Make Traveling Easier (And Cheaper) With These 10 Airport Tips

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Chances are, most of us go to the airport at some point, and it’s not always too fun braving the long security lines or dealing with all the rules and regulations (like chugging your bottle of water while in the security line before it’s your turn).

But, there are ways to get through it, especially with these 10 airport tips you may not have known about—but should.

1. Take A Red-Eye Flight

sleeping on airplane photo
Photo by stereogab

Personally, I love red-eye flights—why not sleep on the plane and save time to boot? Plus, if you don’t want to go to the airport in the height of traffic, chances are, traffic is way better late at night than during rush hour, and the security lines tend to be, too.

And, save some money while you’re at it. “Red-eye flights normally have the largest number of cheap seats allocated by the airlines,” according to Travelers United.

2. Keep Your Luggage Safe(r) With A “Fragile” Sticker

fragile luggage photo
Photo by Yutaka Tsutano

Once you check your bag, you probably hate the thought of it being tossed about and potentially damaged. Well, ask for a “Fragile” sticker, and your bag may have just as pleasant a trip as you.

3. Keep Your Money Safe

chapstick photo
Photo by rmhowie

Want to keep your money safe and not have your wallet be a target for someone, especially that person standing a bit too close to you in the security line? Use an empty Chapstick tube. Who wants to steal used Chapstick, right? I personally use an Altoids container, but to each their own.

4. Bring Alcohol

I’m a Travel Ninja

Yep, who says you cannot bring mini bottles of alcohol through security? “This works well since mix (Coke, juice, etc.) is already included on-board—plus, the TSA doesn’t have restrictions about what liquids you can bring, just how big they are,” states Globe Guide’s Tamara Elliott on her website. Who knew?!

5. Use A Shopping Bag To Put Extra Carry-On Items In

hudson booksellers photo
Photo by brewbooks

Is your carry-on bursting at the seams, it’s so packed? After you go through security, find a gift shop and ask them for a large bag. When you get ready to board, the gate agents will assume you just went shopping versus telling you you’re only allowed one carry-on and one personal item (and one shopping bag!).

6. Wear Extra Clothes

winter coat photo
Photo by madlulablog

Yes, this may be a bit of a pain when going through security, but my grandma taught me this one. If you have some clothes that just won’t fit in your checked bag or carry on, wear them.

Layers are key when dressing for winter weather, right? Same goes for “airport weather.” You can always shed some of the layers after security, and store them in your spare bag (see #5).

7. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

water bottle photo
Photo by Rubbermaid Products

Tired of wasting money by downing your water right before you get to security, then paying too much for a new bottle of water? Bring an empty water bottle (Nalgene type or simple plastic) into the airport,” said Reddit user ndrew452. Fill it up at a water fountain once you are past security.” Plus, some airports now have water bottle-filling stations, so you should be all set. If not, Reddit user tethys89 recommends asking food stands to fill it for you. Short on space? In that case, you can always pack a collapsible water bottle.

8. Get Into The Airport Lounge (For Free!)

virgini america lounge photo
Photo by pdeperio

Don’t have access to the airport lounge and all its amenities, like free snacks and drinks, nice bathrooms, and places to work? And do you wish you did, especially now that your flight’s been delayed a few hours and you just want to relax without hundreds of people around?

Though the lounges differ from airline to airline, they all have one thing in common: Comfort. You can have a cool, colorful vibe at the Virgin America Loft at LAX; some, like United’s, have conference rooms with speakerphones; while others, like the Admirals Club by American Airlines, even have shower suites in select locations.

Though many require you have a day ticket or annual membership to get in, some lounges allow first-class passengers to bring in a guest for free. Of course, you have to ask. And the friendlier someone looks, the better, states The Credit Card Fly via Lifehacker.

I know, this seems like trying to scam a concert ticket or something, but it seems simple enough and worth a try. But, if you want to find another free way into the lounge, some airlines’ Travel Rewards Credit Cards may be your ticket in, so to speak. For instance, the United MileagePlus Explorer card gives you two one-day passes. Pretty convenient, huh?

Of course, before you enter any airline lounge, you may want to do some research and see which one has the amenities you’d like to use. LoungeGuide provides reviews.

Or, maybe you’re more of an app person, in which case you may want to download something like Priority Pass (for Androids and iPhones) or LoungeBuddy.

If you don’t want to try to sneak into the lounge or get a credit card, you can always buy a day pass into a lounge. Prices vary by airline, but a day pass at the Virgin America Loft at LAX is $30 (if you are not an Elevate Silver or Gold member) and American Airlines’ Admiralty Club runs $99 for a 30-day membership.

9. Try “Hidden City Ticketing”

san francisco photo
Photo by jeffgunn

You may have heard about “hidden city ticketing” before, but if not, you’ll soon love it. Bottom line: You’ll save money. Let’s say you need to get to San Francisco, but flights are too expensive.

But then you find a flight to L.A. with a layover in San Francisco, and this flight is way less. So, as long as you don’t check any bags, you can just get off in San Fran and save money in the process. See you there!

10. Get A Luggage Cart… For Free

luggage cart photo
Photo by Renate Dodell

Congratulations! You made it to your destination. Now, if only you could find a luggage cart… and not pay for it. Good news: You can. Just go outside to where people are waiting for taxis and Ubers. I constantly see empty luggage carts sitting by the curb; there, or in the parking garage. So why spend money on one when you don’t have to?

You can find a bunch more airline hack tips here in this Reddit thread, too.

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