Tips of the Trade

15 Airport Dos and Don'ts

It is said that when people arrive at the airport they can become a different person. Things are forgotten, not realized, and stress can ensue. It could be because control is lost and you are completely reliant on other people. Whatever it is me along with Lauren from Outdoorsy Diva have decided to give you some airport dos and don’ts.
15 Airport Dos and Don'ts ©2016 HollyDayz

– You should know that if you find yourself running a bit behind schedule or you see the line at the check-in counter is ridiculously long, curbside check-in can be a lifesaver. Some airlines don’t charge for this service and some charge a small fee per bag. If you are only checking 1 or 2 pieces of luggage that $2 per bag plus tip just might be worth it to avoid standing in line for 30 minutes. It is also a little known secret that curbside check-in is a bit more lenient with the weight limits. Shhhh! Seriously it’s true. I’ve had 1 to 3 lbs overage overlooked. Of course, I made sure to tip my skycap. They are also known to tag your luggage with priority tags so that it arrives first on the luggage carousel. You take care of them and they take care of you. ~L
– Also, remember to be nice to the agents. Being rude and causing a scene won’t get you far. In fact, you may not be going anywhere. People will be happier to help you if you don’t start yelling and screaming or have a major attitude. ~H
– Make sure you know the baggage allowance number, the baggage fees, and the weight restrictions before you arrive. This can really cost you, especially on budget airlines like Ryan Air or Easy Jet. ~L
– It is important to know you can only carry 3.4 oz of liquid. Anything over that needs to be checked. If not TSA will throw it out in the garbage. So purchase travel-sized products. ~H
– Know how much your luggage weighs before you arrive. There are a number of portable scales you can use to weigh your luggage ahead of time. There is nothing more embarrassing than being “that person” trying to figure out what you can shove into your carry-on at the ticket counter. ~L
– Arrive early. You never know what traffic, ticket counter lines, or TSA lines will be like. There are bag cutoffs and it is important to know them for the airline you are flying. You may not be able to check your bag and in turn, potentially miss your flight. It is better to be early and stress-free then stressed and running through the airport. ~H
– Make sure you are fully aware of the passport rules for your destination. It is common that your passport has to have at least 6 months of eligibility left on it in order for you to travel to your destination. I had a friend arrive for a flight to Mexico only to be turned away at check-in because her passport expired within a month. What a costly mistake to make! The airline website should specify and you can find travel rules for most countries on the ~L
– It is important to keep up on any information about visa rules as well. You may have looked a month ago and something has recently changed. Case in point, Canada now requires those who don’t hold a US Passport to obtain a visa before entering the country. Even those holding a green card, this is also a good point for those that will be green card holders, you’ll want to click to renew green card before the expiry date if required, to ensure there won’t be any issues with your travel. The same goes for anyone from the states who are looking to visit Italy. There are options to attend an italian visa appointment new york, for example, for anyone in this situation, as getting a visa is a requirement to visit many countries.
– There are other legal matters to keep in mind too. Heading to the US from Canada? There are many reasons why people can be barred from entering a country, and convictions on a criminal record often play a big role in this. A DUI, theft, fraud, and/or possession conviction on your record can result in you getting turned away from the US border. This is because of an agreement between the Candian and US government. For Canadians with a conviction on their record, the method for removing a conviction essentially involves applying for a Canadian pardon. A Canadian pardon can remove a conviction from a criminal record. That being said, the past conviction is not removed from the Customs and Border Patrol database. Ultimately, if you have concerns about your criminal record when traveling to the US from Canada, you might want to consider reaching out to Pardon services in Canada for legal support and guidance about how best to proceed.
– It’s helpful to know your gate number before you arrive. If you are using the mobile app for your airline it’s usually listed there or it’s on your electronic boarding pass. Why do you need to know this information? Well if you’re team carry-on there’s no need for you to have to make a stop at the counter or a kiosk. You can go directly to security and on to your gate. Some airports like DFW have different entrances according to the gate. On a recent trip to Dallas, my driver asked my gate number so that he could know where to drop me off. Luckily I had the handy app. Otherwise, you could end up being dropped off in the wrong place resulting in a lot of unnecessary walking. Who needs that? ~L
– If you travel frequently look into getting TSA pre-check. If you travel internationally consider Global Entry which will also provide you with TSA pre-check. Another option for international travel is to download Mobile Passport. Either way, you can quickly get through security or customs. Don’t under-estimate the lines even if you do have pre-check. I once stood on a TSA pre-check like for 30 minutes just to get up to an agent. Mind you there were 4 separate pre-check lines. ~H
– Make sure you know that anything in your luggage and especially on your carry-on is allowable. You can check the Mobile Passport website ahead of time. If you have a questionable item, like whether or not you can travel with grandma’s sweet potato pie, you can snap a picture and tween @AskTSA or send it to them via Facebook Messenger and they will reply to you and let you know if your item is allowable. ~L
– Don’t stand in unnecessary lines. Many airlines allow you to get your boarding pass and check your luggage using kiosks. If you don’t have a good reason for going to the ticket counter, by all means avoid it. ~L
– Some airlines you have to get on a line to drop off the bag you are checking. Don’t get on the line if you aren’t checking a bag, but have an issue. You will more than likely waste your time on one line only to be sent to another. ~H
– If you will be in the airport for a while due to layover, don’t pass up an open outlet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been strolling through the airport and say to myself “Oh good there’s an outlet so I can charge my phone or plug-in my laptop. I’ll come back to it.” No, you won’t come back to it. It likely won’t be available. Finding open charging stations is serious business. If you see it jump on it immediately. (Bonus: Please don’t leave your items charging unattended at a charging station unless you really dont’ want to own them anymore. Sounds nuts but I see people do this all the time.) ~L
– Don’t be that person that tries to go through security with more than a personal item and a carry-on. You will more than likely have to go back to the ticket counter and check the bag. Also make sure the bag is a proper sized carry-on or you may be turned away to go back to the counter and check it.. That line “I always take it on the plane,” isn’t always going to work so save yourself the trouble. ~H
We could probably be here awhile with Dos and Don’ts, but these are some of the basics and things to keep in mind when heading to the airport. Above all make sure you plan ahead so you can alleviate potential stress.
What Dos and Don’ts do you have at the airport?

