Top tips to make your time at the airport go smoothly

Most travellers would agree that the time they spend at the airport, both at the start and the end of their trip, is the worst part of their holiday.

Follow our top tips to make your airport experience more relaxed and enjoyable.

1 Be organised and give yourself ample time to get to the airport

If you end up rushing around at the last minute and leaving late you could miss your flight. Always make sure you are packed in plenty of time and allow yourself more than enough time to get to the airport. Allow enough time so that if the traffic is slow, or your train is delayed you can still make it in time.

If you are leaving from a large airport, make sure you know which terminal to go to.

2 Checking-in online can save you time at the airport

Most airline will now let you check-in online up to 24 hours before your flight departs. Checking in online can save you time when you get to the airport, especially if you are only taking hand luggage with you.

3 Consider using meet and greet airport parking

Trying to find a parking space in an enormous car park and then waiting for a shuttle bus to take you to the airport terminal can take a surprising amount of time and leave you tired and frustrated.

Why not use a meet and greet service next time you park at an airport, it means you can drop your car off much closer to the terminal and someone else will worry about parking it for you. Your car is also brought back to you at the arrivals pick-up point when you arrive home.

4 Early flight? Stay the night

If your flight leaves early in the morning consider staying the night at an airport hotel. Staying close to the airport makes for a much more relaxing morning than having to get up in the early hours and drive for miles from home to the airport. It is often very good value for money when booked in conjunction with your airport parking.

5 Prepare your hand luggage for security

You should all be aware of the rules around taking liquids through security, but just in case you're not. All liquids and gels should be in containers which hold less than 100ml, they should be carried in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag approximately 20 x 20 cm. You should keep them in a place that is easily accessible as they will need to be put through the security scanner separately from your main hand luggage.

Note: laptops and other electronic devices will also need to be screened separately.

6 Dress for security

Before you walk through the scanner at security you are likely to be asked to remove your shoes, belt (if it has a metal buckle) and jewellery. Make it easier on yourself by wearing shoes that are easy to take on and off, wearing a belt with a plastic buckle and keeping jewellery to a minimum.

7 Keep yourself entertained while you wait

Whether you prefer to listen to music, play video games or read a book, bring something to keep yourself entertained. Charge any electronic items the night before to make sure you don't run out of power.

8 Relax in an airport lounge

If you want to make sure you have somewhere peaceful to sit and wait for your flight consider booking an airport lounge. They will offer things like free wifi, plug points and complementary drinks.

9 Take advantage of duty free shopping

If you are travelling to a country outside of the EU you can get some great deals at the duty free shops on alcohol, cigarettes, perfume and cosmetics. Even if you are travelling within the EU, there are some good offers to be had at the shops in the departure lounge.

10 Enjoy a meal or a couple of drinks

If you've arrived at the airport in plenty of time you should be able to relax and enjoy a meal or a few drinks whilst you wait for your flight. But remember, keep it sensible and don't drink to excess, or your airline could stop you boarding the plane.

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