The last thing anybody needs when jetting away for a relaxing holiday or work trip is a torrid time in the airport before (or after).
Fortunately, there are certain tips and tricks you can use to prevent any unnecessary airport hassle, ensuring your holiday begins stress-free - and even saving a few pounds along the way.
With the summer here and millions planning their perfect getaway, here are some simple but effective airport hacks to follow.
1. Place all travel documents within easy reach
It may seem obvious, but many of us end up wasting precious time and energy searching for passports, boarding passes and other documents when we need to produce them.
Put them in a dedicated zip or compartment in your bag, allowing for easy access, thus avoiding holding up other travellers - and the panic induced state which comes with not being able to initially find them.
2. Pack an empty water bottle in your hand luggage
This has multiple benefits. It can help you avoid queues in airport shops, make sure you keep hydrated, and even save you money.
Use fountains to refill you bottle as often as you like for free. Just make sure it’s empty before security and fill it up after you’ve gone through.
3. Take a photo of your parking spot
Car parks at airports are usually massive and featureless,with hundreds of spaces, often requiring a shuttle bus to take you to the terminal itself.
It’s easy to forget where you’re parked and after a week away in the sun you may have no recollection of the exact spot you parked in on your return.
Take a picture of your parking spot and any noticeable signs or landmarks around your spot can aid you in locating your car when you arrive back. And if there's a zone number, take a note.
4. Put in-flight essentials in one small bag
Put everything you’ll need during the flight into a single small bag, and then place that within your hand luggage.
Having your earphones, book, snacks, phone and any essentials you may need in a small ziplock bag means you can get it out as soon as you board the plane, and place your larger hand luggage suitcase or bag in the overhead lockers, so you have all you need in one place.
Tip: Take a photo of your suitcase to help airline staff locate it if it does go walkabouts (Photo: Shutterstock)
5. Secure your suitcase with trackers - or decorate it
It’s better to have some extra decoration on your suitcases when travelling, such as a bright bow or stickers.
But if you want to invest in something more long-term, a luggage tracker can help if it happens to get lost, or you need to identify it as yours.
6. Take a photo of your luggage
It’s also worth taking a photo of your suitcase, so you can make sure exactly what it looks like and the ways in which you uniquely decorated it.
This can help airline staff locate it if it does go walkabout.
7. Go to the left at security checkpoints - most travellers naturally steer to the right
Studies have shown that the majority of people will choose to go to the right-hand lane at security checkpoints.
Although you may not always get to choose, with many airports instead telling you which queue to go in, if you are presented with a choice the left may be quieter than the right, allowing you to get through quicker.
8. Take a portable charger
If you need your phone frequently while travelling and at the airport, or if the battery life usually depletes quickly, having a portable charger can be a lifesaver.
9. Pack a multi-socket adapter/charger
If you’re travelling in a group or as a family, a multi-charger also comes in extremely handy for foreign airport stopovers. Especially if there are multiple phones, tablets, eBooks etc.
10. Wear your extra luggage
This is always joked about among those who over-pack, but wearing clothes which may just tip your luggage allowance over the limit actually proves useful.
Carrying a coat or jacket with multiple pockets is also a useful way of taking extra items which you can’t fit in your hand luggage. Just avoid putting liquids in.
Main image: Shutterstock