Often getting through an airport is the worst part of a trip. The hassle, the rush, the stress — the people! This week on the podcast, Kim and Tamara share their tips for making the airport experience as low-stress as possible, even when traveling with kids.
ON THE PODCAST
00:30 – Sponsor – Comrad Socks
02:08 – Getting to the airport
14:13 – Getting through TSA security
17:45 – TSA Precheck/Clear
23:38 – Global Entry/Nexus
27:18 – In the Airport
38:10 – International Airport
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TIPS FOR TRAVELING THROUGH AN AIRPORT
- When you are taking a trip by plane, be mindful of your boarding times. When you are planning when you need to leave for the airport make sure to not just look at your departure time. You want to make sure to go by your boarding time. Depending on the flight and airport this could be anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes before your departure time.
- Checking in in advance helps reduce your time at the airport waiting in lines, particularly if you aren’t checking bags. Even if you are checking luggage you can pay in advance and just need to print your luggage tag when you arrive.
- Make sure you have all of your essential items easily accessible, like your boarding pass, ID, credit cards/cash, luggage tags filled out on all your bags. This will help when it is time to pull something out as you won’t have to fumble around to find what you are looking for.
- If you are traveling during a peak time make sure to look into your parking situation. Find out if you have the option to prepay for parking or if you need to park in an off site lot which will then require you to have to take a shuttle to the airport. If that is the case make sure that you give yourself a little extra time to unload your car onto a shuttle and for the shuttle to get you to the airport. Even just finding a parking spot in a lot or garage may take you some time.
- You will find that some airports may have Skycap available outside of the terminal. They can take your checked baggage and print out boarding passes for you right there, which can help you skip the indoor lines.
- Having one spot for all your documents really comes in handy for going through TSA Security. For some this might be an exterior pocket on their backpack/carry on. If you plan on keeping these items in a pocket on your person you may want to rethink for when you have to go through security. Since you have to empty all of your pockets to go through this can cause you to misplace or lose items if you have to shove them into a pocket or in a basket for them to go through the scanners.
- If you don’t have TSA Precheck, you should really think about what you are going to wear to the airport. Especially when it comes to your shoes. Wearing a kind of slip on shoe would be your best option verses a shoe that you have to tie and untie to get them on and off. You will usually have an okay amount of time while you are putting items on the security belt but afterwards you will need to grab and move your stuff to get out of the way pretty quickly once they come through the otherside. You should also make sure to not wear any clothing that a lot of metal as these show up on the scanners and you may have to get pulled aside to get patted down.
- Having TSA Pre check is a separate line from regular security check, where you don’t have to take out your toiletries or laptop/tablet as well as you will not have to take off your shoes.
- There is also a program called Clear that is a paid program which breaks down to $15/month. With or without precheck this program gets you to the front of either of the lines. Unfortunately not every airport offers this program.
- If you would like to sign up for TSA Precheck, you will need to go on to the government site to fill out an application. The next step will be to make an appointment for an interview. This is not something that you can do right before you book your flight.
- Global Entry has a similar process. This is a different program but if you receive Global Entry you will also get TSA Precheck. For those of you that don’t know Global Entry is a program that gets you through customs quicker. The price difference is $100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA Precheck.
- Nexus is another similar program that offers Pre check for some flights going into Canada. This program also has a faster line for when you are driving across the Canadian border.
- Once you are through security, find your way to your gate and look for some seats if you have time to wait. If you need to see if you can find seats that have a plug by them. You might not want to use the USB plugs that they offer, there have been reports of viruses and data being stolen from these plugs. If you brought a refillable water bottle you may want to use the time to fill up your bottles and use the bathroom.
- When you are walking to your gate try and look around to where the bathroom, water fountain/water bottle station or even a place to grab food. This might save you some time trying to find these things after you get to the gate if you already know where it is.
- If you are nervous about getting through international airports you might want to look into a meet and greet service that airports offer. This is a paid VIP service where someone will meet you when you get off of your flight, they will then walk you to where you need to be. They will usually take you through a quicker security line and you may also be able to board your next flight before your boarding group.
- If you are an American Express Platinum member, you also receive access to Escape Lounges, Centurion Lounges, and other lounges through a complimentary Priority Pass membership. This can be a much more pleasant way to wait for your flight or to manage layovers.
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