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Best airport tips for easier travel

All those Instagram posts of people living it up in the airport lounge and sipping champagne on the tarmac are great.

But for the rest of us, airports, flying, and everything in-between can be a pain. Long lines, pre-flight security checks, and screaming babies can make the travel experience less than ideal.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! We prepared a list of 18 airport tips to help make your next trip a breeze. From the best time to check in to what to pack in your carry-on, we’ve got you covered.

So put your tray table up and your seat back in the upright position; we’re about to take off!

 

1. Get travel insurance

Even the most carefully planned holiday may be interrupted by unforeseen events, such as cancelled flights, lost luggage, and other travel mishaps.

Travel insurance can help protect you from financial losses or provide assistance in an emergency. Sure, it may cost you a few extra bucks, but it could save you a lot of money and headaches in the long run.

Be sure to read the travel insurance policy before you buy one, as different policies offer different coverage and levels of protection.

online check-in.

2. Use online check-in

One of the simplest and most effective ways to make your airport experience more seamless is to check in online. Most airlines allow you to do this 24 hours before your flight, saving you time at the airport (especially if you’ve no checked luggage).

You’ll need your booking reference number and passport to check in online. Once you have these handy, head to your airline’s website and look for the online check-in option.

Pro tip: Remember that in some cases, online check-in isn’t just a time-saving measure but a requirement. You might be charged an airport check-in fee if you don’t do it in advance.

 

3. Wear comfortable clothes

Comfy clothing makes travel more pleasant and can also help you get through security faster. Easy-to-remove shoes or trousers without a belt speed up the security screening process as you might need to remove them.

Pro tip: Make sure your clothes have no metal clasps or buttons, as these will set off security detectors and slow you down.

 carry-on

You know the drill: liquids in containers with a maximum volume of 100ml, all packed in a clear, re-sealable 1-litre plastic bag.

But there are other things to remember when packing your carry-on. Be mindful of weight and dimensions, as many airlines have strict restrictions on both.

Also, be mindful of items not allowed in carry-on luggage, so you don’t have to waste time unpacking at airport security.

 

5. Weigh your luggage before you leave

No one wants to be the person at the check-in counter paying a hefty fee for overweight luggage. It costs you extra money and slows down your check-in process.

Avoid the stress by weighing your bags before you leave for the airport.

You can do this using luggage scales — they’re portable and relatively inexpensive, so it’s a good investment if you travel frequently. In case you don’t have one, bathroom scales will do the trick just fine.

Pro tip: If you’re tight on suitcase space, wear your heaviest items of clothing on the plane. This will save you space and might even keep you warmer during the flight!

 

6. Research the airport

If you’re unfamiliar with the airport you’re flying in or out of, do some research before your trip.

Find out where things are — the terminal, check-in desks, security checkpoints, toilets, and restaurants — so you can easily navigate your way around. This is especially helpful if you have a connecting flight and need to change terminals.

The airport website is an excellent place to start, but you can also check out travel forums for first-hand accounts of people who’ve been there before.

7. Arrive early

This one’s probably the most obvious tip, but at the same time, the most common mistake people make. 

Better late than never doesn’t apply when it comes to flying.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, check in, and clear security.

How early should you arrive? It depends on the airport. But a good rule of thumb is to be at the terminal at least two hours before your flight for domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

Of course, if you’re travelling during peak times, give yourself even more time as the airport is likely to be more crowded than usual.

 

airport ride-hailing

8. Get to the airport with ride-hailing

Using a personal car to get to the airport has many drawbacks — the time and cost of parking, the possibility of getting lost, or being late. Save yourself the headache and use a ride-hailing service like Bolt.

We offer 24/7 airport transfers to hundreds of major airports worldwide, so you can sit back and relax on the way to your flight.

 

9. Buy noise-cancelling earplugs or headphones

Whether it’s airport noise, the plane engine, a crying baby or your seatmate’s chatter, plenty of things can ruin your airport or in-flight relaxation time.

Investing in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs is worth it if you fly often. These will block out most of the ambient noise on the plane so you can (hopefully) get some rest.

However, be careful when using noise-cancelling headphones at the airport as they make it difficult to hear important announcements.

 

10. Bring snacks and an empty water bottle

We all know how expensive airport food and drinks can be, so it’s always a good idea to bring your snacks.

An empty water bottle’s also a lifesaver. Although liquids are restricted in carry-on luggage, once you clear security, you can fill it up at a water fountain and avoid paying for overpriced bottled water at the airport.

 

luggage easily identifiable

11. Make your luggage easily identifiable

“Is that suitcase mine or someone else’s?” We’ve all been there, standing in front of the luggage carousel, trying to figure out which black suitcase is ours.

Make your bag stand out by attaching a bright ribbon or sticker to the handle. This will help you spot it right away and save you the trouble of rummaging through a pile of identical-looking bags.

You can also buy luggage tags with your contact information if your bag gets lost.

 

12. Buy a portable charger

If your phone’s running out of battery and you’re thinking, “I’ll charge it when I get to the airport”, think again. There are usually only a limited number of outlets available, and they’re generally all busy.

To avoid being stuck with a dead phone, bring a portable charger with you so you can juice up your devices on the go.

hand sanitiser

13. Bring a hand sanitiser or wipes

Airports and aeroplanes are full of germs. From the departure lounge to the in-flight tray table, there are so many surfaces you come into contact with on a plane.

A small bottle of hand sanitiser or some disinfectant wipes are easy to throw in your carry-on and will keep you and the surfaces around you clean.

 

14. Stay close to your gate

Once you’ve checked in and gone through security, find a seat near your gate and stay put — especially if your flight takes off soon.

If you’ve got some spare time and want to grab a bite or do some shopping, choose places close to your gate, so you don’t have to walk too far when it’s time to board.

flight information screen

15. Keep an eye on the flight information screen

Flight information screens are usually found around the airport and display relevant information about your flight, such as gate number, boarding time, and any delays.

Even if you’ve already checked, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the screen as your flight information or status may change.

 

16. Be cautious when using airport Wi-Fi

Who doesn’t enjoy free Wi-Fi, especially when you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to do?

However, be cautious when using public Wi-Fi, as it’s not always secure. Avoid logging into personal accounts or conducting financial transactions while using airport Wi-Fi.

If you must use it, switch to a cellular data connection or make sure you have a VPN installed on your device to protect your data.

 

17. Consider lounge access for a longer layover

If you have a long layover and want to avoid spending hours in an airport chair, you might want to consider using an airport lounge.

Most lounges offer comfortable seating, complimentary food and drinks, fast Wi-Fi, and other amenities.

Of course, access to airport lounges usually comes at a cost, so make sure it’s worth it before you purchase a lounge pass.

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