With TSA lines expected to be longer than ever this summer travel season, savvy travelers will have to plan ahead to catch that precious flight out of town. Here are five travel hacks that will have you at your gate and ready to go on your next summer vacation.
1. Sign up for the TSA Pre✓® program.
Now is the time to sign up for TSA Pre✓®. This expedited security screening program promises expedited screening. If you’re eligible and approved for the program, you’ll be given a known traveler number “KTN” to use when making flight reservations. Participating airlines will print an indicator on your boarding pass. When you arrive at the airport, look for signs for the expedited lanes. Sign up now at tsa.gov/tsa-precheck
2. Check your reservations one day before travel and study the airport map.
Know which terminal and gate you’re departing from the day before you head to the airport, sign up for mobile updates from your preferred airline and confirm again three hours before your flight so you won’t make any last-minute mistakes or mix ups on your travel date. If connecting, see what gates your flights are arriving and departing from and check the airport maps to see how far you have to go once you land.
3. Stay at an airport hotel the night before travel.
If you have an early flight, or if you’re traveling with little ones, book an airport hotel for the the night before air travel. You’ll wake up refreshed and be able to head directly to your terminal. Many airport hotels, like Hilton Chicago O’Hare, (O’Hare is experiencing some of the longest security lines) also have swimming pools so kids can make time for a little pre-travel fun.
4. Arrive to the airport even earlier than early and take advantage of airport perks.
Today’s airports are filled with options for travelers with some time on their hands. Arrive early and take advantage of day spas, full service fitness centers at hotels connected to the airport, great restaurants and more.
5. Pack the night before your trip and be ready to GO.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever finished packing for a vacation the day of your flight? A few hours before a flight? This summer will not be easy for travelers that love to pack at the very last minute. Be prepared to go the night before your trip so you won’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off on departure day. Plan to arrive to the airport at least three hours before a domestic departure and four hours before an international departure so you have room to breathe.