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  • Sherri & Allan Collier

Airport Hacks, That Really Work!

As a seasoned traveler, I've learned a thing or two about navigating airports and making the most of my time in the air. Here are some tried-and-true tips that have proven to work wonders for me.


Bring an empty bottle through security that you can fill up on the other side. My personal favorite is the Nomader Collapsible because it folds down into nothing and doesn’t take up any space in your luggage. . If you like ice water, another option is to freeze a bottle of water the night before you go to the airport. As long as the liquid is frozen, you can actually take it straight through security and drink it on the other side.


Buy Luggage Tags that hide your personal information. You do not want your address and phone number on display.


When you get to the security line, people turn left, most people usually turn right because of the dominant side. So, if you go to the left, the line is often going to be shorter. I tested this out.


Put all of your valuables like your keys, your headphones, and money into an inside jacket pocket. Then, when you go to the security line, you have to take the jacket off. It all stays together.


Go directly to your gate and make sure you know exactly where it is. I almost missed the flight waiting at gate C10 for a flight leaving from gate C12 only to realize that gate C12 was actually a 15-minute walk away.


If your carry-on luggage is overweight, take the heavy items out and put them into the backpack. Generally, the gate agents will not weigh your carry-on. Take a shopping bag from the airport. Bring one with you and fill it with your extra stuff. You can have your carry-on on your back and your rollaway carry-on with you, and a shopping bag, because it looks like you just picked something up at the airport.




Don’t buy black luggage. Buy something colorful that you’ll be able to see and identify quickly. If you do have black luggage or other generic colors, try investing in a luggage sleeve. Not only does it identify your bag for you, but it also keeps it close and ensures that no one is getting into that bag while you're not with it.


Put a fragile sticker on your bag, it usually gets put on top of all the other luggage, which will usually come out first when you get to your destination.


Some airlines will actually compensate you for waiting a long time once you get to your destination to receive your checked bag. Delta Airlines actually gives you $25 if you wait 25 minutes or longer for your luggage.


Put a tracker into a checked bag. I personally use the , Apple Air tag which is less than $30 on Amazon and will track the GPS on your phone to show you where your luggage is anywhere in the world.


Finding a plug is always a struggle. So, bring one of those International Adapter extenders with you, even if you don’t need all the plugs. You can probably make some new friends. Nothing is worse than you are about to take a long flight and realize you have 2% battery left on your phone because you forgot to bring a charger with you.


Head to the lost and found. Generally, any items that are left there for 90 days or more are up for grabs. I’ve gotten quite a few new phone chargers from the airport's lost and found.


Take a picture of where you park. You may think you’ll remember, but if you're coming back late at night, you’re going to be overtired. Who knows? Take a picture if you need to.


Taking a taxi or Uber: Don’t look for one from the airport, as there is a surcharge for doing so. If you simply walk 10 meters away from the airport or across the street and then call your Uber, you’ll be saving up to 20%.


If your flight is significantly delayed or canceled, get in that long line along with everyone else waiting to speak to the gate agent. But also call the customer service agent for the airline on the phone while you’re standing there. See which one you get to first. The phone will be able to do everything, if not more than the gate agent that is at the airport.


For the best experience while you’re still in the airport, check on sleepinginairports.com. It’s going to tell you the best place to get some sleep, like the airport chapel, which I never would’ve thought of. Best places to eat, where to find power plugs, and so on.


Make sure you check in online and select your seat before you board. If the airline doesn’t give you a detailed map and you want more information on your seat selection, check out seatguru.com. It'll show you the exact plane you’re flying on, the most legroom, where the plugs are going to be, and so on.


Let the gate agent or the flight attendants or both know if you have a short layover after the flight. They might be able to move you up to the front of the plane, which has priority and gets you on the plane and off the plane, faster.


The middle of the plane by the wings is going to have the least turbulence. But the back of the plane is going to have the best service because you have easy access to all the flight attendants.


If you’re booking as a couple, try to book the window and aisle seats. If someone does unfortunately have to sit in the middle, they will gladly switch with you for the window or aisle seat. Together, you’ll have about three seats, and I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate that extra space.


If you're looking to get some sleep on the plane, pick the window seat that’s on the side of the bed you sleep on.


Download podcasts or books and save shows on your laptop and your iPad. Do this before you get on the plane, but obviously, you'll be able to do that at that point.



Airport lounges are the best because they give you a place to relax, have free food, and offer fantastic Wi-Fi. However, they can be very expensive. I recently found out with my credit card that I get one free lounge access per calendar year. So, check with your credit card to see if you have any additional perks that you didn't know about. Another option is to check out Craigslist, eBay, Kijiji, or any of these online marketplaces. Many people are selling one-time passes there for incredibly cheap prices.


Hope this helps! Let me know if I missed any or which ones you try on your next trip!



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