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.
1. Exercise beforehand
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.
2. Use the TSA app
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.
3. Choose a morning flight to avoid turbulence
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.
4.Charging your devices
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.
5. Wing seats have less turbulence
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!
6. Avoid security lines with TSA Pre-Check
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.
7. Best air quality
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.
8. Peace and quiet in the chapel
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.
9. Bring your own tea bags
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.
10. Airport lounges
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.
11. Free wifi
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!
12. Be nice to the flight attendants
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.
13. Call the customer service line to rebook
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.
14. Frozen liquids are permitted
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.
15. Spotify Premium works while offline
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.
17. Avoid alcohol
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.
18. Turn left
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.
19. Pass on the ice
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.
20. Wear a coat with a lot of pockets
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.
21. Bring disinfectant wipes
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!
22. Hand sanitizer
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.
23. Book the window and aisle seats
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.
24. Turn the air on
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.
25. No more middle seats
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.
26. Don’t use the blankets
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.
27. Carbonated beverages are dangerous
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.
28. Use someone else’s luggage cart
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.
29. Electrical outlet strip
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.
30. Remove your batteries from appliances
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!
31. Find the best seat
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.
32. Tracking down lost possessions
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.
33. Add your flight number to car rental reservations
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.
34. Lost And Found Freebies
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.
35. Bribe the flight attendants with chocolate
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.
36. Put jewelry and other metal items in your jacket pocket
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.
38. Empty water bottle trick
While you can’t bring drinks through security, you can bring an empty water bottle with you. Once you get past security, just find a water fountain and fill it up. This will save you from paying $3-4 or more for a bottle of water inside the terminal.
39. Airport maps
If you have a tight layover, search online for airport maps before your flight. While you may be familiar with your home airport, those in other cities can often be confusing. Downloading a map onto your phone ahead of time can save you the hassle of trying to navigate your way to the correct terminal for your connecting flight upon landing using the random signs you see.
40. Be careful when you use your headphones
We all love listening to music and listening to podcasts, but one place you should be very careful about doing so is when you are sitting at your gate. If you have your headphones in, it is possible you will miss important gate announcements about your flight.
41. Bring some Ziploc bags with you
You never know when you are going to need a Ziploc bag while traveling. They can definitely be very useful. Put your liquids in them going through security, store some snacks in them, or use them to keep your phone dry on one of your travel excursions.
42. Find an empty gate during long layovers
If you have a long layover in between flights, there is no need to go directly to your gate. A better choice is often to explore a little and find a gate that is empty to hang out at for a while. Empty gates will provide you a more peaceful experience, complete with more available power outlets and better Wifi.
43. Air travel clothes
Having your own set of clothes that you wear specifically for air travel can make the experience more enjoyable. Pick something presentable, but most importantly comfortable. Wear a few layers so that you can adjust depending on the airport and plane temperature.
44. Set your phone in airplane mode
If you are not using your phone and aren’t expecting any important calls, you should set your phone in airplane mode to save battery. It’s amazing how long the charge will last if you do this. You may arrive at your destination to find that the battery has miraculously only dropped a percent or two.
45. Luggage that is overweight
When packing, make sure to put the heaviest wearable items near the top of the suitcase. That way if you find out at the airport that your suitcase is over the weight limit, you can just pull out one of the heavier clothing items you packed like a jacket or sweatshirt and wear it on your person instead.
Having to take off your belt while going through security is annoying. If you’re wearing loose fitting clothes, you might find that you have to hobble through the X-ray machine with one hand on your pants so they don’t fall down! A simple solution is to wear a belt with a plastic buckle. Then you’ll be able to just leave it on.
47. Organize your carry-on
Organize your luggage and carry-on and make sure to pack everything you need within easy reach. Nothing is worse than having to dig through your bag hundreds of times to find the things you are looking for. The placement of critical items like your passport and boarding passes should be given the highest priority.
48. Store the essentials you need for your flight in one bag
Another thing to consider when packing your carry-on is what you’ll need on your flight. Consider storing all your inflight essentials in one smaller bag inside your carryon… things like your headphones, snacks, Kindle, etc. That way once you get on the flight you can quickly just pull out the small bag and pop it into the pocket on the back of the seat.
49. Photograph your parking spot
Remembering where you parked your car after returning from a trip can often be a huge challenge. Help yourself not to forget by taking a photo of your parking spot as well as any relevant signs and numbers in the lot. This will make things a lot easier for you upon your return.
50. Best time to buy tickets
According to flight experts
, the best time to buy plane tickets is on Tuesdays at around 3 P.M. This is because Tuesday mornings are when many budget airlines post their new sale prices. Later in the afternoon, other airlines like United or American often lower their prices to compete.
51. Make your luggage standout
A lot of suitcases look the same so it’s a good idea to add some flair to it to make it stand out. Tying a short brightly colored string or ribbon on the handle will make it easier to spot when it is coming down the luggage conveyor belt later. You can also just buy a crazy looking suitcase like the ones in the photo.
52. Clear your browser cache before buying tickets
Oftentimes, airlines store cookies in your cache while you are browsing for flights. These can affect what prices you are shown when you search again later. In order to get the best prices, clear your cache every day before you check flights in order to get the updated rates.
53. Massage your feet
It’s easy to get foot cramps when on a plane packed into those tight seats. Treat yourself to an in flight foot massage by bringing a golf ball with you. Take off your shoes and roll the golf ball under your feet. It will feel great. Just don’t let the ball go rolling away!
54. Portable battery packs
If you need a quick charge and can’t find an outlet, it helps to have a battery pack with you. Investing in a cheap portable battery pack can save your phone or device from dying during your trip. They are definitely a good thing to have, just in case…
55. Stop others from reclining their seat
There is actually a device out there called Knee Defender which locks onto your tray table and prevents the person in front of you from reclining their seat. Surprisingly, the device has been approved by the FAA, so if you need some extra legroom you could consider using one. Just be prepared for the potential argument that could arise from the angry person in front of you who is stuck sitting in an upright position the whole flight!
56. Ask for an upgrade
It never hurts when you are checking in to ask for an upgrade to first class or business class. Every once and a while they will agree to do it for you for free, especially if it is a fairly empty flight. You can also ask one of the gate agents right before boarding.
57. Eating healthy
Food inside airports isn’t always the healthiest. If you have special dietary needs or simply just want to avoid all the grease and calories of the expensive airport food, you can always pack your own snacks. Just make sure to check the TSA guidelines beforehand to know what you can and can’t bring.
58. Wear glasses instead of contacts
Taking your contacts out to sleep on planes is a big hassle. Contacts also have a tendency to dry out when traveling through airports anyway, so it’s much easier to just wear your glasses right from the start. If you feel you must wear your contacts, however, make sure to bring eye drops with you!
59. Check your flight status
Always check your flight status online before heading to the airport to see if it has been delayed or not. Most airlines’ websites have pages where you can enter your flight number and it will give you the latest information. Also, when you buy your tickets, make sure to enter your cellphone number so they can send you text updates about your flights
60. Download inflight entertainment apps
Many airlines are starting to get rid of the screens on the back of the seat for in-flight entertainment and instead encourage you to watch their entertainment on your own device. If you are flying with one of the airlines that do this, make sure to download their app ahead of time on your phone or tablet if you’d like to watch movies or series. Once you are off the ground, you will no longer be able to download it.