Essential Airport Hacks You Need to Know Now
Raise your hand if your favourite thing about going away is the time you spend at the airport. Nope? Nobody? We didn’t think so either. Airports are a bit of a necessary evil if you want to get from A to B, but they don’t have to be a complete nightmare. Follow these tips and tricks from some of the world’s leading travel bloggers and have a hassle-free time at the airport the next time you fly…
Get a Fast Track Pass
My top travel hack to quickly breeze through a busy airport is to purchase a fast track pass. These are offered on most airport websites. If you buy your pass in advance you can get them for under a fiver and this is a few euro very well spent! You will pass all the security queues and will get through to the departures lounge in minutes. Most of the people with fast passes are frequent fliers so you don’t have any passengers holding up the queues with liquids and loose change. This is great if you’re in a rush, hate the idea of a long queue, you’re travelling with kids or you simply want to start your holiday in style (without breaking the bank!)
Tip by Monica from The Travel Hack
If there’s one thing travelling around the world the past decade has taught me, it’s that travellers don’t use most of what they pack. The next time you travel, commit to bringing only a carry-on bag. This will save you time (at check-in, as well as when you’re leaving the airport) and money (for checked luggage – so long as your carry-on is within the airline’s size and weight requirements). It’ll also help preserve your sanity, since you won’t have as many belongings to look after, neither during your journey nor when you arrive at your destination – a light bag will take a weight off your mind.
Tip by Robert from Leave Your Daily Hell
Pack a Refillable Water Bottle
As a professional travel blogger for the past 5 years, I’ve spent my share of time in airports. You can’t avoid them if you want to explore the world. One simple trick I’ve used to improve the experience is to pack an empty water bottle. Once you pass through security, just fill it up at a water fountain and bring it on the plane. This allows you to avoid buying expensive and wasteful bottled water in the terminal. Staying hydrated while you’re in transit is super important for keeping healthy and happy on the journey, plus I believe it helps with jet lag too!
Tip by Matthew from Expert Vagabond
Do Your Research
After a long journey, foreign airports can be overwhelming on arrival. Do you know the best way to reach the city or your accommodation from the airport? In many airports, unofficial taxi drivers roam around looking for fares, and taking a taxi with them might be overpriced – or worse – unsafe. Or if you have a long layover, do you know what amenities are available – day rooms, or inexpensive passes to the airport lounge? Lastly, if you have little time between connecting flights (I never schedule layovers of less than 90 minutes), do you know what your options are in case you miss your connection?
Don’t wait until the last minute to figure all this out; do some research (most of which can be done through the airport website) in advance.
Tip by Nora from The Professional Hobo
Take the Left Queue
I find that most of my airport hacks, which are pretty much common sense, revolve around saving time. I’ve learnt that it’s a good idea to pick the security checkpoint farthest to the left because right-handed people (who are usually the majority), tend to go to the right first. Not sure if it’s always the case, but it’s worth taking a minute to assess the situation. Most people just follow the crowd but if you take a step back, sometimes you see opportunities to join a much shorter queue.
Tip by James from The Savvy Backpacker
Download the App
If you haven’t already got the app, get downloading now. Find the lowest fares for your dates, check in while you’re on the move and receive your mobile boarding pass delivered straight to your phone.
Roll, Don’t Fold
When we’re packing for a trip, we’re big fans of the ‘roll up’ method. Instead of folding our clothes, we roll them up into neat little rolls. That way, we avoid too many wrinkles, and even fragile fabrics like silk don’t suffer too much from being stuffed into a suitcase, no matter what size suitcase we take.
Tip by Anna from 12 hrs
Carry a Change of Clothing
It’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage as you never know when your check-in bag might mysteriously disappear on arrival. It’s happened to me and it’s a life saver to have a fresh set clothes after a long flight. It’s also useful to have your own zip-loc plastic bag with all your toiletries organised instead of having to unpack and repack everything from your hand luggage at security.
Tip by Paul from TravMonkey
Wear an Extra Layer On-Board
If you’ve got an early flight, prepare for chilly conditions on the tarmac when you arrive and depart by taking an extra hoodie or scarf. These will also keep you warm when the air-conditioning kicks in during the flight. If you’re flying with toddlers or young children, take a light blanket to keep them cosy and help them sleep while they’re on board.
Fly at Off Peak Times
A good tip if you’re travelling solo is to choose the most unpopular time to fly on that particular route (research this before you go, but in my experience, it’s usually late flights on a Tuesday) and then select your seat online as late as possible. This way you have a chance to book your seat on an empty row meaning you can sprawl out as much as you like and even lie flat across the three empty seats the entire flight if you wish!
Tip by Becky from Global Grasshopper
Use Airport ATMs for Local Currency
Rather than heading to a currency exchange/bureau de change, go to the nearest ATM when you land to get your hands on the national currency. Currency exchange bureaus will usually have their own add-on fees and exchange rates, which can sometimes cost more than a bank.
Take a Photo of Your Parking Space
Avoid parking amnesia by taking a quick photo on your phone of where you’ve parked your car in the airport car park before you leave for that two-week trip away. Knowing you’re in section F on level 2 will save you time and hassle when you’re just off the plane, weighed down with luggage and want to get home as quickly as possible.
Charge Your Phone in Airplane Mode
When your phone battery is running dangerously low and you know you’ve only got a few minutes to charge it at a power outlet, you can speed up its charging time by switching to Airplane Mode in the phone settings. This will disable all wireless radios inside (you won’t be able to receive calls or go online) but you won’t be slowing things down by having these processes running in the background. Your phone will charge a little bit faster and you’ll have more power than you would if you’d charged your phone using the usual settings.
Got a tried and tested tip of your own to add to this list? Leave a comment below and share your advice.