The place I like to spend the least amount of the time is at the airport. When I’m on the go, I’m always trying to save time. One of the best ways to save time at the airport is getting through security in a swift and hassle-free manner. Saving time when you’re on the go is a must. Here are several ways you can save time at the airport so you can enjoy your trip instead of how you are going to get there.
When you’re pulling up to the airport, take a good look at curbside check-in. I think there is a pre-conceived notion that you are not eligible to use curbside, but that simply is not true. Anyone can check a bag at the curb. However, you only want to take advantage of this option if the line is short and you’ve allowed enough time for your bag to be checked through to your final destination. I love curbside because I can walk into the airport hands-free and go straight to security. Getting on the plane with as few bags as possible will make your life so much easier and allow you to sit back and people-watch when others are trying to shove their oversized bag in the overhead bins.
Long before TSA PreCheck was around, CLEAR was a thing. And CLEAR still is a thing as it expands into many of the larger airports around the country. At airports where CLEAR is accepted, you can find your own lane at the security entrance. A CLEAR agent will make sure your credentials are working via a fingerprint or retinal scan, and then escort you to the front of the security line. TSA lines (even PreCheck) seem to be getting longer and longer, so CLEAR is becoming more and more attractive. If you have PreCheck already, the CLEAR agent will take you to the front of that line instead of general security.
After a short in-person interview, you can get your TSA PreCheck known traveler id number in a couple of weeks. You’ll need to go online to get a scheduled appointment, which is what takes the most time. Some interview locations are booked months in advance. If you have TSA PreCheck, this is a huge time saver. You can skim off a few minutes getting to the airport because you know you’ll have a special line for security. It seems that precheck is becoming more and more popular and the lines are getting long. However, the benefits of TSA precheck are fewer wait times, you don’t have to take your shoes or jackets off, and you can leave electronic devices in your bag. All of these things make getting through security a little faster.
If you travel internationally more than once a year, get Global Entry. It’s a game changer. I wish it was universal and could be issued everywhere. Just like TSA precheck, you’ll need to go through the security check and interview. The difference is Global Entry is used when you are arriving back into the US from international travel. There is a special kiosk area where you can again scan your fingers or retina to gain access to your account. You’ll have a photo taken of you that you’ll hand to the agent upon exiting customs. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure your passport is up to date with enough time left on it before it expires. Some countries require more time than others. There is nothing worse than getting to the airport and being denied due to a simple error.
You really don’t need to get to the airport early anymore unless you are checking bags or have no way to download your boarding passes. Most, if not all airlines, now have mobile apps that let you get all your flight information, get updates sent you, and have your boarding passes at your fingertips. You can use your phone at both security and at the boarding gate for swift boarding access. This is also handy when you misplace those paper tickets.
I use to be that person that would NEVER check a bag. But now that so many people WON’T check their bags, it’s becoming harder and harder to get a space for your bag once you’re onboard. That’s why I’m not the person that is now checking her bags. If you do check your bag, make sure you have the right size according to your airline’s baggage policy. Make sure you are following the bag weight rules as well so you’re not paying the overweight fees. I now have a fun bag tag and a bright colored scarf so I can identify my bag quickly at my destination.
Saving time when you’re on the go makes traveling less stressful for everyone. Once you find your traveling grove, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable getting around. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself booking your next trip with your best friends or on your own.