If you want to travel further afield, sometimes you can’t avoid the airport, so we’d like to introduce you to the best airport hacks to save you time, money and nerves. Even if some airport tips and tricks sound banal, they can save you from a stressful journey to your desired destination. But you probably don’t know one or two of these hacks yet. Or do you know which queue to wait in to get through check-in faster? So get ready for a few “aha” moments. The absolute horror start to your holiday could look like this: Getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the airport, turning off to the wrong terminal just before you get to the airport, only to find out again that you can’t find a parking space. At check-in, there are long queues everywhere and because you get thirsty from all the stress, you have to buy an overpriced water bottle at the gate.
RELAXED JOURNEYFirst of all, we would like to introduce you to a few tricks that will make your journey much more relaxed and possibly also cheaper. After all, the journey to the airport is where the holiday begins.
THE RIGHT TERMINALLarge airports have different terminals, i.e. check-in halls. If you are not sure whether your airport of departure has several terminals, be sure to do some research first. Especially if you are travelling by car or taxi, you should find out in advance which terminal the airline you have booked departs from, so that you have less distance to cover at the airport. Each airline is usually assigned to only one terminal. Don’t worry: You can still change terminals within the airport, but it is easier to get there if you use the entrance of the correct terminal beforehand.
FLYING AT NIGHTIf you fly in the evening or at night, you have a decisive advantage: the traffic towards the airport is much more relaxed in big cities. In addition, time passes much more quickly on a night flight.
PLAN YOUR EXACT JOURNEY WITH GOOGLE MAPSWhen checking how long it will take you to get from your home or hotel to the airport by car, don’t do your research at half past nine at night if you want to leave at eight in the morning, because Google Maps will give you the current journey time. However, with a few clicks, you can enter the exact date and time of departure so that Google Maps can also plan for morning rush hour or evening or weekend traffic.
ORGANISING AIRPORT PARKING IN ADVANCECheap car parks are usually a little further from the airport but offer a shuttle service. You can definitely save some money by reserving a parking space in advance.
PHOTOGRAPHING THE CAR PARKA very trivial but very important tip: take a photo of your parking space in the car park or on the grounds so that you can quickly find your car again after your holiday.
TRAVEL HACKS AT THE AIRPORTAfter you have arrived relaxed at the airport, you should also be relaxed when boarding the plane. Here are a few airport hacks that we find very practical.
TAKE AN EMPTY WATER BOTTLE WITH YOUYou may have heard this tip before, but then forgotten it. However, it is worth taking a small water bottle with you. However, it must be completely empty at the security check, so don’t forget to drink up beforehand! Most airlines don’t offer free drinks on the plane either, so it’s worth having your own bottle. After the security check, you can refill the empty bottle with tap water or at the water dispenser. This always works, at least in western countries, but there are often free water dispensers in the rest of the world too. Tip: If there is still room in your checked baggage, you can also stow a tightly closed water bottle there so that you have something to drink immediately on arrival.
PACK SNACKSTo avoid having to buy overpriced snacks at the airport, we always pack our own snacks. Muesli bars, crisps, salt sticks or even sandwiches make it through security without any problems. Food with a lot of liquid is more difficult: soups, muesli with milk or yoghurt should be left at home. The snacks you bring with you not only save money but can also bridge long waiting times during flight delays if the shops are already closed.
STUFF SOMETHING INTO THE PILLOW IF YOU HAVE EXCESS BAGGAGEIf you are only allowed to take 1 piece of hand luggage and you just can’t fit everything in, you can use the pillow trick. Since a pillow is always allowed on the plane and no one can tell you what to put in it, you can put clothes in it, for example.
ONLINE CHECK-IN & AUTOMATIC CHECK-INOnline check-in usually only works 24-48h beforehand. It’s best to set a reminder in your diary so that you don’t miss it. Either you can already choose your seats at the online check-in or they will be assigned to you. If you are not satisfied with your choice of seat, you can always ask at the check-in desk if there is a seat available at the window or further forward. After online check-in, you now have an electronic ticket that you can use to check in your luggage independently at the airport check-in machines of certain airlines. Hurray for digitalisation, because it saves you the long queues at the regular counter. Simply scan your digital ticket, print out your boarding pass and the band needed to identify your suitcase, and put your suitcase on the baggage carousel. Don’t worry, if you’re not familiar with the process, airport staff will be happy to help you. But the check-in machines really do save you a lot of time! Tip: The noisiest seats are at the back of the plane, so it’s best to choose seats at the front of the plane.
TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF THE MOBILE TICKETIt is worth taking a screenshot of your mobile ticket so that you have it quickly at hand even if you don’t have the internet. Or you have the ticket in your mobile wallet anyway. Simply click on the email with the mobile boarding pass and look for the button “Download to App/Apple Wallet”.
THE QUEUE ON THE FAR LEFT IS USUALLY SHORTERNow comes a really good life hack that applies not only at the airport, but also in the supermarket or other situations with queues of people. Behavioural studies have found that most people tend to queue to the right because they are right-handed. The leftmost queue is therefore often shorter and therefore faster. It is best to queue on the far left at check-in or security if possible.
SAVE TIME AT THE SECURITY CHECKNow you already know that the queue on the left tends to be shorter. To get through security quickly and avoid having to open your hand luggage, some preparation is necessary. Tips for sorting your hand luggage:
- Sort your belongings before you get to the conveyor belt and completely empty drinks if necessary.
- Pack cosmetic items with liquids in a sealable bag. The rule is max. 100ml bottles are allowed!
- Push your hand luggage through the scanner first and then the rest, and then you can pack up faster later!
- Give the security people a smile and be nice 😉 Use the priority line
“USE THE PRIORITY LINEIf you are really late and about to miss your plane, just use the priority line at check-in and security, show your tickets and explain that your plane is leaving in a few minutes and you need to hurry to catch it. This usually works, even if you haven’t booked a priority line.
PACKING POWERBANKSUnfortunately, there are still too few power sockets at airports. To make sure your electronic devices don’t run out of juice during flight delays, you should always have a power bank in your bag. Tip: Your mobile phone charges faster in flight mode.
DON’T JUST TRUST THE TICKETIf the gate is already indicated on your ticket, be on the safe side and check the display board again. It happens from time to time that gates are changed or moved.
NOICE-CANCELLING HEADPHONESIt can quickly become noisy at the airport gate or on the plane. If you have noise-cancelling headphones, it is best to use them at the airport. We would simply say that a little holiday music in your ears increases anticipation and reduces stress.
We hope you haven’t heard of one or two airport hacks yet. Remember these airport hacks, save the article and thank us when you take off relaxed. If you’d like to leave all the stressful moments behind, we can also recommend one of the many Falkensteiner hotels. No matter what your journey was like, here you can definitely relax and recharge your batteries.