Chances are at some point in your life you've counted down the days, hours and minutes until that long-anticipated, carefully planned vacation. What you probably didn't look forward to were hassles getting through checkpoints at the airports or complications with long flights. Fortunately, there are tips you can follow to make your next trip close to hassle-free. Here are a few of them:
- Check-in online
Like the idea of a shorter bag-drop line or skipping the ticket counter entirely? Then try checking in online. With just a few clicks on your personal phone you will be set to by-pass one step of the airport - especially if you pack everything in a carry-on.
- Arrive early
This might be a given, but throw in an impending holiday or busy travel day and even "early" may barely cut it when it comes to time-consuming security lines. Best rule of thumb? Get to any major airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure time. Allow additional time if it's around a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving.
- Don't pack prohibited items
While most of us don't aim to pack items that are strictly prohibited on a flight, some items may still be taken simply because the traveler wasn't prepared or didn't read the latest list of "no-no's" posted by the TSA. Solution? Be sure you become familiar with the prohibited items on the TSA's list and if you have questions, simply type it in the search bar here.
- Don't check luggage
You can save money if you don't check luggage and retrieving luggage won't hold you up when you want to leave the airport and get to your destination. Remember, there are laundromats around the world – so pack light and don't be afraid to wash a few items while traveling.
- Remember the 3-1-1 Rule
It's the rule for carry-on liquids – do you know it? The rule limits passengers to one quart-sized zip top bag of liquid toiletries of no more than 3.4 ounces each.1 It also is a good rule of thumb to place this quart-sized bag in an accessible place so you can easily take it out of your luggage and into a bin during screening.
- Keep credentials handy
This may seem like a no-brainer but many travelers seem to forget it all the time: Keep your boarding pass and identification ready as you enter the security line because you will be asked for it immediately.
- The perfect outfit
No, we aren't talking about dressing in the latest fashion for your flight. We are speaking of dressing to fly through security quickly and easily. To do this, skip the jewelry and belts, and keep your pockets empty. Also, make sure your shoes are easy to slip on and off. It's also a smart idea to wear comfortable shoes that allow you to walk (or run) quickly if you're at risk of missing a connecting flight.
- Where would we be without apps?
Annoyed by a long layover in a strange city? Want to book a different flight home? Simplify your life by downloading travel apps to your smartphone. Certain apps like YELP can help you find things to do in an unfamiliar place, and KAYAK can find new flights for you.
- Remember to pack travel insurance
Perhaps we are a bit partial, but don't forget to purchase a travel insurance plan when you are planning your vacation. Travel insurance can reimburse the cost of pre-paid trip expenses if you need to cancel due to a covered reason, or if your trip is interrupted. Plus a travel insurance plan can cover emergency medical expenses and lost luggage.