From beeping through airport security to overindulging before a flight, there are plenty of ways to make your time at the airport less than easy. Here are 18 common airport mistakes that you should avoid so you can simply get in and out with the least amount of stress and hassle.
1.Not allowing enough time to get to the airport
One of the most common travel mistakes – not leaving yourself enough time to get to the airport and check in – will leave you not only stressed and frazzled, but may even result in you missing your flight. This is especially detrimental (and costly!) if you’ve booked a budget airline that does not offer refunds for tickets. Add to that slow-moving security lines or other airport delays, and it’s almost guaranteed that if you’re late to the airport, it’s going to end in tears.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport (taking into consideration traffic and other potential delays); it’s recommended three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic flight to avoid unnecessary stress.
2. Forgetting to check the airline carry-on restrictions
Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to get through airport security without someone having a pair of nail scissors or bottle of water in their carry-on, and it’s even worse when you’re the culprit! Avoid this embarrassing scenario by reading up on what your airline permits in carry-on, then go through your bag with a (metaphorical) fine-tooth comb to ensure nothing on the restricted list sneaks into your bag.
3. Putting too many liquids, gels or powders in your carry-on
It’s not just nail scissors you need to worry about with carry-on luggage. Unless you want to say goodbye to them at airport security, ensure your carry-on liquids, gels, and now in Australia, powders, follow the airline’s rules. In the United States, it’s called the TSA 3-1-1- rule, and requires that;
- Your liquids and gels must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles or less (by volume);
- Those bottles must fit in a quart-sized (just under 1 litre) clear, plastic, zip-top bag;
- You can only have one quart-sized bag per passenger.
Always check your airline’s carry-on liquid, gel and powder restrictions before you pack, lest your sunscreen, toothpaste or shampoo gets confiscated.
You might also like: The Secret To Packing For Carry-On Luggage
4. Forgetting to organise your airport transport in advance
Airports are stressful enough as they are without adding extra anxiety by not organising your transport to the airport beforehand. Forget about relying on an on-demand service; pre-book an airport transfer so you can have peace of mind that you know exactly how you’re getting to the airport and when. Phew, one less thing to worry about.
5. Booking a flight to and from the most popular airport
It’s always a good idea to consider flying to a less popular airport to see if you can save yourself a pretty penny. For example, just because Heathrow, John F Kennedy or Melbourne Tullamarine Airport are the main airports for London, New York and Melbourne, doesn’t mean they’re the best – and cheapest – options for you. Melbourne Avalon is further west, perfect if you’re hitting up the famous Great Ocean Road, and often has cheaper flights. London has five airports in around Greater London; Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London Luton and London City. LaGuardia is also an easy option available in New York. By considering alternative airports, you might just snap up a bargain.
6. Not double checking which airport you’ve booked
Of course, if you’re travelling to a city with more than one airport, make sure you’ve double and triple checked which airport your flight leaves from. You’ll kick yourself if you’ve arrived with plenty of time, only to be in the wrong place.
7. Paying too much for a taxi there
Taxi trips to the airport are notoriously expensive, especially if you need to travel in peak hour to catch your flight. If you’d prefer to pay a predetermined price to get to the airport, rather than sit and watch the taxi meter go up and up, then pre-book an airport transfer instead. Your wallet will thank you for it.
You might also like: 8 Reasons To Book An Airport Transfer
8. Making jokes about terrorism, drugs, serious illness or bombs
Airport security is taken very, very seriously, and for good reason; to keep everybody safe. Joking about these matters is not only immature, but could land you in some serious hot water. Security officials have to take the ‘joke’ seriously, and you could be detained for questioning and miss your flight, or worse, get slapped with a big fine or charged with a criminal offence.
9. Paying too much for airport parking
Have you ever driven into an airport carpark, only to baulk at how much it’s going to cost you? Airports make huge profits from their parking – so much so we did a little investigating to see just how much it costs for one week’s airport parking at major airports around the world. You can see the results in our recent article.
Instead of paying for exorbitant airport parking, do yourself and your wallet a favour; leave your car safe and securely at home and book an airport transfer instead.
10. Counting on having access to WiFi
All of the major airports around the world generally have free WiFi – but don’t expect it in smaller, regional airports. Plus, if you’re travelling internationally, you may not be able to connect at all if the connection is set up via text message and you don’t have a local sim card.
11. Drinking too much before a flight
While it may be tempting to get stuck into some alcoholic beverages in preparation for a flight, it’s going to make it worse in the long-run when you eventually board your flight; woozy, tipsy and light-headed is not how you want to spend the duration of your flight, especially if there’s turbulence. Worse still, you may even over-indulge, become intoxicated and miss your flight – it happens! Stay focussed and avoid excessive drinking at the airport.
12. Having a big, rich meal before your flight
For the same reasons as above, indulging in a hearty meal may seem like a good idea at the time, but it’s only going to leave you feeling sluggish, bloated and uncomfortable. By the time you have to contend with turbulence, cabin pressure and sitting down for a long period of time, you’re going to feel pretty awful. Instead, arm yourself with some healthy snacks; your stomach and your wallet will thank you – airport food is notoriously expensive.
You might also like: How To Stay Healthy While Travelling
13. Wearing anything with metal
Unless you want to waste heaps of time beeping through the security checker and then have to remove several items of clothing because you forgot your boots, belt and jacket have metal zippers, think about your travel outfit and minimise any metal so you can breeze through security swiftly.
14. Not logging out of social media on a public airport computer
This one may seem obvious, but if you’re distracted at the airport and perhaps stressed about getting to the gate on time, it’s easy to forget to log out after you’ve been browsing Facebook or your emails. You never know who’s going to use the computer after you, and while we always hope they’ll be a good samaritan who logs you out, you can’t be sure who will suddenly have access to a lot of your personal details.
On this note, it’s also important to remember that public internet connections, like the ones at airports, are not secure. So make sure you don’t send out any important personal information through the public WiFi.
15. Wearing uncomfortable shoes
Yes, you might be sitting down for the majority of the flight, but there are often quite long distances between terminals that you’ll need to walk, and if your shoes are impractical, you’ll just end up with sore feet and blisters, which will stay with you for the duration of your flight.
16. Not bringing a refillable water bottle
Not only is buying bottled water bad for the environment, but it’s expensive too! Don’t forget to pack a refillable drink bottle (just make sure it’s empty before you go through airport security) and then fill it up with filtered or tap water once you’re on the other side to ensure you have plenty of water to drink on the plane.
You might also like: 14 Easy Eco- Friendly Travel Tips For Your Next Flight
17. Eating salty foods before the flight
Foods high in sodium will leave you feeling thirsty and dehydrated, which is the last thing you want on a flight, especially long-haul. Avoid salty foods at the airport and on the flight so you’re not left feeling uncomfortable and constantly asking for water during you’re flight, which will inevitably lead to more bathroom breaks.
You might also like: How To Keep A Health Diet When Travelling For Business
18. Forgetting ID for domestic flights
While you’re able to travel domestically without taking your passport along in some countries, it’s still important to bring some form of official ID with you, like a driver’s licence, to check-in for your flight. By remembering identification, you can help ensure a smooth check-in so you can board your flight with ease.
You might also like: 7 Tips For Domestic Travel
While you’re here, see how Jayride.com can help you with a pre-booked airport transfer. We work with thousands of local transfer companies, so whether you want a shared shuttle or private car, there’s an airport transfer perfect for your travel needs.