This post was most recently updated on September 12th, 2014


The people who would claim that spending time at the airport is a joy are few and far between, but there are ways of making things more bearable – and that begins with saving time. Try these 10 tips to speed things up a bit, and with any luck, it’ll be as smooth as it looks in the picture of Heathrow Terminal 5 (above).




1) Choose your airport carefully: A hub airport may be the most obvious choice, but a smaller one can be quicker, and not just because there’s less of it – smaller airports mean fewer queues, whether it’s through security, in baggage claim, or at immigration.


2) Think about your dates: If you’re traveling to what’s primarily a vacation or a weekend destination – say, Las Vegas – it stands to reason that the airport will be most busy on peak traveling days – ie coming in Friday, going out Sunday. Fly out on a Saturday morning, say, and you’ll have the airport and the plane almost to yourself.




3) Check in online: An obvious one, but it does save time. Especially if you…


4) Keep your luggage to carry-on: Yes it’s a pain stuffing everything into a little bag, decanting liquids and carrying it through the airport but it’s worth it for the time you’ll save not checking it in, and not picking it up the other side. If you can’t keep it condensed, though…


5) Weigh your bags: Nobody wants to be the person desperately transferring t-shirts between cases. Weigh your bags at home, and don’t push the limit – it’s not worth it. Not only will you save on embarrassment, you’ll save on time as well.




6) Pick the fast aisle: If there’s a dedicated aisle for experienced travelers, hit it up – but only if you can walk the walk. You’ll have to know what you can and can’t take through, what has to be taken out of your bag, and do it quickly.


7) Be prepared: Have your liquids already in their plastic bag, your laptop easily grabbable and your shoes ready to come off.




8) Sit up front: That way, you’ll be first off, first through immigration (if there is one) and, if you’ve not checked in luggage, you can swing straight through the airport on the way out.


9) Go to the bathroom: Yes, airport toilets are normally nicer than the ones on the plane, but if you go before landing, you can go straight on to your destination once you disembark. The queues for the ladies at Heathrow after immigration control are (almost) legendary.


10) Get out of there: With the fastest transport you can. If you’re hiring a car, try and be a member of the rental company’s rental club, which should save you from queuing to pick it up. If you’re debating between a train or a coach somewhere else, it’s normally best to go for the quickest option (normally the train). A coach journey may be a little cheaper, but you’ll regret it as you’re stuck in traffic getting into town.

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