The days of calling up a full service travel agency to book your vacation plans are long gone. Today you need to be an advocate for yourself from the get-go: from the moment you sit down to book your flights online all the way through to the travel day logistics.

7 Simple Air Travel Hacks to Improve Your Next Vacation

Your friends here at CheapAir are constantly on the lookout for ways to save you money and time while decreasing travel-related stress. Here are 7 simple tweaks to your routine that can increase satisfaction for your next vacation.

1. Breeze through security by taking a left.

Studies have shown that right-handed people tend to veer towards the right side in security queues. You can shave crucial minutes off your wait time by going a bit against the grain. It’s a small adjustment you can make to increase your airport efficiency.

2. Fly out early.

Early morning flights often avoid turbulence and thunderstorms (which tend to occur later in the day), and also are more likely to depart on time. Start the trip our right and set yourself up for success.

3. Go paperless.

Most domestic airlines now allow you to use your Smart Phone as your boarding pass. In fact, Spirit Airlines charges customers $10 to print a boarding pass at the airport. As the practice becomes commonplace, more airlines will likely follow suit. Save a tree and power through boarding.

4. Allow yourself ample time to pack and arrange electronics in your carry-on in one single layer.

When you get to security, the agents will have a much easier time identifying your items, and you’ll decrease your chances of being sidelined with a manual bag check. Also, if you’re careful to go through your things with your ‘security screening eye,’ you’re much more likely to remember to remove those nail clippers and large bottle of makeup remover that will also get you detained.

5. If you have bad luggage luck (i.e. it gets lost a lot), try the old school ‘red bag’ hack.

Trade in your nondescript, black bag for something a bit snazzier. You might also take note that not all airlines are created equal in the lost luggage game. Virgin America has the best overall record (mishandling less than 1 bag per 1000 customers on average), with JetBlue and AirTran not far behind.

6. Go to Rio and put money in your pocket just by packing a bag.

Do you like to spend your holidays shopping? Does the phrase ‘pack light’ strike fear into your heart? If this sounds like you, consider a vacation to Brazil. Brazil’s government has a longstanding policy that there be no extra charges for luggage. The generous ‘free’ baggage policy essentially states that each passenger can bring two bags weighing up to 70 pounds a piece on any incoming or outbound flight to Brazil without charge. But in this day and age, when passengers are routinely charged for their first bag? Brazil’s policy is a breath of fresh air.

7. If your airline offers a day pass for the lounge you might want to pony up the extra cost (typically around $50) to kick back and relax in style.

Some frugal travelers may pooh pooh this as an unnecessary luxury, but the free snacks, beverages and better service are often well worth the price of admission. If you’re not a relaxed traveler, the lounge removes some of the flying aggravation (no crowds, much less noise). As a bonus, the agents in your airline lounge often have more freedom and time to attend to your particular travel issues when they come up.

Do you have any tried and true hacks you’d like to share with other airline passengers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or tweet to us @CheapAir. We’ll also share some business travel tips in an upcoming blog. Happy travels!

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