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  • Sab

    Great tips for travelers… If I might add one… Board the plane as the last person. There is no need to rush on board, you have a seat anyway. If you board last, you might be lucky and spot an empty row for you… And since you’re the last person boarding, just switch – no one will notice. 🙂 Happy travels!

    • Holly Dayz

      That doesn’t always work out. Especially if you have a bag that needs to go in the overhead. I have seen many people get on and then have to turn around to check the bag because they got on the plane towards the end. Many times flight attendants do notice and depending on if it is weight and balance situation then its best to stay where you were put.

  • 100cobbledroads

    One always tends to think of airports as transition zones and maybe that’s why we neglect them, and end up hating them so much. Great post.

    • Holly Dayz

      Airports are places many people rush and lose and forget things.

  • Vicki Garside

    Great tips here! I totally agree with using the kiosks to avoid the check in desks and not taking more than your allowance – it just causes a headache for everyone and a bucket-load of embarrassment for you!

    • Holly Dayz

      Kiosks are awesome. I love them and the just keep it moving since I usually just do a carry-on.

  • Lillie

    Brilliant tips! The one about making sure your passport has at least 6 months on it is key. It was the reason I couldn’t visit Morocco as planned!

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you. Yes, I have also heard of people being so caught up in getting their visa they forget that there passport is set to expire soon and then can’t go.

  • Nat Deduck

    Amazing tips! Especially for new travellers! Although, as experienced travellers, we can always make mistakes!

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you. You are right. I do see experienced ones make mistakes all the time.

  • Gokul Raj

    Nice article. All the tips are spot on. Thanks for sharing.

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you.

  • Everything Zany

    Great tips!! This is really helpful for all travellers new and the experienced ones. Thanks for sharing these! 🙂

    • Holly Dayz

      Thanks. You are right.

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    These are really important dos and donts at airports. It is worth refreshing even for the seasoned traveler as sometimes we may overlook a thing or two. Better to be prepared then be caught unawares.

    • Holly Dayz

      They are and you are right. It could be over looked, especially during the holiday season.

  • Mr Mike

    Knowing the visa rules is so crucial! Great tips 🙂 Also I completely agree about unnecessary standing in lines. So many Koreans and Chinese jump at the chance to stand in a line and i just stay in my seat haha.

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you. It really is. I think everyone runs to stand in a line, nothing to do with an ethnicity.

  • Carissa (The Green Eyed Lady)

    Great List!!! I think the airport ensues stress no matter who you are and if you fly often or not. I try to do as much as I can before arriving; weighing my bags, printing tickets and so on. Thanks for reminding us all especially during travel season!

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you. I try to stick to carry-on so I don’t have to weigh it too often unless the carrier requires it.

  • kemkem

    Know your terminal before arriving at the airport and yep..know the rules regarding luggage. I also check in about 10 hour before my flight. This gives me a chance to spot a row that might work better and maybe avoid someone in the middle seat.

    • Holly Dayz

      Depending on the airport you may not know the terminal you are leaving out of, especially if you arrive hours in advance. 10 hours is a lot of room for things to change and people to get added or switch flights.

  • Stephanie Cooper

    Thank you for these tips! I have been traveling a lot more these last few years because I’m in a long distance relationship. We have had to learn the hard way unfortunately about how to travel and sometimes we have had to travel with kids. Thank you for the passport points especially. A few states have had laws change regarding what IDs can be used at airports. In some states now across the country you will have have your passport as a secondary ID in order to board a plane. (This is happening in 2018 in Oklahoma where I’m from.)

