Handful of Hacks: Airports

We have a lot of opportunities to travel as college students, especially for free. Towards the end of college, there are an abundance of opportunities to travel for professional reasons. Whether you’re traveling for fun, business, or both, an airport is an airport. Assuming you don’t have any special perks, like access to certain lounges with some carrier program, there are some cool tricks to make airports better.

Distinguish your bags, especially if checking! I don’t mean put some super fancy luggage tag on it to let everyone know your favorite designer, that can attract the wrong kind of attention anyways. Distinguish your bag by wrapping some fabric or ribbon around one of its handles, or you can put a sticker somewhere clearly visible. This will help you keep track of your bag and avoid confusion, especially when checked bags come out.

Bring an empty bottle. Don’t buy a bottle that wastes your money and our planet. Bonus points if you find one of the collapsible water bottles that takes up no extra space when empty!

Pack your own snacks. Airports are designed to make you want to spend money. Next time you’re in one, notice how it’s designed to strategically keep in you in zones where buying stuff is super easy, from unnecessary comfort to comfort food. That kind of spending may not be easy nor is it smart for your bank. As long as your snacks aren’t liquid, you should have no TSA problems.

Bring a jacket or sweater. Airplanes. Get. Cold. I have even struggled when I remember to bring a jacket, but my legs freeze in shorts. If you’re in regular economy seating, chances are you don’t get a blanket because they want you to pay for one. 

Wear your overweight baggage. Airports often try to charge around $50 for overweight bags or non-complimentary. If you’re especially pressed for space and weight in your bag, you can put on your heaviest clothes—which tend to be jeans and big jackets, for example—and switch back to normal after security. Look a little crazy, but beat them in the process.