You have a flight tomorrow: maybe you’re embarking on a glamorous vacation, going on a trip for work, or just flying back home to see your family. Wherever you’re going, it’s important to come prepared.
While you’ve already crossed a few basic necessities off the list — like purchasing an airline ticket, booking a hotel room, and renting a car — there are countless details that could still fall through the cracks without proper preparation. To help you stay stress-free, consult our handy pre-flight checklist before you head for the airport.
24 Hours Before Flying
Make an airport travel plan that accounts for traffic and weather, as well as the quickest way to get there. Think the trip will take you 50 minutes? Add a 30-minute buffer for unforeseen traffic jams or extra-long security lines. If you invest in a travel program such as TSA Pre-Check, CLEAR, or the US Customs and Border Patrol’s Trusted Traveler Program, it’s likely that your check-in process will be significantly smoother.
12 Hours Before Flying
Place your passport, ID, or visa in your designated travel bag. If you have any medications to take, put them in your bag as well. Ideally, your carry-on should have all the necessities you would need to make it through the next day or two, in case your checked luggage is lost.
Speaking of bags, not every airline’s baggage size restrictions are the same. Make sure to look up these details ahead of time to avoid having to check your carry-on unexpectedly. Also, remember that checked bags weighing over 50 pounds will be subject to an extra charge on most airlines.
Check your electronic devices to see that they’re properly charged, and don’t forget to bring any portable chargers in case you run out of juice with no outlet in sight. Finally, if you need to be online during your flight, check and see what WiFi options your airline offers. JetBlue offers free WiFi, while other airlines like Delta and American offer Gogo In-Flight WiFi, which can be pricey for mid-flight purchase. To avoid these fees, you can go to their website and choose from one of their pre-flight connection options.
Right Before You Head to the Airport
Keep cash in your wallet in case you need to tip a worker or make a purchase somewhere that doesn’t accept cards. But cash isn’t always king: some in-flight concession services only accept cards, so bring both.
When it comes to your wardrobe, dress for the occasion: when flying, you want to prioritize comfort and practicality. Temperatures can fluctuate during travel, so keep a sweater on hand. To speed up the security check, wear shoes that are sturdy but slip on and off with little effort.
If you’re facing a long layover, get acquainted with your temporary airport home through a free app like GateGuru, which features directions to terminals at airports worldwide alongside convenient lists of amenities and restaurants. For a more luxurious connection, consider buying a day pass to an airport lounge or investing in an independent lounge like Priority Pass ($99/year), available at airports around the world.
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