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21 Airport Hacks to Make Traveling Easier and Budget-Friendly

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Kate MurphyGuest Blogger
July 13, 2016 · 2.6k Views

airport hacks to make traveling easier and budget-friendly

You love to travel, but loathe airports. Waiting in line, rude people, and flight delays are just the beginning of what can go wrong on a bad travel day. Getting through an airport doesn’t have to be a test of mental and physical stamina. With a little research and planning, you can make this unavoidable part of your journey faster, easier, and cheaper. Here are some tips that will save you time and money on your next trip through the airport.

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1. Invest in travel size toiletries.

Review the travel sections on Sephora and ULTA to pick up TSA approved sizes of your go-to products. To save money, start collecting complimentary hotel toiletries to take on your next trip.

2. Bring spare Ziploc bags.

Having extra Ziploc bags will come in handy if you lose one. They are also great for organization and can be used in the case you pick up small travel size liquids while moving through the airport.

3. Save money by researching parking before you go to the airport.

Daily rates for using an airport parking lot are steep. Research your options to find the best deal using websites like Discount Park and Ride.

4. Bring an empty water bottle.

Staying hydrated is important when traveling. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you get through security.

5. Pack your own food.

Airport food is insanely expensive. Save money by packing your own food. Easy to eat snacks like trail mix, granola bars, and pre-cut vegetables and fruit are a healthy and cheap alternative.

6. Freeze your liquids.

If you are on a long flight, freeze your liquids to drink once they melt. Liquids need to be frozen solid when going through security though.

7. Keep track of your luggage.

Finding your luggage in baggage claim is always a challenge. If you are not worried about theft, tie a bright scarf around the handle to mark which bag is yours. For more security, pick up the Trakdot Luggage Tracker and receive notifications to your phone regarding the whereabouts of your luggage.

8. Use the checkpoint farthest to the left.

Airport lines are the worst, especially when you are rushing to make a flight. Research shows that right-handed people usually turn right first. Cut waiting time and avoid crowds by heading to the checkpoint farthest to the left.

9. Keep items you’ll want on the flight in easy reach.

Don’t put anything you’ll want during the flight in the carry-on that goes in the overhead compartment. It’s a pain, and disruptive to fellow travelers, when you have to reach above and find whatever it is you want. Instead, pack your phone, laptop, iPad, magazine, scarf, snacks, etc. in a bag or purse for easy access.

10. Pack a scarf or light sweater.

Nothing is worse than traveling on a plane en route to a tropical destination, but being unable to relax because the cabin is freezing. Stay comfortable and wrap up with a scarf or light sweater – each can also be used as a pillow.

11. Sign Up for the VIP Airport Lounge.

If you fly a lot or need to decompress, sign up for the VIP Airport Lounge. Annual memberships are expensive, but you can sign up for a day pass, which costs around $50. You’ll enjoy peace and quiet, snacks and drinks, and an amicable staff.

12. Sign up for TSA Precheck.

Sign up for a 5-year membership to TSA Precheck for only $85 and cruise through security on your next airport visit.

13. Sign up for Global Entry.

If you are traveling internationally, Global Entry is the way to go. Benefits include no processing lines or paperwork and reduced wait times.

14. Plan ahead using the My TSA app.

Input your airport into the My TSA app and see security checkpoint wait times and departure delays.

15. Get the best seat on the plane.

Are you tall and need legroom? Love the window seat? Pick out your preferred spot before booking your flight using websites like Seating Guru.

16. BYOB.

It’s always wise to plan ahead when traveling. This includes what you’ll be drinking once you reach your destination. You are allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on a flight as long as you adhere to TSA guidelines. The drawback is that you will have to wait until you land to imbibe.

17. Check for free Wi-Fi.

Some airports offer travelers free Wi-Fi while others allow you to sign in for a certain amount of time. (You will have to pay a fee to use Wi-Fi past the allotted time).

18. Empty contents from your pockets into your carry-on.

Save time and avoid holding up the line by putting all pocket items into your purse or carry-on bag before going through security.

19. Carry your own portable battery charger.

The airport charging station is always packed with travelers. Avoid the mob, and having to stand while your phone charges, by investing in a portable battery charger.

20. Pack hand sanitizer and wipes.

A plane is like a big Petri dish harboring germs that can make you sick. Stay healthy and clean while traveling by using hand sanitizer and wipes.

21. Check the local transportation system at your airport.

Your travel budget will suffer a major hit if you take an airport taxi. Research local transportation options to see if there are any air trains, metros, or buses that you can take to your destination.

By following these tips you’ll save time, money, and energy on your next trip to the airport. Bon Voyage!


catherinemurphy profile picture
Kate Murphy is a native of Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in art history, she moved to New York City to test the waters. She enjoys writing about art, culture, fashion, design, and travel. In addition to writing, Kate works with artists, leads, street art tours, and moonlights as an illustrator.

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