    • Holly Dayz

      I am glad this is helpful for you. Especially since you are in a long distance relationship.

  • Buddy The Traveling Monkey

    These are all great tips, especially about knowing how much your bag weighs ahead of time. So many times I’ve seen people in the airport with their bags open, trying to rearrange things in order to make the allowable weight. That must be so nerve wracking!

    • Holly Dayz

      People are constantly rearranging their bags at the airport.

  • Anitra | The Mom on the Move

    I have a severe peanut allergy. On my last trip on American Airlines I was told I should have brought my own mask and in had the choice to take a later flight or deal with it because they won’t restrict other passengers from eating nuts on their flights. Know the airline allergy policy before you book a flight.

    • Holly Dayz

      I have never heard of that before. I was on a flight once and they made it announcement that they wouldn’t serve any because someone on board did have a peanut allergy.

  • Ty Knighten

    These are great tips. I am all about getting bags check and getting through security as fast as possible, Nothing worse than having to stand in long lines, but they key is always giving yourself plenty of time.

    • Holly Dayz

      Thanks. Yea that is always the goal, just get it done and as quickly as possible.

  • mimicutelips

    I try to travel with as few items as possible. I print out my boarding info in advance.

    • Holly Dayz

      That is always a great way to get though the airport quickly.

  • Kirstin N. Fuller (@thetravelindiva)

    Good tips! I always print a copy of boarding passes as a backup and pack my patience. Arriving super early is the key to a successful trip and in this day and age of travel it’s definitely best to get there early.

    • Holly Dayz

      Pack your patience. That is a great one! Arriving early is definitely a stress relieving factor.

  • Eva

    I definitely use the kiosks when I can, and keep the liquids to a minimum. I also have laptop ready to take out, and socks so that I don’t have my bare feet on the floor or in the xray thing.

    • Holly Dayz

      I try and always use the kiosks and try not to even check a bag.

  • Jennifer

    Great tips! One thing I have learned about airlines is to arrive early. Very early! I once made the mistake of arriving later than I should have and ended up missing my flight. I didn’t know airlines offer kiosks for check-in now. This is a great convenience and time saver!

    • Holly Dayz

      Yes early is very helpful and key. No one ever knows what may happen when they arrive. Relieves stress to arrive early. Yes, the kiosks are awesome. I use them whenever I can.

  • Trisha Velarmino

    I can truly relate to this post! What I always encounter whenever I am travelling and at the airport. Its best to be prepared. cheers!

    • Holly Dayz

      Always great to be prepared.

  • PriVin

    The TSA pre-check and global entry saves some much time and hassle. It is definitely worth the money.

    • Holly Dayz

      I agree it is worth it. Best thing to ever have for me is global entry.

  • Adventuring The Great Wide Somewhere

    Great tip about the curbside check in! I always forget that it exists, and had no idea there were any hush hush perks associated with it! And I had no idea about the passport expiration rules until a year or so ago. I would be heartbroken to plan an entire trip and not be able to take it! I’m glad it’s been brought up here to help prevent that kind of disaster from happening to other travelers!

    • Holly Dayz

      I think a lot of people forget about it. It has happened that people forgot and planned an entire trip, visa and all, and couldn’t go. Important to check it.

  • mappingmegan

    Great list – I think most of these are common sense, however it’s surprising how often we need reminding of the most basic things … like being nice to the customer service and ground staff – I never understand why people think it’ll achieve anything being an ass to the people who have the power to make your flight more or less comfortable with a simple click!!

    • Holly Dayz

      Common sense isn’t common. I never understand why people act like that either, but they sure do.

  • Carmen's Luxury Trvl (@carmensluxtrvl)

    Being nice to the agents is so important! I’m glad you mentioned that. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Holly Dayz

      It is very important, there are so many people who aren’t.

  • erinklema

    This is a pretty solid list of dos and don’ts for streamlining airport check-in. I totally agree that using curbside check-in is a wonderful option when lines are long inside or you are just crunched for time. I’ve never noticed if they were more or less lenient about the weight of my bag, so that was a helpful hint that I’ll keep in mind when I’ve bought a few souvenirs that may push my bag over the limit.

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you. Curb side check in is definitely a gem that people over look.

  • LaQuisha Hall

    Queen, great tips! One that I have always followed and by default is to not pass up an open outlet in the airport! Got to make sure those electronics are well equipped, LOL.

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you! Yes trying to get things charged up and keep them that way is important!

  • Sara Broers (@TravelWithSara)

    Great tips! I love your suggestion of never passing up an empty outlet- so true! Visas have been in the news a lot lately, good reminders of what to know about them. I also love your tip about curbside check in, why is it that so many people overlook that?

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