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Monday, February 4, 2013

10 Tips to Make Your Airport Experience Better

After returning from my seventh trip out of country, I can almost consider myself a pro at traveling, but I still make rookie mistakes. My most recent all-inclusive trip was to Maya Riviera, Mexico where my college friend's destination wedding was held at the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe.  It went flawlessly which left me still wanting.

For me, personally, the most stressful part about traveling is the actual travel. Airports are possibly the worst.

1. Always keep your passport and boarding pass in a place that is easily access. Always have it ready when needed as well. It makes the process faster for everyone.
2. Make sure you are wearing comfy clothes that is appropriate for both climates you will be encountering. For me I was leaving the cold snowy weather of Minnesota for the warm 80 degree weather of Mexico. I left my coat behind and just wore a nice thick zipped hoodie. My sister dropped my friend and I off, so when she returned to pick us up the car was already warm and she brought me my winter coat, hat, and mittens as well.
3. Wear shoes you can easily take off and walk in. Airport security is still making you take off your shoes. You don't want to waste time taking them off and putting them on when going through security.
4. Make sure you can run with your luggage if you have too. Life happens things rarely go according to plan. Your flight could arrive late to your next connection. This may mean you need to run to your next gate. You don't want to be the one slowing everyone else down. Also, if you don't think you can run with your luggage you may be carrying too much. Unless you are staying somewhere permanently, you really do not need more than one check in and one carry on.  
5. Bring a pen. You will need a pen to fill out your custom forms. If you want to get through customs fast, be sure to fill out the custom forms on the plane. Of course, you can ask surrounding passengers or the flight attendant for pens, but it's always nice to be prepared.
6. Take the stairs when you can. When we arrived from Mexico to the Houston airport, everyone who had gotten off of our flight where lined up on the escalators. Seriously? It's way faster to take the stairs that way you can pass everyone and get in the front of the line. Plus, most likely on your vacation you weren't eating the most healthy meals. You could probably use the exercise. :)

7. Bring snacks. No joke most of what I have in my carry on is food. Of course, I have a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, extra underwear and an outfit in case my luggage is lost. But mostly I have snacks. Airport food is so expensive. Also, they may charge you for your food on the plane now. I usually pack: meat sticks, granola bars, chips/crackers, chocolate, and possibly a fruit. I love to munch and my eating schedule isn't always aligned to when they feed us, if they do. 
8. If possibly, don't put your carry on up in the overhead bins. It is so time consuming to wait for everyone to sit and unload your baggage out of the bin. I always bring a backpack. It's less intrusive and large enough to carry all I need. There's also more compartments for a variety of things. It's still small enough to squeeze under the seat in front of you. 
9. Exchange your currency beforehand. It's just always faster and easier to get foreign currency at your local bank. Be sure to call your bank ahead of time to make sure they have the foreign currency you need. When you arrive to your destination, the first thing you will want to do is get to your hotel and out of the airport.  
10. Listen! Most of the time, your pilot/flight attendant will let you know which gate your connection will be at or where you can pick up your luggage. Pay attention. It saves you time.

Some of these things might seem like no brainers to you, but a nice reminder is always helpful. I know I definitely have stuck with this. It makes going through security and everything else about the unpleasantness of traveling better. 

Did I miss anything? What are some of your tips?

Below are some additional articles to keep in mind about airports:

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