteries!
Which seat is the best on a plane depends on the airline company and the specific make and model of the aircraft. Find out which is the best by using Seat Guru. They list the best seats on any given plane based on passenger reviews.
There are actually multiple lost-and-founds within each airport, so if you happen to lose something you should check them all. Each airline typically has its own, as well as TSA, and the airport police. Where you start your search depends on where you suspect you lost the item originally.
It always helps to list your flight number on your car rental reservation. That way they can track your flight and will know exactly when to expect you. They will also be able to check if your flight has been delayed or not, and make sure to have your car ready upon arrival.
Most airlines’ lost and founds have a policy that if something has been sitting there for over 90 days unclaimed it is basically up for grabs. If you forgot to bring something on your trip you need like a phone charger, it doesn’t hurt to ask the lost and found attendants if they have one that has been there past the time limit. Just be honest with them.
A little insider secret is that flight attendants often bring chocolates for one another when they are going on flights as passengers. If you give the attendants on your flight some chocolates, they might think you are one of them. It is possible you can get preferential treatment by using this strategy.
When going through security, put small items in your jacket pocket and send them through the X-ray machine in your jacket instead of separately on their own. It will likely speed up the security line as doing it combined takes up less space on the conveyer belt versus placing the items into one of those circular bins.
If you are thirstier than normal when they are doing drink service on a flight, just ask for the whole can. 99% of the time the flight attendants will give it to you. If not, they can always provide pretty much unlimited water.