Running late to the airport can be stressful. Between long lines, flight changes, and the high prices of airplane tickets, time is an important resource that can’t be wasted when you’re heading to another city or country via plane. If you’re always running late when traveling through the airport, here are five tips that can help you save time and keep on schedule.
Plan your transportation ahead of time
Before you even head to the airport, make a game plan so that you know when and how you’re getting to the airport. Depending on if your flight is domestic or international, you’ll want to arrive to the airport between ninety minutes and three hours ahead of your departure time. Parking can be a major time sink when at the airport, so make sure to research where different lots are located and what the fees to park at the airport are. At airports in larger cities like London, you can even find maps and services to help you outline your options. If you’re looking for airport parking Gatwick, for instance, you’ll be able to secure the best rates and even make plans for a professional driver to meet you and park your car for you, saving you even more time and sparing you from having to find a parking spot.
Of course, if you want to avoid the hassle of parking all together, plan on using a rideshare or taxi service instead of driving yourself. Some rideshare and taxi services even let you book a car ahead of time.
Prep your luggage
Planning your luggage according to TSA regulations is also a valuable way to save time. Pack light if possible, so that you don’t even need to check your bag and can instead use your luggage as a carry-on item. Include a spare bag if you’re planning on getting souvenirs, and pack it inside your luggage on the trip to your destination. That way, you only end up checking two bags on your return flight. Make sure that the proper regulations about weight and dimensions are followed when you’re packing, so that you don’t have to make any rash decisions in the check-in line when your luggage is too heavy.
Keep your boarding pass easily accessible
When you’re at the airport, you need to always keep your boarding pass in a secure and easily accessible location. One option is to print it out ahead of time and keep it in a pocket that is unable to be reached by others. If you have the ability to digitally access it on your smartphone, you can also take a screenshot of it. That way, you can quickly pull it up at a moment’s notice without having to open apps or search through your email.
Get priority in line
Long queues are two of the biggest ways to waste time at the airport. One way to avoid these lines is to apply for and get TSA pre-check. For a small fee, you can get a five-year subscription that allows you to swiftly move through security lines without needing to remove your shoes or laptop. If you’re getting held up during check-in or the line is particularly long, it’s a good idea to wait at a cafe in the airport near the check-in line. As your departure time approaches, the airline will start to prioritize flights that leave the soonest, and you’ll be able to skip ahead. If you’re truly in danger of being late, you can always talk to a security guard or other airline employee to see what they may be able to do for you.
Separate your toiletries and follow TSA guidelines
Just like your luggage needs to follow TSA protocol, it’s equally important to follow TSA guidelines for all of your carry-on items, especially toiletries. Packing your toiletries in a clear plastic bag allows TSA agents to access them quickly in case anything needs to be inspected further while you progress through security. It’s important to make sure the sizes of all liquids are properly-sized so that you don’t wind up having to get rid of them in line.
Whether you’re running late or are just looking to cut corners to save time, the above tips can help you move through the airport more efficiently. With planning and an understanding of the TSA guidelines, you can eliminate wasteful behaviors in the airport and get where you’re going faster and with less hassle.