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Whether you’re traveling for business, your annual timeshare week, or the trip of a lifetime, the airport is usually the worst part of the journey. With a little planning and these airport hacks, you can minimize the airport hassle and travel smarter.
Airport food is limited, expensive and often not very good. Save yourself the expense and stay nourished by bringing your own food. Of course, no list of airport hacks would be complete without talking about security. Make sure whatever you bring complies with TSA regulations. Some airports will ask you to remove food from your bag. So, separate food into its own plastic bag so you can easily unpack and repack it. They generally allow solid foods, but if you do need to bring liquids like salad dressing or olive oil, pack those in TSA-compliant toiletry bottles.
Sure, we can do everything digitally on our smartphones, but sometimes an app is glitchy or the Wi-fi fails. Don’t get stuck at the front of the line with no boarding pass. Instead, print your boarding pass or take a screenshot. In fact, that old-fashioned paper boarding pass is much faster. No more pulling it up on your phone and fumbling with your password either.
As you know, TSA does not allow passengers to bring water through security but staying hydrated while traveling is a must. Instead of shelling out $3 for a bottle of water in the airport, bring your own empty water bottle and fill it up once you pass security. You’ll be refreshed, save some cash, and eliminate another plastic bottle from the landfill.
Most of us are so dependent on our devices these days for music, books, movies and our boarding passes. The last thing you want to do is run out of battery life while traveling. Stuck in the middle seat with nothing to read or watch? No, thanks! Avoid that by charging up all devices in advance. Then bring a portable charger for charging on the go. Although you’ll be able to charge devices in some airports and on some airplanes, that’s not a guarantee. Finally, make sure you bring all your chargers, cords, and earbuds. The airport will probably have them for sale but not at a price you want to pay.
One of the difficult things about airports is they’re often unfamiliar. Not knowing where you’re going is hard enough in a regular situation, but if you’re running late for your connection, getting lost can ruin everything. Avoid this pitfall and look up the airport layout in advance. You can find maps of most airports online. Take note of bathroom locations. Check out the restaurants and shops. And find out where you can get a cab, rideshare, or shuttle. No one wants to drag luggage all around the airport when they could be on the way to the beach.
Not all airports are created equal. In fact, some are the stuff of nightmares. Sometimes the best airport hacks involve avoiding an airport altogether. If you can choose airports to connect through, choose good ones! You’re looking for on-time flights, fewer crowds, and solid amenities. Skip O’Hare and LAX and opt for Minneapolis/St. Paul or Denver. A nice space with ample seating, outlets, dining, and clean bathrooms can make all the difference in a long—or short—layover.
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