Airport: Nailed It!
Following our popular 18 Backpacker Hacks that Everyone Should Know, we decided to focus on one of the most frustrating places for most travellers: the airport!
Hopefully, you are well prepared for a long haul flight, but you can do better! This list of tips and hacks bellow will make your airport experience a whole lot easier. From shorter queuing times to never losing your luggage, you’ll find that plenty of the hacks below are super effective, as they are relatively unknown. So use our frequent traveller experience to your advantage. Start your trip to New Zealand by nailing the airport!
1. Download or Print Your Boarding Pass and Airport Map
We are all addicted to technology, after all, it makes our life much easier and even made this awesome guide you’re reading possible. But just in case there is no free WiFi in your airport or super slow because every single person in this airport is connected to it, it’s a good idea to download your online boarding pass and the airport map on your phone. Or even print them.
2. Don’t Listen to Your Music
When asking to stewardess what the number one reason is for people missing their flight, it is a unanimous “headphones!”. Seriously, listening to music in the airport is not a smart move, you may miss an important announcement like a gate change or even a boarding call! Just use your headphone as a mild noise canceller, not a nightclub.
3. Customise Your Suitcase or Backpack
It is crazy to see how almost every piece of luggage looks the same. After a long flight everyone is tired and is still in their own smog. You might know what your bag looks like but others might not be as switched on as you and take your bag by mistake. That’s a whole lot of trouble ahead. So make your backpack or suitcase stand out by personalising it! By the way, if you are still unsure which one to choose, read our article: Backpack VS Suitcase.
4. Carry a Multi-plug
Airport power plugs are sparse and very spread out. Carrying a double plug or every a multi-plug will help you charge all your devices at once. You could even make friends as other travellers will find your idea smart and helpful. Aren’t you nice?! Oh, and don’t forget your travel adapter.
5. Bring an Empty Water Bottle Through Security
We all know that airports like to charge travellers a lot for very common things. Start watching your travel budget early by spending little to nothing in the airports. For example, pass an empty water bottle through security (as you’re commonly not allowed to pass larger quantities of liquids through security) and then fill it up in the bathroom. That’s already $5 saved!
6. Pack Your Liquids and Electronic Devices in the Top of Your Carry on Bag
We all know the rules when passing airport security: “Take all your electronic devices, metal devices and liquids out of your bag and place it in the tray”. Be smart when packing your bag and leave them where they are easy to access. While we are at it, only pack small travel-size liquids in your carry-on bag.
7. Start Emptying Your Pockets When in the Line
The security queue is always the longest, as nobody seems to be prepared for it despite the fact that the process is always the same. Be smart and cool, don’t wait last minute to empty your pockets and get your liquids out. Do that while waiting so you’ll save your’s and everybody’s time.
8. Pick the Left Line
Since most people are right-handed, they tend to pick the right line to start queuing. Picking the furthest left line gives you the most chance to pass through quickly. And hell, you’ll want to try anything to make it go faster.
9. Check-in Online
To save a lot of time most airlines now offer online check-in. Use it! Nobody wants to be stuck waiting to check-in behind ten groups with a stupid amount of bags and kids running around. Use the power of technology to your advantage! On the downside, some airlines do not issue a refund if you have checked-in online and miss your flight, so it’s always a good idea to look into your airline’s terms and conditions.
10. Queue Near the Business Class Check-in
Business travellers are treated the best in all services. But there are only a few of them in each plane so the “business” check-in counter is never really busy. As an act of kindness, the hostess will sometimes see to peasants like us to help with the workload of the main check-in counters. With a bit of luck, you’ll be helped faster that way.
11. Boarding Takes Ages; No Need to Rush
When there is a boarding call, the reaction is a bit like that in a bar when the All Blacks score: everybody jumps up at the same time and goes crazy. Boarding only takes 10-20 minutes. So let the crowd go first and board in a civilised way after everybody else. You’ll all end up in the same place anyway.
12. Be the Last One on Board
Being the last one on the plane means that you could potentially be able to pick any empty seats. Sometimes, if the stewardesses are in a good mood and you ask nicely, you might be able to grab that empty seat in first class. Being polite and letting others pass first could well pay off.
13. Pack the Most Important Belongings in Your Carry-on
Losing your checked-in luggage is unlikely, but it could happen. Be prepared for that too. Pack your most important items and a change of clothes in your carry-on, so in the worst-case scenario, you still have a backup. See here for more tips on packing your carry-on.
14. Pack a Lot of Snacks
Airport food is expensive and often not that great. Pack yourself some snacks so you save money and eat what you like in transit. Dry snacks are usually the best ones to bring as you can easily pass them through security. If you have some left when arriving in New Zealand, don’t forget to declare them on your form so Biosecurity can check them, or else you might have to eat them (or surrender them) on the spot.
15. Have a Jumper Handy
Airports get cold really cold sometimes. The air conditioning seems to always be on the “freezer” setting. Plus, you’ll probably get really tired and stressed with the whole travel and time-difference combination. That so happens to be a recipe to catch a cold. Don’t be that guy who arrives sick in a country. Keep a warm jumper on hand so you can keep yourself in shape for the biggest adventure of your life!
16. Save Money on Your Flight
Flying with peace of mind also means feeling confident that you got a good deal on your flight. There’s no worse feeling than chatting with another passenger to hear that they paid half your fare for the same flight (true story…) so make sure to check out How to Book A Cheap Flight to New Zealand before booking your flight. While you’re at it, save money on your airport car rental too by checking out 21 Ways To Save Money on Car Rental in New Zealand.
17. Read NZPocketGuide.com
Finally, to be well prepared for Auckland Airport, read our guide to Arriving at Auckland Airport.