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“Keep It simple, stupid” is a very well known phrase that we all apply to our everyday lives! So, why not apply this principle to travel too and well, make your life simple? So, go ahead and read about our 15 airport hacks! These tips are not difficult, or ground-breaking, but these little things go a long way to make your journey stress-free!
1. Smartphones and gadgets
So we’re all pretty much married to our phones, right? We know, we are! So even the thought of our phone dying is a terrifying one, especially with no charger port in sight! So why not purchase a portable charger as they are fairly cheap and can be bought from Amazon or eBay.
Think ahead to how long you will be spending at the airport and how long it will be until you are at your destination. Wall chargers are hard to find so you might want to bring a portable charger. You can pick these up pretty cheaply now and can often get multiple charges out of them.
‘Is there WiFi and how do I obtain it?’ is definitely most people’s first thoughts when they arrive at a new place. So, remember to research the airport you’re travelling to and see if they provide free WiFi access. This way, once you’ve reached the airport, you will know what to do, such as whether or not, you need to pay to gain the service. However, a word of caution, if the service is free, be very careful of the cyber criminals. Airports can be very popular places for such people.
Getting everything checked through security can seem like a nightmare at times. You’ve forgotten to take the 5p coin out of your pocket again! So preparing for this in advance will help make not only your life easier, but also that of the security staff’s as well. Therefore, keep all your valuables in a safe place in your hand luggage, so you are not throwing loose items into the trays. Another tip is bringing extra plastic bags with you and pre-pack your liquids. This means you can then extract it from your bag and put it in the tray with no faffing about fitting all your liquids in. Do check it’s the right size though – they only allow a specific size (20cmx20cm).
Speaking of security, some airports have exciting shops and eateries before security, on the check-in side but it’s best to ignore these and go straight through. You don’t want to head for security to find there’s an hour delay and your flight is in 40 minutes!
4. Check out seatguru.com
Are you that the person who scrutinises their ticket and tries to work out where they will be sitting? Well, worry no more! We’ve got you covered with one of our many airport hacks! You can check out the plane that you’re flying on and book the best seats in advance for a comfortable journey. Or if you’re like us and want to catch those instagram worthy shots of the sky, this is definitely a must for you! So why not go ahead and book that window seat? On seatguru.com there are even reviews to help you make the decision!
5. Baggage Allowance
This sounds like a simple one but check your baggage allowance! You do not want to be that person holding up the queue because your bags are overweight and you’re hastily unpacking! Also check the allowance for any connecting flights in case they vary. To help with this, we recommend wearing your luggage! Yep, you heard it right! Whilst, this may sound weird amongst the other airport hacks, it is very effective! So, go ahead and wear some of the bulkier items to save room in your suitcase.
6. Make your luggage easy to spot!
How many times do you stand at the baggage carousel, seeing black suitcase after black suitcase after black suitcase go on past? Of course, there are plenty of exciting, coloured suitcases available out there but if you just want to make your normal black one easy to spot, look at ways to make it distinctive and stand out. You can tie colourful scarves or ribbons around the handles – most suitcases have multiple handles so you can get at least a couple of the angles covered. Luggage belts* are fairly easy to come across too, so if you opt for a brightly patterned one this can also help to catch your eye. Combine these with a bright luggage tag, perhaps some stickers or decals, and you won’t be picking up anyone else’s suitcase by mistake again!
7. Pick your queue
Don’t just follow the crowd, plan your waiting carefully. There is some suggestion that most people who are right-handed turn right by instinct, and so turning left may find you in the shorter queues. However, I’m not too convinced how well this will work in practice! Maybe try this out at your local supermarket or shopping centre first?
One great tip though is to take a moment to look who is in the queue before you join it. If you’ve got a line dominated by families and tourists, it’s undoubtedly going to take longer. If possible look for the queue with businessmen or professionals who will probably know what they are doing and will also be wanting to move on as quickly as possible.
8. The Empty Water Bottle
This is counted as one of the common airport hacks but that’s because it works! All you need to do is take an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up on the other side.
Keeping hydrated on planes is important for your health and your skin, but waiting for those miserable little plastic cups of water just isn’t fun. A water bottle is usually among one of the most commonly purchased items at the airport! So, don’t let them exhort you into buying a water bottle for as much as £3! And yes, the newly popular stainless steel water bottles are allowed through as long as they are empty and you can prove so to security staff.
9. Clear your cache before booking your tickets!
Okay, so this may not count as one of the airport hacks but it is to do with travelling! This has hit the news several times over the last few years but it really can work. Several travel websites and airline websites do track your behaviour through cookies. If it’s not the first time you’ve visited their site and looked at prices you may see higher prices than a first time visitor. Before you press that book button, try running the same quote in a browser you don’t normally use, or using one of the browser options such as “incognito” (Chrome) or it’s often called “private browsing”. If you don’t have these options, you can delete your cookies which will “tell” the website it’s your first time visiting.
10. Book a lounge
Lounges are becoming more and more well known but they are not just for those with Business or First Class tickets. There are plenty that you can book in advance or even schemes such as Priority Pass that mean you can have access all year. They are usually much quieter and relaxed places to wait, often with snacks, drinks and newspapers, and they don’t have to be expensive! So, why not go ahead and book one so you can relax watching the beautiful runaway before your departure?
11. Defend your luggage from abuse
Make sure you’ve got name tags on your luggage. If the worst happens and your luggage is lost, these will really help the staff reunite you with your lost items!
Pack light and use a stackable suitcase. If you are over-packing, there is more chance that baggage handlers will be tempted to throw your suitcase around as it will be just too heavy to lift and place properly. On the other hand, if you have a soft suitcase where the shape changes depending on how full it is, try to make sure it is packed out (perhaps with air bags, or other light options) so it will retain its shape. Suitcases that stack easily help the baggage handlers out and minimise the need for them to throw it around!
12. Check-in Online!
Whilst you can’t avoid all the queues, some can be avoided! Why not check in online? More and more airports are allowing this service as they want to make the whole process easier for you. Besides, let’s face it, you don’t really want to stand behind ten or so families with their kids running around! Or vice versa, if you’re with kids, you don’t really want to be waiting around while they get more and more fidgety. Therefore, we consider this to be one of the most valuable airport hacks!
13. Pack some warm clothes
The air conditioning in the airport can often be really really cold! So the last thing you need is to catch a cold and start your holiday by getting sick! Thus, it’s really handy to pack a warm jumper with you because you’ll most likely need it. This can then be used on the plane too because the blanket provided isn’t always very warm.
14. Don’t rush to board
You are either the person that runs as soon as boarding is announced or you know someone like that. But we recommend waiting for a bit and letting the majority of the crowds go because the plane won’t leave without you! We promise! So, wait until the bulk of the crowd has gone and then step onto the plane with comfort. However, a potential downside could be that, some of the low-cost airlines start checking hand luggage once the overhead lockers seem to be filling up!
15. Pack a lot of snanks
Plane food is renowned for not being very desirable. Thus, the temptation to buy food from one of the overpriced shops is very hard to resist. So, why not save money and bring your own snacks? We recommend packing a lot of dry snacks as they’ll be easy to take through security. This way, you’re not only saving money but also have food to snack on as you wait for your flight! Plus, on some airlines nowadays you have to pay for meals anyway, so you might as well come prepared!
We hope you’ll take these handy airport hacks on board for when you are next travelling – they may seem like little things but they are guaranteed to make your journey that little bit smoother!