- The airport can be a challenging, frustrating place, with its confusing signage, lack of quality food options, and long security lines.
- Being unprepared at the airport can add stress to your pre-boarding experience and even cause you to miss your flight.
- To avoid feeling anxious or unprepared, there are certain things you should absolutely never do at the airport. Here are six of them.
Navigating the airport can be frustrating – with confusing gate locations, lack of quality food choices, long security lines, and expensive baggage fees, it’s not the most fun place to spend an afternoon.
Being unprepared at the airport can add stress to your travel experience and even cause you to miss your flight. Since I take dozens of flights every year, I like to prepare for the airport ahead of time by creating a mental checklist of the things I will do when I get there. Here are six things I never do at the airport, so my trips are as stress-free as possible:
1. Buy food at airport vendors
Instead of buying food from expensive airport vendors, I pack a supermarket sandwich and healthy snacks, like a bottled smoothie and mixed nuts.
2. Print my boarding pass at the customer service counter
I prefer to print my boarding pass before I head to the airport. If I don’t have time to do that, I use my airline’s phone app or the kiosks, which helps me avoid long lines. Being prepared with my boarding pass ahead of time has helped me make several flights while running late.
3. Check a bag on trips under a week long
On weekend or week-long trips, I don’t check my bag and instead pack my things into a carry-on. According toSITA, an air transport IT company, 5.73 bags per thousand passengers went missing in 2016.
Because of the risk of losing my luggage, I prefer to pack my things into a hard-case rolling bag that will fit easily in the overhead bin. Having a roller is also easier on my back when walking long distances to the terminal.
4. Forget to bring a jacket, coat, or sweatshirt
I never go to the airport without a jacket, even when traveling to tropical destinations. If my flight is delayed and the AC in the airport is on full blast, it’s going to be an uncomfortable wait.
I like to bring a hooded jacket to the airport so I can curl up on a chair and rest at the gate with my hood up and sunglasses on so no one bothers me. Also, I use the chest pockets of my jacket to hold my phone so I will hear or feel my alarm, which keeps me from oversleeping and missing my flight.
5. Walk barefoot through airport security
I never walk barefoot while in the security line to avoid any germs that could be in the floors or on the shoe prints inside the full-body scanner. If I wear sandals to the airport, I typically pack compact socks inside my purse to put on until I leave the security line.
6. Purchase airport Wi-Fi
I never purchase Wi-Fi at the airport, but instead use the 20 or 30 free minutes of internet that most airports offer. I try to get as much work done as possible within that window, then screenshot the pages I need when the time runs out. Some airport cafés have free Wi-Fi, so buying a cup of coffee may be cheaper than paying for the airport’s Wi-Fi.