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Best airport hacks for comfortable…. travel

Unless you’re lucky enough to be traveling through award-winning airports like Singapore Changi or Doha Hamad, airports aren’t always the most exciting places in the world. But, there are some airport hacks for comfortable travel, you can make this part of your trip far more enjoyable.

From what you should pack in your hand luggage to skipping queues at duty free.

1. Pack a USB-A charging cable

Sometimes we forget to charge our devices before flying or run down the battery to get to the airport. Having a charging cable handy means you can power up your devices on the go. But why USB-A? This is the original USB connector: it’s big and flat, unlike the smaller USB-C. Wherever you are in the world, most airports and planes have USB-A charging sockets. As long as you have that type of connector, you won’t need to worry about finding an adaptor or plug.

2. Bring a portable battery charger

Not every plane or airport will have charging stations handy. And if they do, they might all be occupied. For moments like this, it’s a good idea to bring a fully-charged portable battery charger as a backup. The best part? You don’t need to sit still beside the plug socket. Instead, keep charging your phone while you wander around Duty-Free. Just make sure you charge up the charger before you leave home, so it has plenty of juice for your devices.

3. Entertain your children with audiobooks

Keep boredom at bay with Voxblock, a new screen-free audio player for kids aged 3-12. It works completely offline, with a library of 150 audiobooks (with more on the way), so it’s ideal for the plane. It’s lightweight, so easy for little ones to carry, and simple to use so they won’t need a parent to help out. Plus, the battery lasts for 14 hours of listening, long enough for most flights, and it’s easy to charge when you need to.

Voxblock launched in August 2022 and has already won lots of praise from the likes of The Independent and WIRED.

4. Add a few extras to your hand luggage

Nobody wants to think of the worst-case scenario, but if your checked bag goes missing it’s reassuring to know that you still have some things to get you through the first few days of the holiday. A change of underwear and a spare T-shirt can fold up small, along with some deodorant and a toothbrush so you can easily freshen up.

5. Wear bulky shoes and clothes to avoid baggage charges

Space and weight are at a premium in your checked and cabin bags, so avoid taking up too much space by wearing larger items to the airport. For example hiking boots. They’ll take up a lot of space in your bag, unlike trainers or sandals. Wear them onto the plane. Same goes for hoodies and scarves, which you’ll be glad of as aircraft can often be quite chilly.

6. Bring an empty water bottle

You still can’t bring liquids larger than 100ml through security, but it’s important to stay hydrated when you fly. So, instead of spending money on water when you get through, just bring an empty water bottle. Most airports have refill stations or water fountains you can use to top yourself up for free. Win-win.

7. Pre-order your airside food to save time

Some airports have this feature available, so it’s worth digging around on their website before you fly. Pre-ordering an airport meal means you don’t need to have to wait for ages to be served. This can help to reduce some of the stress that comes with waiting for your flight to be called, and gives you more time to relax pre-flight.

8. Book facilities for any disabilities

If any person in your party has a disability, the journey will be a lot more comfortable if you let the airport know in advance. This can also include wearing lanyards for people with autism. That way, staff can recognize it and adapt their service to ensure a stress-free journey through security.

9. Pre-book lounge access during school holidays

Hanging out in the lounge is probably one of the best airport hacks for comfortable travel. Comfy seats, lots of outlets, and plenty of food and drink: what’s not to love? You don’t need to be a first-class passenger or fly with a luxury airline to enjoy lounges, as companies like Aspire allow anyone to book in. While sometimes you can walk in on the day, it’s best to pre-book during busy times like school holidays, as it can get busy.

10. Use the check-in line closest to the business travel desk

Once the business travelers are all checked in, their staff will often start helping out the team on the desk next to them by checking in economy travelers. So even if the queue looks the same length or slightly longer, there’s a chance it’ll go down quicker.

11. Check for additional drop-off facilities to avoid airport charges

This one is for the kind friend or family member who’s dropping you off. While charges can be extortionate, there are sometimes ways around it. For example, Glasgow Airport has a free drop-off at its long-stay car park with a free shuttle bus to the terminal, saving you £5. Another thing to check for is incentives for electric vehicles. If you pre-register at Glasgow Airport, an EV gets free drop-off.

12. Collect full-size toiletries inside the airport

Picking up your toiletries after security saves you space and weight in your checked bag. Even better, you can save time by using Boots’ click & collect service. This is available from selected airports in the UK, including stores after security, which should mean you don’t pay airport prices. It also ensures that you can plan ahead, avoiding a stressful dash around the shop looking for your go-to shampoo.

This is also handy for heavy non-liquid items, like baby formula, as it doesn’t count towards your luggage allowance.

13. Don’t rely on there always being Wi-Fi

We’re so used to always being online, it’s easy to forget that not everywhere has good Wi-Fi or data coverage. Download your boarding pass before departure so that you don’t end up trying to download it in a panic, looking for a signal. You can download entertainment, too: most streaming services allow you to save shows, films, podcasts or music to your device. Perfect for watching offline and in the air.

14. Find the best place for a snooze

If you have a long layover, or your flight is delayed, websites like Sleeping in Airports can help you to find the best spots for some shut-eye. Knowing about this site is one of the best airport hacks for comfortable travel. It also has lots of tips on things to see and do in and around the airport, with advice on how to go sightseeing when you’re on a tight schedule.

15. Set your watch to the timezone you’re traveling to

Jetlag is never fun. But you can take the edge off a long layover by trying to adjust to the timezone of your destination while you wait. As well as changing the time on your phone and watch, try to do other things to adapt: seek or avoid sunlight, adjust your eating habits, and switch up your sleeping times.

16. Skip the queue with smoother border control

Some countries have programs to make getting through border control a breeze. Some examples are Global Entry (US) and DigiYatra (India). These usually involve pre-approval and clearance to enter, so you can spend less time at the desk. There are usually faster queues for passengers signed up for these programs, too.


Until da next tyme

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