Taking a trip can be a nerve-wrecking experience, whether you're taking a last minute trip, or your trip is something that you've planned out weeks or even months in advance. This is because as you are anticipating the destination on the other end of your flight, you're constantly wondering what you'll need, what they'll already have for you, what you can't leave at home and what you can't leave there. This means you are usually running around in circles at the last minute making sure you've packed your tooth brush, contact solution, passport, extra batteries, and chewing gum for the flight, and anything else that is vital to you. Now add in the flight security restrictions you must take into consideration when you arrive at the airport and you're sure to lose your mind. But while it can be worrisome trying to get everything together, I can assure you, traveling doesn't have to be the end of the world if you do a little planning and follow these easy travel tips. Read on!
Plan While Packing
This is probably the most important part of your trip - not simply because you might leave something behind that you will desperately need later. But also because when you get to the airport you will have to follow certain procedures that will leave you rustling through your items and trying to make last minute arrangements with little time to spare.
One of the cardinal travel tips (rules) of this day and age is that flight security will not let you take liquids past the security checkpoint. This not only includes beverages, but toothpaste, liquid deodorant, lotion, lip gloss, aerosols, and much more. Of course, many people are used to packing these items in their carry-on bag and don't even consider the fact that they're not allowed. But that reality will be realized when you're passing your items through the x-ray machine only to have a security officer take your bag, rifle through it, and confiscate your precious Country Apple Bath and Body Works lotion you just got for Christmas - and they're not giving it back!
To avoid this, it helps to learn their travel tips, which include packing larger bottles of liquids into the bag you're checking. The airport does allow a small, clear zipper-top bag with liquids smaller than three ounces in size (no aerosols) to come with you on the plane, so you must remember to pack these small travel liquids in your zip lock bag then pack all other liquids into the bag(s) you intend to check.
Another packing essential that many people don't think about is shoes. At every flight security checkpoint, you are required to take off your shoes. If you have shoes or boots that are difficult to remove in a speedy fashion you may slow up the flow of traffic moving through the checking point; security and the other anxious passengers will become very impatient with you - and you'll probably be impatient with yourself. To avoid this issue, it is best to wear easy to remove sneakers, and if you need to change your shoes after the checkpoint, just pack the pair you intend to wear in your carry-on bag; it will make the process much easier.
When You Arrive at the Airport
One of the best travel tips I can offer is, depending on the time of the year that you're traveling, you will want to make sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours before flight departure. This is because it is customary for airlines to begin their boarding process 30-40 minutes prior to departure time. So you really only have about 1 ½ hours to do the rest before boarding the flight - and there is a lot to do.
Depending on how you reserved your ticket, you may have to print your ticket at the check-in station, which now consists mainly of kiosks that guarantee you do most of the work. While the kiosks can be convenient to use, they do require that you know what you're doing before you start punching letters and numbers. That's why one of the travel tips I remember for myself is to keep my ticket record locator (normally a 13-digit number), my confirmation number, and my driver's license (or other state-issued ID) handy. After using either the ticket record locater or confirmation number to find and print your ticket, you will then have to check your bag(s) at the counter and show you're ID'ING Once that part of the process is finished and they've relieved you of your clumsy luggage, you are ready to go through the security checkpoint (gasp!).
The Security Checkpoint
The security checkpoint is actually not as bad as you think it might be. As stated previously, it does move fast, but if you know what to do, it will also move just as smoothly as any other part of the process. So another one of my travel tips is to remember that when you arrive at the security checkpoint, you will first need to present your ID and boarding pass, both of which should now be handy from when you checked your bags.
Once you pass this point, you will have to place your carry-on items on a belt that moves through an x-ray machine, while you simultaneously walk through a metal detector. Before you place your items on the belt, you will have to remove your shoes and your zip-lock bag with liquids, as well as any electronic device larger than your hand and place them in containers to move on the belt. Once you successfully pass through the security checkpoint and gather your items, you're set! The only thing you have left to do now is board the plane!
It's always a good idea to accumulate travel tips from a variety of sources when vacationing to ensure that when the time comes to actually take your trip you don't have to panic about what you may or may not be missing. I've been a fan of looking for travel tips as they have helped me out tremendously, and now I hope that mine have been able to help you. Happy traveling and good luck!
Jeffrey Meier at Jam727 Enterprises at http://www.thearticlehome.com blog offers even more detailed information on a wide variety of topics.