How to Prepare for a Trip to the Airport: The Chaotic Travellers’ Checklist
When travelling, it’s important to be prepared for anything that might happen.
This is especially true when you’re going to the airport because there are so many factors that could go wrong - from security checkpoints and long lines to VERY expensive food choices.
The following list is the best tips I’ve picked up on my travellers will help you prepare for your trip to the airport in advance so you can avoid a chaotic experience! Believe me, you will want to learn from my mistakes!
Tip #01: Make sure you have your ID, passport, and boarding pass ready to go. This way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting them or having to rush to get them last minute.
Tip #02: Try to pack light so that you don’t have too much luggage to carry around. This will make it easier to move around the airport and avoid losing your luggage! Another great tip, if you’re checking luggage in, is to pop a couple of outfits in your carry-on - just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive at the same time as you.
Tip #03: Bring snacks because you never know how much of a rip-off aeroplane food is. If it’s really expensive or not appetizing, then bring some healthy snacks with you so that they’ll save your wallet in case there are no affordable choices at an airport terminal.
Tip #04: Be prepared for long lines. Bring a book to read while you wait in line, or maybe even a tablet if there is free Wi-Fi (usually at large airports). If it’s too hot out and your time spent waiting is going to be extensive, then bring an umbrella so that you can stay cool until it’s your turn to board. Of course, the above only applies if you’re boarding on the ground.
Tip #05: Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking, even if your airport is close by. And if it’s not close by, then pack some sensible shoes because you don’t want to be wearing high heels or sandals when you’re trekking through an airport. Uncomfortable footwear while travelling is THE WORST, especially when you don’t have the option to change.
Tip #06: Keep your phone charged up in case of emergencies. Having a mobile device on hand can be quite useful to get around depending on where you are and what type of airport it is (if there’s no Wi-Fi).
I can’t tell you the number of times my phone has run out of charge when I’ve been travelling and I’ve not had a way to charge it! You should always prepare for the worst and make sure you have a portable charger or two. I keep one in my carry-on bag at all times, but also bring an extra small charger that can be used to charge your phone from any USB port.
Tip #07: NEVER travel without travel insurance. Back in the day (okay, maybe 3 years ago) I used to travel everywhere without travel insurance because I didn’t think I’d ever really need to use it. I was SO wrong. After a couple of experiences where I wasn’t able to claim, I finally learnt my lesson and got myself a yearly plan. Absolutely ANYTHING can go wrong when you’re at the airport, so having travel insurance is a great way to ensure you’re covered in case of an emergency.
My favourite provider is World Nomads.
Tip #08: The best way to avoid long lines is…well, not get stuck waiting in a line in the first place. You can do this by reading reviews from fellow travellers on sites like TripAdvisor, or looking at photos and comments about an airport to see what you’re getting into before going there (or even while you are already waiting in line). Some airports are notoriously busier than others, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Tip #09: Get there as early as you can. This will help you avoid the lines, and also give you time to look at what’s going on around you so you can find your bearings. It may take some extra effort - but it’ll be worth it. With current restrictions in place, waiting times are a lot longer so this is something you should be factored into your plans. I’d say that arriving 2 hours before and short-haul flight and 3 hours before a long-haul flight is reflective of current situations. For domestic, give yourself at least 90 minutes.
With current restrictions in place, waiting times are a lot longer so this is something you should be factored into your plans.
Tip #10: Be prepared for food prices that are higher than normal-especially if they’re not any good! Again, check online reviews before (and during) your trip.
When it comes to food, airports can be a real hit or miss. You might find some amazing restaurants with great prices-or you might end up paying through the nose for something that’s not very appetizing. My advice is to do your research ahead of time so you know what to expect. If there are any particular restaurants you’re interested in, check online reviews to see what people are saying. That way, you’ll at least know whether the food is worth spending your hard-earned money on!
Tip #11: Organise your 100ml liquids in advance. If you’re like me and tend to pack a lot of toiletries when you travel, then you’ll know that the 100ml liquid limit can be pretty tricky. But it’s not impossible!
I usually just put all my liquids (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, foundation, medications) into a small Ziploc bag and then I’m ready for security when it comes to going through.
Remember: you can only take 10 x 100ml items through and they must ALL fit in one ziplock bag.
The Chaotic Travellers’ Airport Checklist
To help make the process as stress-free as possible, here are all the things you should be checking before you head to the airport.
- Make sure you have absolutely everything you need with you (passport, visas, travel documents etc)
- Ensure your luggage is within the weight limit before you leave for the airport
- Pack yourself a couple of snacks in your carry-on (but make sure it’s not something that will get taken off you at security)
- Pack something to keep you entertained in long lines
- Organise your 100ml liquids before you leave, putting them in an easy to reach place
- Make sure your phone is FULLY charged and that you have a portable charger and charging cable in your carry on
- Arrange travel insurance before you leave
- Be prepared and research the average wait times, determining what time you should aim to arrive
So, if you’re worried about heading to the airport, remember to bear these tips in mind and tick things off your new checklist and you’ll be more than okay!