In the past, the stress of flying abroad often meant worrying about the flight itself or whether you’d forgotten to pack an essential item.
These days, though, people care more about getting picked for that exhaustive bag search and getting through airport lines in time to catch a flight. It’s a sad but true fact that navigating airport security is more of an ordeal than the flight itself.
So how can you get through the airport quickly and easily? Is it still possible to arrive at your destination on time and with all your bags? Here are some helpful tips that will hopefully make that dream come true!
Getting around the airport easily starts with packing. Before you fold your first shirt, check your airline’s website for current restrictions. Then abide for them! If it says no liquids in carry-on, don’t try to sneak in some face cream because it’s not “really” liquid. Also check that your bags are the correct size and weight. Remember to check back a day or two before departure, in case anything has changed.
Your next concern will be making sure all your bags get to their destination. Tighter security and more frequent baggage checks mean there will be more mistakes: lost luggage or (if you’re lucky) bags that are temporarily lost. More and more travelers are even reporting finding items in their bags that don’t belong to them! Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase the odds that all of your bags get to the right place:
1. Make your hand luggage as small as possible. In fact, if you can, pack everything in a clear plastic bag. this says “I’m not dangerous” loud and clear.
2. Use plastic freezer bags to consolidate smaller items in your checked bags and use a permanent marker to write your name and destination on the outside. This will help baggage searchers in case of confusion.
3. Include your itinerary in each checked bag, complete with names, dates and phone numbers where you will be staying.
4. Mark the outside of each bag with something that identifies it as part of a group. I’ve been with groups using red pom poms (easy to get at a craft store), and I’ve used colored canvas straps myself. Think about it: if the baggage handler sees five yellow pom-pom bags headed for Rome and has a pom-pom bag in his hand, he probably won’t accidentally toss it into the pile headed for Kathmandu!
Now you’ve gone to great lengths to make sure your bags end up at their destination; But the best laid plans of mice and men are not always foolproof. What if the worst happens and your bags are lost or delayed?
This is where carry-on luggage comes into play. I realize I only recommended bringing as little as possible… But if you’re really worried about losing your luggage, I recommend bringing a change of clothes (don’t forget socks and underwear!) along with a few basics . In the past, this is where you’d buy a few small bottles of toothpaste and shampoo to pack in your carry-on. Sadly, those days are gone. The good news is that despite hand luggage restrictions, there are is it so some viable alternatives!
1. The one thing no one wants to do without on a 14-hour flight is toothpaste. You can get pre-glued brushes at http://www.dentakit.com/prdito.html”>Dentakit.com for about 50 cents each and throw them away when you’re done. Powdered toothpaste is also a great option. http://toothfresh.com/”>Toothfresh.com has the product itself and some very interesting information on the health benefits associated with this method. You may end up using it all the time!
2. Did you know that you can get a non-liquid shampoo? Consider yourself informed. http://www.jrliggett.com/”>JR Liggett’s has been selling organic shampoo bars since 1985. In addition to being very hair-friendly, it can be used on the rest of the body…and even clothes! of everything is that it is ecological.
3. If you’ll be traveling with young children, another important item on your list will be sunscreen. Check out “http://www.babiestravellite.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BTL&Product_Code=BBSBT”>Sun Blankie Towelette” to make sure neither you nor your baby starts the vacation with sunburn SPF 45+, offering the maximum protection you’ll need on that sunny Mediterranean beach!
4. Lastly, if you have any medication that you need to carry with you, make sure it is clearly labeled with your name. Liquid medications are generally restricted to 4 or 5 oz.
Well, your “stuff” is going to make it… now, how about you? Do you have a plan to get around the airport quickly and without worry?
airport security tag
The key to getting through airport security quickly and without much hassle is to follow the rules. Do not get mad; if you’re offended, write a letter to your congressman when you get home. But for now, if a man in uniform asks you to do something, do it. Here are some other tips to make sure you are not the one selected for a frisk:
1. Arrive early. They tell you to arrive about three hours early, so do it!
2. Keep your ticket, ID, and passport in one place for quick access. I recommend getting something like a passport wallet or ID holder around your neck. Remember to watch it at all times.
3. Wear comfortable shoes that can be easily put on and taken off. You will be asked to take off your shoes at least once at the airport, so I recommend slippers, sandals or flip flops. They will also be more comfortable on the plane.
4. Don’t use too many extras; avoid earrings, watches, belts, and pocket change if you can. If you can’t, pick them up ahead of time and put them in your carry-on until you’re through the line. Trust me, everyone else will appreciate it!
5. The last and perhaps the most important tip for “flying through the airport” is to dress elegantly and simply. Don’t wear t-shirts with vague messages or anything that others might see as “creepy” or “scary.” These days you are likely to be pulled over for a search!
Following these tips can seem a bit tedious and detailed when all you want to do is get to your destination. However, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s worth a little hassle ahead of time to get your vacation started quickly and without anxiety. That way, the only thing you’ll have to worry about when you get there is whether you should spend your time exploring or just laying by the pool.