5 Airport Travel Tips to Ensure Smooth & Speedy Sailing

1:30 on a Thursday afternoon and the airport is empty. Well, relatively speaking. Arriving a few hours before my flight, I found no line whatsoever. I printed out my boarding pass and quickly made my way to security. Again, no line. Quick chat with the TSA agent and I was slipping off my shoes. A quick shot of cancer to ensure I didn’t have anything suspicious on me and I was through.

Enough extra time to write a blog post.

Enough extra time to write a blog post.

All in less than five minutes. And this was in the United States. Sure, I’d expect this kind of efficiency in an airport like MDE in Medellin, Colombia. But not in the United States. Never. Ever. TSA is not known for efficiency or making things easy on passengers trying to make their flights.

P.S.: These airport travel tips don’t talk about TSA Pre and common sense stuff like not packing liquids, etc. 

Airport Travel Tips to Ensure Smooth & Speedy Sailing

A lot of this was luck. But a little of it was being a vet in the game. A flight here and there is nothing new for me. So here are a few airport travel tips I’ve learned over the years:

  • The Right Day

The day you fly will determine a lot. Weekends tend to be busy. Mondays at the airport are often a nightmare. Always try to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. People don’t travel midweek that often. You miss the business crowd, people returning from vacations, and the weekend warriors. That’s the vast majority of individuals who fly.

By flying on a midweek day, you can reduce the amount of hassle at the airport drastically. Sure, certain airports will always be busy, but you’ll have the best shot of smooth sailing by following this airport travel tip and sticking to a midweek flight.

P.S.: You’ll also save money by booking the flight on a Tuesday, too.

  • The Right Time

Almost as important as the day is the time you fly. Even at busy airports, the airlines won’t schedule as many flights during the workday. There just aren’t as many people flying midday, especially during the workweek. So use this to your advantage.

By scheduling a midday flight midweek, you’ll give yourself the best chance at zipping through security and avoiding hassles. The combination of these two airport travel tips will do wonders for your experiences at the airport. You may even end up with zero wait like me.

  • Light is Right

Common sense here, but the lighter you pack the less time you’ll have to spend at the airport. I’m on a four-day trip right now. I packed a small-ish backpack full of clothes and a foam roller. I probably overpacked, and the thing doesn’t weigh more than 15 lbs.

If you haven’t hit the road much, here’s the best tip I can give you: pack less than you think you’ll need, then pack less than that. You don’t need nearly as many things as you think you do. Wearing that pair of shorts to the gym three straight days isn’t going to hurt anyone. And it’s pretty standard to wear jeans for a week straight before washing them. Just bring the essentials and keep things simple. Your trip will be better if you don’t have to lug around a huge piece of luggage.

  • Just Be Kind

While this airport travel tip may not pay dividends right off the bat, it may down the road. Just be kind and courteous while at the airport. TSA and all the airline employees have a stressful gig that rarely pays well. Most travelers despise the old hag that makes them pay $45 USD for their checked bag (even though it’s airline policy) or the TSA agent that stops them and makes them take their tablet out of their luggage.

It’s safe to say people working at the airport see stressed people and a decent chunk of lowlifes every day. While a little corny (and you may not get any benefit from it), a little kindness can go a long way in the attitudes of employees and thus, the speed and efficiency of the airport.

  • Smooth Through Security

Security can trip up a lot of travelers trying to get to their gate in rapid fashion. So here are a few airport travel tips to ensure you’re speedy through security:

  • Don’t wear a belt. If you don’t to have to wear a belt, don’t It makes getting through TSA much faster.
  • Wear shoes that slip on and off easy. If you have to tie and untie your shoes, you’ll add an extra minute or two to your time with TSA.
  • Buy a backpack that makes accessing your computer simple. You’ll be required to take out your laptop or tablet – so make this as easy as possible. 
  • Pack the jewelry. Some airports make you take it off if it’s metal. Others don’t. It’s easier just to pack it and put it back on once you arrive at your final destination. 

Basic Airport Travel Tips 

Sure, these may be basic airport travel tips, but if you follow them, you’ll find hassle at the airport is substantially reduced. It doesn’t get much better than being through security in five minutes flat. Heck, I got through security so fast I had time to write this 900+ word blog post while I waited for my flight. Do you have any airport travel tips that you use every time you fly? If so, sound off in the comments.

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Jake Nomada

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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I Must Have Power Absolute ™ - October 16, 2017

Great post!

    NomadicJake - October 16, 2017

    Appreciate it! Thanks for the comment.

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