The most important advice for avid travelers in 2013 is to arrive early, pack lightly, be prepared, be flexible and carry cash. If you keep these tips in mind, you are guaranteed to have a smoother trip.
The best tip for braving the airport is to arrive early. There are a lot of tasks to complete before stepping foot on the airplane. You have to wait in line at the ticketing counter, which can be quite long depending on what airport you are flying to or from. After that, you have to get your bags tagged and checked. Then, you are on your way to security, which might be an even longer line than the ticketing counter. At security, you will have to remove jewelry, belts, electronics and shoes and then put them back on when you're done. If you are traveling internationally, a passport check is needed. You might also have to go through customs if you are traveling with foreign goods.
In these tough economic times, airlines are looking for more and more ways to make income. This could come at the expense of the traveler's pocket. Most airlines charge a fee for checked baggage, and the new trend is charging for carry-on items. Save yourself time, money and space by packing lightly. Many personal items like razors, shampoo, soap and deodorant can be purchased in smaller, travel sizes. You can even buy them at your destination instead of taking up precious room in your luggage. The fewer items you pack, the less time you have to spend on your mental checklist of needed items.
The most important part of being prepared is to know the latest restricted items at the airport. There are some items that can be checked but are banned from carry-on. Sporting goods, tools, firearms and self-defense weapons fall in this category. Still some items are not acceptable for checked or carry-on travel. Most explosive, flammable and chemical items are on this list. The last thing you want is to delay your trip because you forgot to empty your purse. The second most important preparation is knowing the place you are traveling to. Invest in a travel guide or do some online research ahead of time. Having the location of a few restaurants in mind could save you a lot of frustration.
Flexibility is key, especially if you are on vacation. You have to take into account the crowds and travel times. You might not be able to make the touristy spot you set out to see, so you should have a backup in mind. If you are a student traveler, being flexible in your accommodation choices is essential. Check out a few low-price hostels if you can't afford a four-star hotel. Many hostels provide amenities found in hotels like free breakfast.
Carrying cash is not only handy, it is often essential in foreign countries. Unless you have contacted your credit card company beforehand, they might be suspicious of someone who lives in The United States suddenly having a charge in India. Instead of keeping all your money together, tuck small bills in various hiding places such as the small pocket in your suitcase or the pocket of your jacket.
Jack Collins is a travel enthusiast with 5 Star Denver a airport limo and blogs online about tips for the avid travelers.