Tell us if this has ever happened to you: You are late getting to the airport, a line of cars cue up to get into the parking garage. Once you get in the door dragging you suitcase that has one wheel that doesn’t work right. Then you line up at the airline ticketing, get to the front, only to find out that you picked the domestic/international line… Turns out you need to go over there. Then your luggage is overweight, you are forced to spread eagle your Samsonite right in the center of the airport and of course your leopard print unmentionables are going to be right on top. Enter a frisky pat down in security, a split coffee, and then a late flight. Ahhh the joys of air travel!
The time has come for the Fighting couple to reveal our super “secrets” to getting through the TSA regulations/customs/check in quickly and without doing a strip tease for a hall of complete strangers. Our only warning, please use these new found super powers wisely.
1) Prep and Pack-One of the keys to getting through security fast begins long before you set foot at the aeroporto. Strategic packing can and will take much of the stress and hand-wringing out of the entire experience. Taking a little time to prep three key things
Poundage-The male in our relationship is the guilty one of over packing. He readily admits it. Guilty as charged. Knowing what your bag weighs can save you so much time. If in doubt, weight it before you leave. Stand on the scale…scream and call it a liar. Step back on with the luggage in hand and subtract the two.
Parking and Petrol-One of the little known secrets to smooth airport-ing is parking. Read the signs as you drive in, understand the value of short term vs long term parking. It may be cheaper and quicker to park in long term for the short term. Crazy huh? If you are returning a rental car, time your approach to the airport to hit a gas station a few miles away from the tarmac. This will save you some hard earned pesos and you will avoid the line of other Chevrolet Malibu renters as they overpay for their petrol.
Chems-By now I am sure even the novice traveler is aware that you must place everything you own in a tiny plastic baggie. Many airports are not even offering complimentary bags now, you must bring your own. We check our baggage. Sign up for the credit card that gives you one free bag and forget about all the bags, leave your chems in checked luggage.
2) Be Kind- Take your yellow highlighter and circle this super power on your computer. One of the most effective ways to get through security fast and efficiently is to just be nice. We spend an inordinate amount of time in airports. We have never seen a situation where someone gets testy with TSA/Customs Office/airline personnel and it makes everything magically go smoothly. Usually these situations escalate and bad things happen. Don’t let it happen to you. The next time you get a pat down, give them a smile and say thank you. Move on.
3) Be Smart-Our tip for smart “Q-ing”. Books have been written and wars have been fought about standing in line. There are some cultures that do well at cueing and others not so much. Our secret is when in Rome…do as the French. Mimic what everyone else seems to be doing. Keep your eyes open for new lines opening. Most importantly check with those around you to confirm you are in the right line.
A few more tips for smart airport-ing:
1) Double check your expiration of your Identification, passport, ect.
2) Smart people check in online. Why stand in line when you don’t have to?
3) Give the TSA webpage a quick look-see once a year to stay up on TSA regulations.
4) Shop! Long gone are the days when airports were these long halls of boredom. For the most part, airports have become shrines to capitalism. These temples of temptation offer every food, fashion and overpriced item your heart could desire. During our recent trip to Thailand we flew through BKK (Bangkok Airport). We were amazed at the shopping! Show up to the airport early on purpose. Wander through the overpriced duty-free shops, hit the quirky souvenir shops and take in the chic boutiques.
5) Travel Aps-with the advent of the smart phone, the entire airport experience can be a lot less stressful. Here is a list of a few that might help:
TripIt-One of those catch all aps. Simply forward your travel (air, hotel, and car) reservations and it captures it all on one readable place. Cool huh?
GateGuru-What gate is your flight changed to? Need a map for of the airport? Get the Guru.
iTranslate, Babelingo-She said what? Get a good translation ap.
iTrans, HopStop-How to get to and from the airport via public transport.
6) Save money! Dont head to the airport without any cash! Keep you wallet full by visiting Holiday Hypermarket.