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6 Tips to Move You Through an Airport Quickly

When you’re in a rush, airports can seem like a never-ending maze of checkpoints and gate changes. Whether you’re going through an airport or getting out of one, these traveller-tested tips can help you expedite your experience.

1. Lighten Your Load

If at all possible, limit yourself to carry-on luggage. Being able to skip the bag drop-off queue altogether will save you precious minutes when trying to catch a plane. It also means you don’t have to wait at the carrousel when you arrive at your destination. Find a small, light case with wheels for ease of movement throughout the airport, but make sure you check the airline for luggage size allowances before take-off. 

2. Use Mobile Tickets

Nowadays most airlines have smartphone apps that can store all of your flight information, including the barcodes swiped at boarding gates, negating the need for paper tickets altogether. Check-in online 12 to 24 hours before your flight, download your ticket to the app, and simply present your phone when boarding the plane. No need to fumble around for paper printouts.

3. Prepack Toiletries

Many airports still have restrictions on how much liquid you can carry through security gates (the general rule of thumb is anything under 100 mL is OK) and will need to visually inspect whatever you bring. Buy travel-sized toiletries such as toothpaste, face wash and mouthwash, pop them in a see-through plastic bag or kit, and keep them close to you so you can whip them out at a moment’s notice.

4. Keep Electronics Handy

Many airport-security teams also require laptops and other larger electronics to be x-rayed separately from the rest of your belongings. They will request that you put them in separate bins on the machine’s conveyor belt. Do not pack your computer bag so tightly that you can’t access your electronics easily — you’ll need to be prepared to pull them all out quickly.

5. Keep Your Documents Close At Hand

Fanny packs are not always fashion forward, but you’ll be thankful for a special pocket, travel wallet, money belt or, yes, even a fanny pack, when you reach for your ID and boarding pass for the fifth time while loaded down with carry-ons and magazines. Keep yourself from having to fish through tote bags (while other travellers zoom past you, passport-ready!) by keeping your vital documents in easy reach.

6. Fill in the Forms

When landing in a foreign country, or even at home for that matter, you’ll probably be required to fill in an immigration or border-control form. If you’re handed a card while still in flight, fill it in right away. You don’t want to fall asleep and then have no choice but to write in your passport number and birth date while also awkwardly moving your bags up the security line. Oh, and always travel with a small pen. It’s astonishing how many people don’t and then end up needing one!

The key to moving through an airport quickly is to take the time pre-trip to organize your belongings and gather necessary information before even heading out the door. Happy and speedy travels!