Posted: January 7, 2015

Get to Your Gate Faster with These Airport Navigation Tips
Get to Your Gate Faster with These Airport Navigation Tips

As you know, it's best to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to take off. This gives you time to park, check any bags you have, go through security, find your gate, etc. But because life tends to get in the way, that two hour window isn't always available to you thanks to heavy traffic or your alarm not going off in the morning. If you're in a bit of a hurry or would simply like to get to your gate that much faster, keep the following tips in mind:

Check In Online

You don't have to wait until you get to the airport in order to check in for your flight and print your boarding pass. Instead, head to your airline's website and check in for your flight 24 hours before it's scheduled to depart. This option is especially convenient if you're not checking any bags, as you can walk right by the check-in counter and go straight to the security line. You can print out your boarding pass right at home, or have it emailed to your phone so you don't have to worry about losing it. Make sure your phone is fully charged so you have enough battery to make it to your gate with your boarding pass.

Weigh Your Luggage

Airports are strict on the weight of luggage, and they typically only allow your bag to be 50 pounds. If it's over that amount, you'll end up having to remove items from your suitcase and stuff them into your carry on. To prevent this from happening, weigh your bag at home to see if it exceeds the weight limit.

Of course, if you can avoid it, it's always easier to not check a bag. Invest in a smaller carry-on suitcase you can rely on for your travels. This saves you one step at the airport and will get you to your gate faster.

Know Where to Park

If you're taking your own car to the airport, you'll have to figure out where to park your car overnight. Airports usually have designated indoor and outdoor lots for you to park. Instead of guessing where to go on the morning of your flight, do your research before you even head out your door. Print out directions to the parking lot or have them ready to go on your cellphone. It's also good to know how far the lots are from your terminal. If it's a good 10 minutes from your terminal, you can plan for that.

Have your ID and Boarding Pass Easily Accessible

When you walk through security, you're going to need to have your ID and boarding pass ready to show the Transportation Security Administration agent. Rather than digging through your bag to try to find these items, take them out before you even leave for the airport, and store them in an easily accessible bag or wallet.

Download Airport Maps

When traveling through unfamiliar airports, it might take you longer to find your gate than it would in an airport you've been through many times. Download a map of the airport right to your smartphone so you can figure out where your terminal is and locate some good restaurants to eat at before your flight takes off.

Keep Liquids to a Minimum

If you're planning on bringing any liquids through security, like lotions, gels or makeup, be sure that each item is 3.4 ounces or less. Consolidate all of your liquids into a resealable plastic bag and place in your suitcase or bag. This allows the TSA officers to quickly scan your bag, and you won't have to leave any liquids behind.

Take Off Anything Metal

Prevent the metal detector in security from beeping by removing any metal you may have on you, whether it's pocket change, a belt or jewelry. Remove these items before you get in the security line so you can slide right through the detector without being pulled aside.

Remove Your Laptop

If you're traveling with a laptop, take it out of the bag and put it in a bin separate from the rest of your belongings. This will save the TSA agents from having to ask you to remove the laptop and put your bag through security again.

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