Instead of wasting time standing in line at a kiosk, handle the process beforehand from your own computer. Not only will you be able to skip that line, but checking in ahead of time will allow you to see any last-minute changes like delays or cancellations.
It’s a good idea to travel light when you can, you’ll save time, money and maybe even frustration over lost bags. When you can, just bring carry-on luggage to avoid fees and long waits at the baggage carousel. If you’re taking a longer trip and the airline you chose charges hefty fees, consider shipping the things you can’t fit in a carry-on—save money and the hassle of dragging all your belongings around.
Higher ticket prices and other inflated travel expenses aren’t the only reason to avoid traveling over major holidays if you can help it, crowded airports are a major downer too. Not only will there be more people traveling, but in all those people there will inevitably be a few who slow down the process by making rookie travel mistakes.
This major time suck isn't always avoidable, but when it is you should take advantage of the non-stop flight. Sure, that one flight might be more expensive than the two flights with the layover but when you can potentially save hours, spending a bit extra might be worth it. After all, your vacation time is priceless!
Technology can either be a time-saver or a time-waster, depending on how you use it. At a minimum, download your airline’s App so you can have flight schedules and other relevant information at your fingertips. Then feel free to continue digging, there are a bunch of travel apps out there designed to make your trip easier and more enjoyable.
There are a few programs out there that speed up the process of going through security. For a fee (ranging from $50 to $122, depending on the program), you can get a 5-year membership that will make traveling much quicker. This chart has the details and links to applications; it’s worth looking into if you’re a frequent traveler.
Whether you’re a member of their credit card program or are simply flying first class, some travelers enjoy airline rewards like separate check-in lines or a speedy route through security. These benefits depend on the airline and the airport, so it’s a good idea to check what perks might be available to you.
There are quite a few tips out there when it comes to travel clothes. Shoes that are easy to get on and off are a must, an organized bag with easily accessible pockets is ideal and it’s best to bring an outer layer for breezing through security—store change and loose items in jacket pockets to avoid a mess on the other side of security. Flights can also be chilly, so an extra layer is a good idea.
Traveling with children can be tricky and—if you’re not prepared—downright chaotic. Getting them accustomed to travel at a young age will help and bringing a few of their favorite things will smooth over the downtime at the airport.
This last tip is one we don’t subscribe to, but it is certainly a way to cut hours if you’re comfortable hustling through security and potentially missing a flight. In June, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg told The Sunday Times that the best time to get to the airport is “as late as feasibly possible.” He went on to say that each hour spent waiting for a flight is a “negative unit,” an hour that could have been better spent elsewhere. While he concedes his strategy isn’t right for everyone, he also said, “if you’ve never missed a flight, you’re not doing it right.”