Airports are frustrating places. They can be confusing and overwhelming. Most of the people you encounter here are rushed, fatigued, grumpy, and just plain over it. Managing the stress of airports can take the joy out of traveling. We think it is best to get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. Our tips and tricks will help you do the same!

First thing’s first – Know your airline’s baggage rules!

This will help you when it comes time to pack. Having to unexpectedly gate check an oversize bag is inconvenient and can oftentimes slow you down once you deplane as you wait to retrieve your bag. We have seen plenty of people trying to travel with bags that do not meet the rules (whether checked or carry-on). It really is easier to figure this out in advance and pack appropriately.

Pack Light

As you may have guessed, we are carry-on travelers. There are so many benefits to packing this way. Time management is one of them. You will save tons of time not standing in line to check your bag or when retrieving it from baggage claim. Plus, it is so much easier (and more sustainable) to travel with minimal items.

Suitcases and backpacks
Hand luggage is much more efficient than checked bags.

Complete online check-in early and have your boarding pass ready

Arriving at the airport fully checked in and ready to go saves you time at the airport. I love the ability to check in online in advance. Knowing everything is taken care of saves time and stress. Be sure to have your boarding pass and photo ID handy so you don’t have to search for it when you’re rushing to the security screening podium. I recommend grabbing these before you jump in the security line.

Dress appropriately

Think about it. Make sure it’s easy to quickly remove and put back on. No lace up boots or bulky clothes. Also, be sure to avoid excessive jewelry and remove everything from your pockets tool. It helps to speed the process along, trust me.

Sign up for TSA Pre-check

Speaking of security, sign up for TSA Pre-check if you fly utilizing US airports at least a few times a year. It is well worth the money and will save you tons of time and hassle as you move through security. Not only do you get to enjoy shorter lines, but there are many other benefits to TSA Pre-check. You can leave shoes and light jackets on and don’t have to take liquids out of carry-on bags. Win-win!

Where available, TSA Pre-Check can be a major time saver

Organize your items

You know you will likely have to have certain things out of your bags and ready to go. This varies depending on whether or not you have TSA Pre-check. Regardless, get your items organized. Pull out iPads, have your boarding pass and ID ready, and whatever else you need to do. It’s better to do it any advance and breeze through everything.

Reconsider Your Shopping

Breeze through Customs and Immigrations! We do this because we never really buy much in the way of souvenirs. It’s just not our thing. I know most people like to buy stuff during their travels, but foregoing these purchases can have baggage screening additional benefits.

These are easy tips and tricks that will help your time spent in airports be more smooth and manageable! We have tried them all and swear by them. Hopefully, you found this post helpful!

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  1. Great post i totally agree with you on all of this. TSA Pre-Check is best thing ever! Also if you do a lot of international travel go an sign up for Global Entry through the US Customs, not only do you get TSA Pre-check included you dont have to wait in crazy Customs line at the airport.

    1. We tried signing up for global entry a few years ago but it was such a pain for us. We are nowhere near a screening center. The nearest airport that offers it is 280 miles away. Whenever we try to schedule a time while we were passing through Denver, they were always booked up. So, we use mobile passport instead!

  2. Online checkin is the greatest thing ever invented. I cant imagine how we did it before. I completely agree with forfeiting the souvenirs. It saves huge amounts of time just declaring nothing. Great tips!

  3. Love these tips! Waiting in lines at the airport is the worst so I do all these things – I’ve also found slip on shoes that I love – making it even easier to go through security.

  4. Great , common sense information! These are definitely things that everyone should be doing on their trips to make things easier not only for themselves, but for those around them. The better prepared we are, the smoother the process is for everyone. I have Global Entry which comes with TSA Pre-Check and it was one of the best investments I have made.

  5. What a great list! I absolutely hate when people don’t have their items sorted and aren’t prepared to go through security efficiently. Dressing appropriately is such a great tip as well. Makes getting through security so much easier!

  6. Good advice! I still haven’t signed up for TSA-Pre (I have Clear and am a Southwest Airlines A Lister so I usually get through airport security pretty quickly), so I have to take off my shoes. I always wear socks (because just the thought of standing on that nasty airport floor barefooted makes me gag), and have my unpacking and repacking for security drill down to an art!

  7. Great tips! People don’t realize how much easier they could make it for themselves if they followed simple guidelines like this!

  8. Dressing appropriately is my favorite tip on this list. Every time I travel I’m amazed at some of the get-ups folks have to work through in order to get through airport security!

  9. Organizing ahead of time is my favorite tip! My least favorite part of travel is being behind someone in the TSA line watching them root through their bags looking for boarding passes, electronics and liquids.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I generally find this element of travel a tad stressful, so we figured it would be nice to share our experiences with others to make it a bit easier.

  10. I think one good advice if you are at a really large airport, is to look at an airport map on your phone. Once when I was at Shiphold in Amsterdam, I went through security four times cuz I could not find the way 😀

  11. Can’t stress all of these points enough! When we see people frustrated and struggling at the airport, it almost always involves one or more of the areas you’ve covered. More often than not, it’s at the TSA line, and could have gone better with a little thought and preparation. Good tips, guys!

  12. Great tips. My husband and I have traveled a lot with our girls. I remember the glorious day when we didn’t have to bring car seats and each of the girls were able to handle their own luggage. Now, they are pros and getting in and out of the airport quickly.

  13. I always make sure to check in online a couple of days before travelling, just in case I forget at the last minute. Love your other tips – super helpful for the stressful traveller!

  14. These are really great suggestions for navigating through the airport . The first time can be confusing and this is an easy follow guide . I’m going to look into TSA pre-check for my future travels.

  15. The airport/flying can be the most stressful part of a trip for a lot of people, thanks for this guide on how to reduce that stress & make moving through the airport quickly so simple!

  16. Sooo agree with traveling carry-on only. I seriously don’t understand how some people have the patience to wait in a check-in line for their checked baggage.

  17. Some great tips! I used to work as a flight attendant and some airports can be such a mess. When possible hand luggage only for me!

  18. Such great tips for first time travelers. If you don’t have travel habits, these are some good tips for creating them. You want to get through security as smoothly as possible without holding up other people in line as well.

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