I've you've ever flown, then you know what a hassle an airport can be. Some airports are small, laid-back, and not crowded. Others are just the opposite, and can cause additional stress and headaches to traveling.
With a few simple tips, airports can be a little easier to handle.
1. Know where you're going. Anytime my travel plans land me at an unfamiliar airport, I look it up. I like to know its size, get an ahead look at the lay-out, and any other pertinent information. It can be helpful just knowing if it's a major hub or not. What's available to eat? Having it already in your mind can be useful. It's also helpful to know if there is any kind of construction going on within the airport that could cause issues.
2. Pack light. If you're checking baggage, then there is no need for excessive carry-ons. Keeping it to a minimum can really help when you have a connecting flight. Managing and navigating an unfamiliar airport (especially a busy one) is hard enough, but having just one small bag can make it easier on you.
3. Find your gate first. If you have time to kill before your next flight, always go straight to your gate first. That way, when you wander around, you know where you're to go when it is time. Also, gate numbers can change from what is printed on your boarding pass, so always check the boards when you arrive to ensure the gate number is still the same.
4. Bring a snack. Did you know you can bring some food through security? Check TSA websites prior, but generally small, individually pre-packaged foods like granola bars, protein bars, etc. can be taken through security. Then, you have a snack you don't have to shell out money for. Airport food, even something as simple as a plain turkey sandwich, is outrageously expensive. Also, bring an empty water bottle with you through security. You can't bring a full one, but an empty one can be filled up after you get through security, saving you money.
5. Dress appropriately. If you're traveling with small children, dress them in something you'll easily be able to spot them in. Bright colors or a bright pattern can help you keep a better eye on them. For adults, skip the coat. It's bulky and some airports are hot so you'll just end up carrying it. Wear a sweater or sweatshirt over a t-shirt, it's easier.
While there are probably dozens more tips for a smoother airport experience, those are my top 5 for now.
Image Credit » My own. April, 2014