After many months of saving money, you’ve finally managed to save just enough so that you can finally go on the vacation you always want to take. However, there’s just one small detail: you haven’t flown in years, so things like getting to the airport, checking in for your flight, getting through security and then to your gate can be a bit troublesome. Worry not, since we already did the hard work for you and wrote the guide below on the best way to get from your home to the airport fast and always on time.
Depending on how long your vacation is going to be, it’s always recommended that you only pack the necessities. Keep in mind that you can’t take everything with you, so even if you plan on going hunting when you arrive at tour destination, you won’t be able to take your favorite gun along. In fact, for any item that you’re not sure you can take with you, it’s best to get in touch with the TSA and ask them about it. As always, asking is better than having to discard your items at the airport and eventually have them destroyed.
Depending on how far away the airport is, the traffic, time of day, getting to the airport can be the most nerve racking part of your vacation. It is recommended to arrive 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours early for international flights. If you drive yourself to the airport, you need to plan appropriately for traffic getting there. Then you must park your car. If you park in economy parking which is cheaper, plan enough time to catch the shuttle to the terminal. To get dropped off at the curb of the terminal, have a friend or family drive you to the airport. Or if you have the extra money go with a taxi, bus or better yet a limo. (My friend has a great limo company you can check out here.) Once they pick you up, you can relax. They will get you to the airport on time. They will deal with the traffic and there is no parking to worry about. Now that you are at the airport you need to check in.
If you opted for checking-in your bags, then you need to head over to the check-in counter for your specific airline. You’ll likely find many other people waiting in line there, so be patient until your turn comes to heave your bags on the scale. Depending on how much they weigh, you may or may not have to pay extra.
To make sure you won’t need to pay anything, contact the airline prior to booking a ticket with them and ask them about maximum weight limits for personal luggage. Once you heave your bags on the scale, you need to present your airport identification in order to have your boarding pass issued. After that, you can proceed to pass through the security checkpoint and head over to your departure gate.
Passing through airport security is simpler than you think and all you need to do is follow the signs to your gate. In order to prevent any type of delays, be sure you consider the following tips:
If you’re hungry prior to boarding your plane, then you don’t actually need to worry about having had nothing to eat for the day. While some airlines have cut back on their in-flight food services after the 9/11 attacks, you can still purchase food on board. Just make sure though that you research the on board menu prior to your departure so that you know what to expect.
After you’ve passed the airport security checkpoint, all you need to do is head over to your gate’s boarding area. In general, boarding begins half an hour before the scheduled departure time, so it’s important that you hurry up and arrive at the gate on time. If you’re late, you may lose your assigned seat or your flight in the worst case scenario.
Now that you’ve finally arrived at your destination, all you need to do is follow the signs to Baggage Claim. When you’re there, check the monitors in order to locate the carousel that corresponds to your specific flight number. In some cases, you may have to surrender your luggage tags to the security personnel in order to make sure that you aren’t walking off with someone else’s bags by accident.
Going on vacation for the first time in years is not as difficult as it may sound. By keeping these tips in mind, getting to the airport, checking in and boarding the plane is going to be a breeze!