Spread Your Wings- Trip Hacks to Make Traveling Easier

Traveling can be frustrating, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make it through in one piece (and even enjoy it).

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Have you ever booked a flight and wished there was a training course on how to get through the airport in one piece and with all your stuff? Maybe you’ve thought it would be nice to have some sort of guide to easily get you through? Well, here it is! Let Popp!nTalk be your guide through your next airport journey.

            Truth be told, it’s a skill. It’s a gained ability to actually make it through the airport or a flight with minimal stress. It takes a little patience, but it can be totally worth it. In this article, I want to share with you some simple hacks to make your next trip a little easier.

TripHack #1: Prepping for the trip- fitting the most you can

One of the most difficult parts of traveling is fitting everything you need in a reasonably sized bag. But, there are ways to curb using a larger bag or too many bags. First, try keeping it to the necessities. I know it’s hard, trust me! But start with your daily wear like shirts, pants, socks; fill in the less-necessary things later. To fit the very most you can, pack all your clothes in a rolled-up fashion. If you half-fold your shirts/pants and then roll them up, it’ll save a lot of space- and then you’ll have room to fit that bathing suit you absolutely need.

Keep in mind, on American Airlines flights, your suitcase can be a carry-on if it is no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches ( Also, make sure any liquids- like shampoo or creams- you bring are no more than 3.4 ounces each and stored in a quart-sized bag in an outside pocket of your roller-board or backpack. According to their website, American Airlines also allows one diaper bag per child (if you are traveling with babies) besides your carry-on/personal item.

TripHack #2: Your One Personal Item- What You’ll Need During the Flight

            There are a few things that are convenient to have with you easily accessible during your flight. Such as:

Consider bringing a book or magazine to read on the plane or at the airport to help the time go by and have something to enjoy meanwhile.

A snack is good to have on hand as well; easy snacks include: sunflower seeds, beef jerky, a snack bar, m&ms, chips, gum or even a simple sandwich (most of the time, you can carry a small lunch in a grocery bag separate from your backpack and it’s no problem- but make sure that you have room in your bag to store it if you’re not able to carry it on like it is- then you can just tuck it into your backpack if you need to).

Another thing I bring is EarPlanes©. If your ears are sensitive to altitude pressure, these are good to have with you and they are small and easy to fit in your purse. They are available in most airport market stops, but they are cheaper to buy outside the airport (in the airport, they are about $10 for one pair, compared to elsewhere, which average at about $7; they are cheapest at Bed Bath and Beyond, for $5.19). Available in both kids’ and adult sizes.

TripHack #3: Naviagting and TSA- “Where Do I Go and Will I Make It?!”

            Directional hints are always given via light-up signs throughout the airport on the ceiling, these will tell you which way your gate/concourse is and where restrooms and exits/baggage claims are. There are also billboards located around the airport that have flight status and updated gate information on them- they’ll help you know if your gate changed and if your plane is on time. If you can’t find one of these (they’re usually around each concourse and near the entrance), you can always ask a agent and they will guide you to where you need to go.

            Once you find where you are going, you have to get through TSA, which is the most fun part of traveling… and I say that most sarcastically. If you have ever been to an airport, you know how much of a zoo TSA usually is. Always plan to be at TSA about an hour and a half before boarding time so you can get through with no rush. It’s best to be at the airport two hours before you need to be at your gate- it makes it a lot easier and less stressful knowing you have time to get to your gate and maybe have time to eat as well. If I could give you only one piece of advice, it would be to get there early and give yourself time. Be sure to also throw out any drinks you have before getting into the TSA line. Any other specifics vary from airport to airport- most of the time though, if you are not Pre-check, you have to remove any belt, jacket, shoes. So prepare for that if your boarding pass doesn’t state that you are Pre-checked (it often costs extra per ticket to get it).

TripHack #4: Valet/Checked Bags- What You Need to Know

            You can check your bag upon arrival at the airport, by visiting a ‘check baggage’ or ticketing counter or a self-serve kiosk. If you do it yourself, make sure to attach the tag to your bag so it makes it where it needs to go. The first checked bag is usually complimentary, however, for a second bag, there is usually a charge of $40 or more. Though, for a bag weighing above 50 lbs there may be a charge, nonetheless. Look on the website of the airline you are flying with to see their checked bag policy prior to getting to the airport so that you are prepared. Remember to take out any batteries, e-cigarettes, or any other items on the airline’s restricted list (you can find this list on any airline website) from your luggage before you valet them.

Your bag will end up at your final destination, so you don’t have to worry about it on any layovers (unless you have a connecting flight with a different airline). It will be on the baggage claim carousel of your arrival concourse. Make sure you have your name or something on your bag to make it stand out so you know which one is yours- you’d be surprised how many people will have your same kind of suitcase. If you don’t see your bag, talk to an agent and they’ll let you know what the next steps are.

TripHack #5: “I Bought Too Many Souvenirs and They Don’t Fit in My Luggage!”

            I’ve totally done this before, but, to be honest, it’s no big deal! When this happens, you can simply ship things back home. Go to a post office before the day of your flight and send your souvenirs to your address (or right to whoever you bought them for)! Just be careful about buying large, heavy souvenirs that you didn’t already plan on having space for, as those can get pricey to ship via mail. Keep in mind though, any package will cost some money, even if it’s not large.

            With that, although traveling can take some patience and getting used to, it doesn’t have to be all that bad! There’s plenty of ways to reduce travel stress!

This concludes our Trip Hacks segment! There will be plenty more articles on traveling in the future, but I hope this article was able to touch on some important flight and airport questions. If you have any others you’d like to have answered in a future blog post, send us an email and we’ll be glad to look into them! Thanks for sticking around and I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming travels.


By Loveless

Author of "Kanda Land", "The Universe Inside Her II: a book of unsorted poetic letters", and transcriber of "The 'Eternal I'" by Amalei Hemworth.

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