By Whitson Gordon from Lifehacker: Traveling is stressful, and the last thing you need is to rush through security and wait in a ton of lines. We’ve put together a simple last-minute checklist to make sure you make it through the airport quickly.
Many of these tips may seem obvious, but it can be hard to remember everything at once, especially when you’re in a hurry to catch your flight. Take some of the guesswork out of travel by checking this simple list as you head out to the airport—it’ll get you through security and on the plane in no time.
Don’t check luggage. This isn’t always in your control, but if you can, pack everything you can into a carry-on bag. Sometimes, the way you pack can make the difference between checking a bag and fitting everything into the overhead bin.
Print your boarding pass the night before. And, if you have a smartphone, use an app like TripIt to get your confirmation number, flight number, and other info in one easy-to-access place.
Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off at the security line (though don’t wear flip flips —you probably want something that allows you to wear socks).
Put any jewelry, watches, and even belts in your bag. Don’t wear them on travel day if at all possible; they’ll only slow you down.
Put your phone, iPod, and other gadgets in your bag rather than your pockets. After you go through security, you can throw them in your pockets when you have a moment to sit down. I even put my wallet in my bag and keep my ID in my pocket for quick access.
Put your coat or other zip-up accessories in your bag. If you’re cold, opt for a non-zip sweater or sweatshirt, which they won’t make you take off at security.
If you don’t have a TSA-approved carry-on, pick up a laptop sleeve with a detachable strap (like this one that I’m currently using). That way, you can carry it with you through the airport, throw it on the conveyor belt, and put it in your backpack when you have a moment to yourself.
Lastly, when you arrive at the airport, check to see if there are any other security lines. Often (especially on busier days), they’ll open up a few security lines at the ends of the lobby, where you might be less likely to see them—and the lines are often much shorter.
Of course, there are a lot of other things you can do far ahead of time (fly on less traveled days like Sunday, for example), but no matter what your plans are, these should help you get through the airport as efficiently as possible. You can grab the above checklist in a printable PDF format here. Got any of your own tips for speeding through travel days? Share them with us in the comments.
You can contact Whitson Gordon, the author of this post, at email@example.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page. http://pulse.me/s/3pPrI