So, you're planning a trip somewhere, and you would like to ease your way through the airport with your carry-on with less confusion and more style? I want to share with you the best tips to make you look like a pro at the airport for your next trip.
1. How to Avoid Lines?
It's really difficult to avoid lines... but if you would like to know my secret? How about you arrive 2 hours in advanced at an international airport in Europe. They say "1.5 hr early", well then everyone will show up at this time. I say try and beat the competition and arrive slightly earlier. This doesn't guarantee a front of line spot, but why not give it a try?
Another tip to avoid lines is to purchase a "fast lane" pass. You can find one of those on the airline's website. Also specific airlines such as "Iberian" have special membership options for regular flyers.
2. What "Not" to bring through Customs?
Don't forget to throw away liquids, that's usually a given at airports. Especially anything over 100ml "Sorry Italian Procceco". Just put all your liquids in your main checked luggage.
Obviously don't bring any dangerous objects. So that means no sharp objects or guns, but if you insist on packing a knife, sword or box cutter on your trip...I would put it in your packed luggage before hand. If you are bringing a gun, some airlines permit it if its put in checked luggage, empty and stored in a locked hard-sided container. If you bring scissors less than 4 inches long such as nail scissors allowed by the TSA, but the final decision is dependent on security. Rules vary in each country, so I would look into the restrictions before you fly.
No flammables or chemicals allowed on board, so if you must purchase, then do it after you land. Normally lighters are allowed on airplanes as long as the fuel is not inside.
If you are travelling internationally, meat, fruit, vegetables and any other agricultural food is not allowed. If you bring an apple on a plane, you must eat it before landing.
3. Other Items checked in your carry-on for inspection?
They always ask for electronics to be inspected and placed inside separate trays. I would have a separate bag with your electronics ready to go, that will also make it easy to access them when asked to remove.
Imagine holding up the entire line of 50+ people waiting and pulling out your mistaken "unmentionables" and personal belongings in front of everyone, trying to get out your laptop, iPad, camera, cellphone, Kindle, and game counsel. Let's be prepared, and It will save embarrassment and more ease before boarding.
4. What people "think" they need to hold in their hands?
When entering through customs, people always think they need to have their passport and boarding pass in their hand. Its rare that they look, and its just a check point, where security goes through your carry-on. I have seen it more than once, people frustrated and holding their papers, passport, cell phone and 3 handbags on their arms, struggling and worrying. Just leave your passport and any needed papers in your bag in an easy and accessible compartment.
Another tip is to keep all your personal belongings inside your handbag or tucked out of view from people. You just never know what type of person is in line, just be observant and keep your stuff close by. That includes your luggage, extra bags and loose clothing articles. Trust me, I had to run down the hallway for someone who dropped their sweater, and once someone left their wallet on a seat. Be organized, be prepared and also don't get flustered if things go wrong, lets take a deep breath and be positive. Things always have a way of working out.
5. How to pack your carry-on?
Seriously, I have pulled out half my stuff from my carry-on, because I "forgot" about an electronic device in the bottom, or security insists that I needed to remove an item. Keep all your heavy-weighted belongings at the bottom of your bag. Some examples could be, shoes, jackets, coats and items that you have no need to pull out during your flight. I would recommend keeping at the top of your bag an extra sweater (in case its cold on board), snacks (sandwich, crackers, nuts..etc). Electronics placed in a separate bag ready to be pulled out from your carry-on, and your liquids inside a plastic bag ready to go. These are just recommended ideas that have worked for myself.
6. How to be prepared for your destination arrival?
Make sure depending on where you are travelling, you have a plan. One example could be having a pre-paid SIM card or mobile phone plan ready. Most airports do have free wi-fi, but some have terrible connection.
Another idea is understanding where your host, hotel or hostel's address is located and also having emergency contact information...like a phone number written down. What if your phone dies, no place to charge, your internet plan fails, or you have no sense of direction in a new place? These are just some tips, that have seriously worked out for myself. It never hurts to have a couple backup plans.
I travelled around Europe for a month and a half just off of Wi-fi connections, shared internet and screenshots from google and also city maps. It is possible to explore the world without internet and convenience, and sometimes thats the best way to travel. If you run into a problem, find a local on the street and ask to borrow their phone to call, or even to use their phone to google map a specific place. People are super friendly and usually are open to help travellers abroad.
I hope these tips have helped and inspired you, please follow my page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @stylistnomad for more travel advice and the latest updates.
Want to collaborate? send an email to Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org
~xx Lauren Martin