13 Airport Travel Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Today I’m sharing with you my top airport hacks for you to easily navigate the airport stress-free and with ease.

My hacks will save you time and the headache that often comes with airports! You are going on vacation so why not start it off right? Try these airport hacks next time you travel and enjoy your stress-free travel! 

I am a frequent flyer and personally use these airport hacks every time I travel.

Flying can be exhausting and super stressful, but hopefully, these tips will prepare you ahead of time to help you get through the airport with ease! Let’s get into it! 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase anything through my links at no extra cost to you.

1. Check-in Early

You can check-in for your flight 24 hours in advance online! When I’m doing this I typically print out my boarding pass too so I’m all set to go the next day!

Checking in early also allows you to skip the line saving you some time when you get to the airport!

Especially if you don’t have to check a bag, you can altogether skip checking in with an agent and head straight to security!

This can also come in handy if you are running late and don’t have to check any baggage!

2. Use Skycap To Check In Your Luggage

Most airports have this hidden gem right outside the front doors! You can drop your checked luggage off with them and skip the long lines inside.

Most airlines have this service for free, however, it is highly encouraged to tip the workers. They work very hard and in all types of weather and just saved you 30 minutes of standing in line!

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked by a very very long line inside for people to check their bags after I had stood outside for less than 5 minutes to check my bag and then went on my merry way, especially if the weather isn’t great, there sometimes isn’t even a line!

Related: 11 Things You Should Pack in Your Carry-On!

3. Keep Important Documents & Items In One Spot

This hack is so simple but so helpful when you’re traveling. I typically keep every document I might need to pull out at some point between getting to the airport and getting to the hotel at my destination in one folder in a secure pocket in my carry-on.

There’s nothing worse than being in a rush and having to search through your luggage for your papers.

Save yourself the stress and keep it all together! Just be sure you have them in a secure inside pocket in your carry on so no one can snatch them or you don’t lose them! 

4. Check Out Other Security Checkpoints

Most airports have a map of their security checkpoints on their website.

Before your trip check online the different security checkpoints you can use in the airport that you probably wouldn’t have known about when you get there! Especially if it’s at an airport you don’t frequently fly out of. 

People typically go to the first security checkpoint they see which causes huge lines.

If you do your research, you may just know where to find the security checkpoint that most people don’t know about, thus getting you through faster and saving you time so you don’t have to wait in a long line! 

5. Make a Habit of Checking Monitors

This is one I do every single time I travel and one that I was taught to do at a young age by my parents.

Every time you pass by a monitor in the airport, make sure you check it.

There is nothing worse than finding out your gate had been moved across the airport and you missed your flight because you didn’t know.

Checking the monitors takes 5 seconds and could save you a huge headache. In my book, it’s better safe than sorry.

6. Bring an Empty Water Bottle & Snacks

You probably know that you can’t bring water through security. However, you can bring an empty water bottle and fill it up once you get past security!

There are usually water fountains and oftentimes a filtered water bottle filling station too by the gates depending on the airport.

They’re all over the Denver airport, where I usually fly out of, and I’m always so happy I brought my own water bottle!

Say goodbye to wasting your money on overpriced airport water bottles.

Click here to see my favorite water bottle! It keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12!

Also, bring your own snacks! Again, airport snacks are overpriced, when you can get the same snack at your local grocery store for half the price, and the airplane food is pretty meh.

Another reason why you should bring your own snacks is if you are wanting to eat healthier. Airport food can be pretty bad for you and full of sodium, and it can be difficult to find fresh healthy food. 

7. Ask For Free Upgrades

Honestly, what’s the worst they can say? No? Personally, I don’t like talking to people or asking for free stuff because it makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable.

However, since I’ve known about this hack, I’ve become a new woman.

Grab whoever you’re traveling with and walk up to the agent at the desk at your gate (which you know is your gate because you checked the monitor every time you walked by) and just ask if you could have a free upgrade!

Sometimes I can get my partner to ask for me too! Otherwise it is just nice to have someone with you when you’re asking for free stuff, if you’re a little shy like me!

Most of the time they will probably say no and you just say “okay, thanks!” and never see that person again.

BUT sometimes they say yes, and you get a free upgrade on your flight making it so worth it! The most recent time this happened my boyfriend and I got upgraded seats with extra legroom that usually cost extra on Frontier!

8. Download Your Airline’s App

Most people don’t know this, but your airline probably has an app, especially if it’s a popular airline like Delta or United Airlines.

Most of the apps have in-flight entertainment, flight tracking where you can see where you’re at in the air and how much longer the flight will take, and other neat stuff!

If you download the airline’s app ahead of time, typically you are able to watch TV and movies during the flight, even if you don’t pay for the internet!

This has been a lifesaver for long flights when I didn’t want to read a book or pay for the internet! 

9. Keep Anything Valuable With You

Do not pack anything of value in your checked luggage. This one may seem obvious but it’s easy to forget when you have a hundred different things on your mind when you’re traveling.

This includes any money, jewelry, flight reservations, hotel reservations, and other important travel documents. 

You never know if your luggage might get lost! If you have any valuable jewelry, money, anything that you are bringing on your trip, do not put it in your checked bag!

10. Dress Nicely For International Flights

If you are traveling internationally I recommend dressing nicely. This is because it increases your likelihood of getting upgraded to first-class!

If you look like you belong in first class, honestly, your chances of being chosen by an airline agent to be upgraded when they have open spots are much higher than if you were wearing old sweats.

I know what you’re probably thinking, if I’m traveling internationally I am getting as comfy as possible for the long flight.

