As a travel writer, I have flown hundreds of flights and made enough mistakes (losing my boarding pass, missing my flight due to being in line for a sandwich, and getting my moisturizer taken at security) to understand the differences between those who glide through airports and those who struggle.

You don’t need to fly often to experience the pro lifestyle. These are my top tips and tricks to make flying easier.

1. Download the app from your airline one day before you fly to check in and receive your boarding pass.

Although I don’t like downloading too many apps, it is worth it when you fly. You can download the airline app to check in, access your boarding passes (so much easier than keeping track of paper tickets), receive flight updates, and stream movies in-flight.

 2. Download the app suggested by your airline and upload your COVID-19 results (and/or your vaccination record).

COVID has slowed down the pace at airports. It will be a huge time saver to do everything at home before you get to the airport. My test results and vaccination record weren’t uploaded to the airline app recently, so I had to wait a long time to check in.

Every airline seems to have its vaccine verification and test service.

3. Keep your bag-drop lines at bay by packing light and smart.     

It doesn’t matter if your trip is for two weeks or a month. You can carry everything you need in both a suitcase and a backpack. You should remember that laundry is everywhere, so you can fit everything in a backpack and a carry-on suitcase.

Your packing list will differ depending on where you are going, but I recommend two pairs of shoes, a few pairs of jeans, and a couple of dresses. Five shirts, five PJs, and five pairs each of socks and underwear are my top picks. You may need additional items depending on where you are traveling (e.g., a scarf, rain jacket, swimsuit, etc.).

You’re welcome to bring your own bag. YAY!

4. You can pack your clothes in a carry-on but keep everything else (such as your backpack, purse, or shoulder bag) at security. 

This will help you save so much time at security. You can take your suitcase with you, even if it is only full of clothes. Then, put it on the security belt. While you concentrate on your personal item (which will contain all the “questionable” items such as liquids and large electronic devices),

This way, you can ensure that everything you need on board is in your personal item (which should always be under the seat in front). This will save you the effort of reaching for your luggage mid-flight.

5. Be strategic with what you bring to the airport if you are worried about how much space you have in your suitcase. 

You can save space by packing your bulkiest clothes on the plane.

6. Remember that your attire can also impact how fast you pass through security at airports

You should keep security in mind when choosing what you wear to the airport. Avoid wearing a belt or chunky jewelry, and wear something you can take off and on easily. Also, avoid shoes that are difficult to slip off. Because no one wants to be barefoot when they go through security, I always wear socks.

You will be checking your tickets a lot while at the airport, so make sure you have access to your passport and phone.

7. You can pack your personal items strategically, but keep the ones you don’t need in the security line.

     You can place items that you don’t plan to use at security or onboard at flight at the bottom of your personal bag, while other items that you will need at the landing and in transit are at the top. These items could include large electronics such as a laptop, Kindle, iPad, or other tablets, food, liquids, and gels, as well as aerosols.

8. TSA’s liquid rules should be taken seriously. 

Each airport has a different procedure. In fact, I have been to airports where you don’t even need liquids. It all depends on the screening equipment.

9. After you have passed security, bring a water bottle so you can refill it.

Traveling with a reusable water bottle is a must. You’ll need extra effort to stay hydrated in dry airplanes. This means that even the tiny water bottles you bring on board won’t be enough.     

You can bring a water bottle and fill it up after you have passed security.

10. It is a good idea to bring snacks for when you are not able to grab food on the flight.

I have actually missed flights because I didn’t think I had enough time for lunch. Nowadays, I always have a bag of nuts, energy bars, and sometimes an apple as my personal item, just in case.

Remember that liquid foods like yogurt will need to be removed at security.

11. Make an airplane kit with headphones, eye drops, and extra masks. Also, include hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. 

These are some essential items that will make your flight much more enjoyable. You will need headphones to access the in-flight entertainment.

Eye drops are a must because my eyes can get very dry when I travel.

12. You may also need to bring some sleep products if you plan on sleeping on the flight. 

If I am certain that I will be sleeping on a flight, I will bring along earplugs and an eye mask. I also carry a pillow for my neck, a neck, and some lavender essential oil. This helps me prepare for sleep. Tylenol PM is also helpful if you have trouble sleeping on long-haul flights.

13. You should make sure that you board your flight as soon as you can if you have a large carry-on bag.

Although I don’t like the rush to board planes, it is something that I find frustrating. However, if you are on a long flight and need to connect with your carry-on luggage quickly, plan ahead. To ensure that your bag is in the overhead compartment, you will need to get there early. There have been times when overhead bin space was exhausted, and staff began putting bags into the hold below. Although it’s not usually a major issue, it can cause problems if you have a poor connection.

14. If overhead bins appear full, place your bag in the first bin that passes in front of your seat.

Nothing is worse than finding out that there is no overhead bin space available around your seat. You have two options if this happens: 1. You can either put your bag behind yourself and wait for everyone else to deplane to get it, or 2. You can move against the flow and locate a bin near the front of the plane.

As I board, I make a game-time phone call or ask the flight attendant for information about overhead bin space. I place my bag in a bin near the front of the plane if it seems full. This will make it easier to grab when I get off the plane. Remember the aisle number!

15. You can check the airline app to see your connection and landing gates if you have a tight connection. You can also inform the flight attendant if you have a tight connection.    

There are several things you can do to make sure you connect quickly and safely. To find out where you will be landing and which gate you need, first, use the app of your airline. Next, inform a flight attendant that you have a tight connection. Also, inform your seatmate to ensure you get up quickly.

If the flight crew is lucky, they will announce that people should remain seated until passengers with close connections can depart.

16. Choose your personal and carry-on luggage carefully. 

It’s not fun to run through airports, especially with a mask on. But sometimes, it is necessary. Your choice of luggage is crucial. A four-wheeled carry-on suitcase is the best choice. It can be pulled along with you, and a backpack should be used instead of a purse or shoulder bag.

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