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Tips from a Travel Junkie :: Navigating through Airports
Meet Julia Dimon, travel expert and author…
With summer travel just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about where to go, how to get there and how best to pack. Having traveled to over 80 countries, across seven continents, I’ve seen an airport or two in my day. Sadly, with increased security measures, the airport experience can be a frustrating one. In my new book Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Travel, I outline a few hassle-free ways to avoid that airport stress and navigate the airport like a pro…
– For a faster airport experience, check-in online and print your boarding tickets in advance. Select your ideal seat (and avoid getting stuck in the middle) by using SeatGuru.com to check the plane’s amenities and seating plan.
– Check your flight status before you head to the airport to keep up to date on flight schedules and possible delays. Apps like TripIt.com will also notify you via email or text if there are any changes in your flight. That way you won’t be waiting unnecessarily at the airport.
– Plan to get to the airport early. Most carriers ask passengers to arrive at least 90 minutes before their domestic flight, and three hours early for international flights. Leave yourself enough time, so you’re not rushing around like a lunatic.
– Familiarize yourself with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) carry-on guidelines. For example: Don’t pack liquid or gel substances in your carry-on luggage if they are more than three ounces. Yes, that refers to toothpaste and contact lens solution. Make sure all your liquids are together and enclosed in a quart-size, clear plastic ziplock bag (one per passenger). TSA prohibited carry-on items seem to change regularly, but as a rule of thumb, leave all fireworks, bombs, guns and jam (yes, oddly enough, jars of jam are liquid, extremely dangerous, and hence forbidden) at home.
– Breeze through security by opting for the TSA’s precheck program. Once you’ve done the application process and finger printing, you can enter faster security lanes at the airport. Check out universalenroll.dhs.gov to get the process started. Similarly, the Global Entry program will help you move through customs at a rapid rate.
– Think about security protocol when dressing yourself for your flight. Wear pants that do not require a belt and avoid excessive jewelry, sweaters and jackets. Wear flip-flops or shoes that slip off easily so you can move more quickly through security lines.
– If your flight is delayed and you need to kill time at the airport, GateGuru is a handy app that helps you navigate the shops and restaurants in your terminal, all the while tracking your flight.
*For travel stories, photos and video of Julia Dimon’s travels around the world, visit TravelJunkieJulia.com.