Honestly, I feel that. However, just because you are dressed nicely doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable.

Last time I went on a big trip to Europe, see: How I Traveled To Europe For Cheap, I wore a blue cotton maxi dress, wedges from H&M, and brought a cozy sweater in my carry-on.

I looked classy but I was also super comfy. You don’t have to wear a dress suite or anything, just something nice and comfy if you want to increase your chances of getting upgraded to first-class!

11. Make Your Luggage Stand Out

After your flight and while you’re waiting for your luggage to come by on the carousel you have probably noticed several bags that could have been yours but you weren’t sure and had to check.

Especially if you have a black suitcase from a popular brand.

I used to do this probably every time I traveled until I started making my luggage stand out!

It can be as simple as tying a colorful ribbon or bright colored duct tape to the handle of your bag.

This way you can easily spot your bag and it’s also less likely to be taken by mistake by someone else!

12. Use Zip Ties

Speaking about luggage, zip tie your zippers on your checked bags!

If TSA needs to get into your bag they will cut your lock, however, if you zip tie it, they can easily cut it and you didn’t lose a nice lock and a couple of bucks! 

It’s also wonderful for ensuring your bag stays zipped shut when it is moved around as it’s transported to the plane, on to the plane, off the plane, and to the baggage pick-up. I’ve seen airport workers just chuck luggage and even open bags on the carousel a couple of times.

13. Bring Your Phone Charger With You

Often times you will have an opportunity to charge your phone before getting on the plane ensuring you don’t kill the battery mid-flight, so keep your phone charger, like this one, in your carry-on ready to grab for when you see an open outlet!

Also, quick note, do not plug the USB part of your charger into any outlet at the airport, it’s an easy way to get your phone hacked and information stolen.

It’s becoming a lot more common as that is a way people are uploading malware onto phones. If you use your charger with a charging block though, you’ll be fine! If you want more information, check out this article by the New York Times.

Some airplanes also have outlets on the plane where you can charge your devices as well. If you don’t have an outlet though, you can also bring a portable battery pack, like this one!

Bonus Tips

– Keep Your Laptop in an Easily Accessible Spot

In the US, pretty much every security checkpoint requires that you take your laptop out of your bag to go through their scanner.

So, make sure you keep your laptop in a spot that’s easy to take in and out! 

This will also come in handy when you get seated on your flight and want to use your computer. I get so annoyed when after I’ve gotten situated in my seat I have to dig through my carry-on for something I stuck on the bottom of my bag.

Make your life easier by keeping it in an easy spot to grab!

– Take a Photo of Where You Parked Your Car

Nothing is more frustrating than forgetting where you parked. You probably know what lot and have an idea of where it’s at, but after a trip, it can be pretty easy to forget.

So, save yourself some stress and steps from having to walk around a parking lot looking for your car after you have been traveling all day.

Make sure you snap a picture of your car before you head into the airport at the beginning of your trip! 

– Use the myTSA App

The MyTSA app helps you get through security quicker and help answer any common questions you may have.

Such as letting you search for what items you can bring with you through TSA, check delays and weather reports at airports nationwide, check how busy the airport will be on a specific day and time based on historical data so you can avoid crowds if you hate a crowded airport, see which airports have TSA precheck so you can know ahead of time if you have it or give you information on how to get TSA precheck.

And you can request live information from the TSA if you have other specific questions.

You can also find out wait times for getting through security, however, it is based on crowdsourcing data from other passengers so it may not always be 100% accurate, so I wouldn’t rely on it for that. 

I hope you use these hacks next time you travel and save yourself some time and stress! Share this to help your friends next time they travel!

P.S. if you have a long layover or miss your flight, check out my article on 13 things to do when you’re stuck at the airport! Or save it for later just in case!

8 thoughts on “13 Airport Travel Hacks That Will Change Your Life”

  1. Snacks are now searched separately, so be sure to keep them contained together. You don’t want to be that person who’s entire carry-on backpack contents are spread out everywhere because ONE stupid granola bar ended up at the bottom of the bag!….yeah. That was me on my last trip. While traveling with my 5yo which meant double the luggage I had to keep track of!

      1. Upon checking in for a 18 hour flight, I failed to notice the TSAcheck was not on our boarding passes, even though we have Gobal Entry. However, my carryons were pack for TSA checked. Ie no opening, etc. Upon checking through the TSA agent say you are not prechecked. I said to him, yes I am, you just saw my card. He said well it is not on you pass. When I’m asked could I go back and have corrected, his very rude reply was, “do whatever you want, but they won’t reprint”. So, being first inline, we were forced to open 4. ACarryons, take off clothes, shoes etc. Everyone behind us was mad at us, thinking we were stupid. I was so angry. I wear a brace on one leg, use a cane. It was so embrassing. Upon getting to the gate, I was ready to eat bear. I walked up to agent, explained, they could not have been nicer. Completely reprinted our boarding passes, apologized profusely and said he should have let me go back and reprint.
        POINT FOR HACK. ALWAYS CHECK THAT BOARDING PASS FOR PRECHECK.

  2. Great advice. I often wondered who was the best person to ask for a free upgrade. I always assumed it was at Chechen but now I know to ask at the gate. I will have to try that.

  3. Why stop at the handle for colourful duct tape. I have fanciful duct shapes on all 6 sides of my luggage. Cars and butterflies were the easiest to cut out with a craft knife, but an unadulterated stripe works just as well. Not only can you see it coming, nobody is going to pick it up by mistake.

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