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If you’re not used to traveling, dealing with an airport can be overwhelming. Learn how to navigate an airport like a pro here.
From arriving at the airport to checking in through security to boarding the plane, navigating an airport can be overwhelming.
If it’s your first time flying or you’re traveling on your own, this adds to the confusion and the worry. After all, busy airports aren’t fun!
However, if you plan well, you can make the experience run a lot easier and smoother and can reach your gate with ease.
That’s where we come in to help. Wherever you’re traveling in the world, here are ten top tips on how to navigate an airport with ease.
Read the Baggage Guidelines
When it comes to packing your luggage, always read the guidelines for the specific airline you’re traveling on as each will determine how much weight you can bring.
If you’re just bringing a carry-on, be aware of the number of liquids in your case and any electronics you choose to bring.
Choose a Carry-On
If you’re traveling for a short period, then consider choosing a carry-on bag rather than checked baggage. Not only will you save money on the extra baggage fees, but with a carry-on bag, you can sail past baggage check.
Otherwise, you’ll need to wait in line to check your baggage which can end up taking a while.
Once you’re aware of how much weight you can bring, one of the best airport procedures for first-time flyers is to pack strategically so that required items can be removed easily at security.
If you’re traveling with just a carry-on, pack your liquids at the top of your bag so you can easily take them out. If you’re traveling with a computer or tablet, make sure it’s easily accessible too.
If you’re bringing any gifts, make sure they’re left unwrapped. You never know if the security team will want to inspect what you’re traveling with so plan to wrap any gifts after you’ve been through security or have arrived at your destination. You don’t want that careful work to go to waste!
Take Care of Your Passport
Have a specific place on your person to keep hold of your passport so that it’s easily accessible. You’ll need to show it several times during the airport process, but you’ll need to find a safe place that you’ll always return it to.
A travel wallet is a great idea, and you can also keep your boarding pass there too for easy convenience.
Checking in online ahead of your flight is an easy way to shorten the airport process.
Almost all airlines offer online check-in, which means you don’t have to spend time at the check-in kiosks to print your boarding pass on arrival. If you’re traveling during a particularly busy time of year such as Christmas, this can save a lot of time.
Usually, you’ll have an option to print off your ticket at home or have your boarding pass sent to your phone.
Dress comfortably and appropriately for the airport with easy-to-remove outerwear, belts, and shoes. Many airports will require you to remove your shoes when traveling through security, so choose a pair that can slip off easily.
Likewise, avoid wearing clothing that features metal buttons or snaps that will alert the metal detector.
Most importantly, wear clothing that will be comfortable for when you’re flying! Nobody wants to be stuck in stiff jeans or uncomfortable shoes when sitting on a plane for hours.
Always arrive at an airport early. Try to arrive between one to two hours for domestic flights and between two to three hours for international flights. After all, you never know if there will be any delays or holdups when traveling to the airport.
Not only is arriving at the airport early sensible, but it will also help ease your worries as you’ll have plenty of time to spare. If you’re in a rush to catch your flight, it’s a very stressful experience!
Read the Highway Signs
If you decide to drive yourself when deciding how to get to the airport, always remember to read the highway signs for an easy route to the airport.
Signs to airports are always marked and labeled, but roadways can be confusing especially if you’re not used to driving them. So, be sure to always follow the signs!
Alternatively, you may wish to arrange airport transportation for an easy and stress-free ride.
Prepare for Security
Before reaching security, make sure you have everything ready to show them for a quick and smooth process. You’ll know when you’ve almost reached the security line as it will be marked.
Unlock your carry-on and empty your water bottle if you have one. Don’t worry, you can refill it on the other side of security.
If you have any liquids, make sure they’re packaged together in a see-through bag. Have your boarding pass and passport or ID ready.
Keep an Eye on the Gate Boards
Once you’ve passed security, have a look at one of the big monitors displaying the flight times and their designated gates. There you can check if your flight is on-time and if your gate is up yet.
Be sure to keep an eye on these boards, as things can change! Your gate may suddenly change or there may be a delay.
Now You Know How to Navigate an Airport
With these tips and tricks, now you know how to navigate an airport with ease!
If you’re traveling alone or are a first-time flyer, be open to friendly conversations with those traveling around you, too. Speaking to other people who are in the same boat and will have their own words of wisdom when it comes to flying is sure to ease your worries even further.
Plus, you’re sure to meet some interesting people – travelers always are!