When checking in to an airport it is common to arrive early to allow for checking in of bags and getting through security. For a domestic flight you should arrive no later than an hour before your flight is due to depart. For international flights you should arrive no later than 2 hours early. There are circumstances where you should allow extra time:
- Travelling during peak times (Bank holiday or school holiday).
- Checking in a lot of baggage.
- Departing from a large or particularly busy airport (E.G. Gatwick, Heathrow).
When planning to go on holiday transport to and from the airport can often be left until the last minute and so therefore can incur a larger cost. By booking a travel or the airport car-park well in advance you can bring the costs down by a large amount. I would recommend comparing the price of parking to other services such as taxi or train. If a taxi seems to be the cheapest option it would benefit you to look at different taxi firms and Uber (where applicable) as Uber usually is the cheapest.
To save some time at the airport you can check in online and avoid the queue when at the airport. Check in usually opens up about 24 hours in advance to two hours before departures. It is good practice to check in as soon as possible as this will mean you will get boarding priority. However, with flights that do not have seating assignment it may still be helpful. If you are unable to check in online you have more time to try and correct the issue. Whilst checking in online be sure to check departure times as these can be adjusted by the airline and it is easy to miss. If you feel that checking in online is not for you because you don’t have access to a printer, most airlines except electronic copies which can be saved to your mobile device.
Whilst you are waiting for your flight to start boarding you may start to go around the shops. Alternatively, you could go to an airport lounge. Many airports have private lounges where you can relax and enjoy complimentary snacks. To be able to visit these lounges you will need to sign up as a frequent flyer. The process takes 10 minutes and you are able to gather spendable point whether you take 1 flight a year or more. Being a part of this club means you are more likely to be given access to lounges and other benefits. Most airlines will let you sign up for free but some will ask for a sign-up fee. In some airports one day passes are available to purchase so you have access to their lounge, these passes are available on request and cost anywhere from £20 to £70. Another way to get into exclusive lounges is to get the Lounge buddy app. With this App you are able to buy day passes for lounges all over the world, the cost is roughly $72 per time. Some premium credit cards offer lounge passes as part of using their cards. These benefits vary from card to card so comparing benefits will help you to get the best deal.
When travelling to and from countries it is easy to forget to check your passport expiry date. Some countries require you to have a few months left before the passport expires. Countries that require UK passport holders to have six months of validity left on their passport from the date of entry into the country include Brazil, Ecuador, Turkey, Tunisia and Israel. Passports for British citizens are valid for travel to any EU country up to and including the passport expiry date.
If you are travelling to the USA from the UK you will be required to complete the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). The ESTA has simplified travel to the United States for millions of visitors by only requiring a machine readable passport. The entire ESTA application process is conducted online and operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is recommended to apply for ESTA at least 3 days prior to departure and any approved ESTA Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry in to the United States.