Airport Survival Guide // 5 Steps to Take

Let's just put it out there right now that I'm no travel expert.  But, I've traveled.  Therefore, I have experience. And therefore, I know things like not to take your filled water bottle through international airport security because that leads to them not liking you very much.  Hey, live and learn, I guess. And you're getting some free advice out of it, so it paid off?

Anyway, having a bad experience at the airport can ruin the start of your adventure quicker than almost anything else can.  You know, like missing your flight. Just a tad frustrating. Just a tad.

Airports don't need to be any harder than they already are. If you've flown at least twice, there's probably a pretty good chance that you've run into a squishy situation or two.  The people who fly a lot and have traveler's cards bubbling over with miles and miles have probably gotten the process down to a science. (Example: they empty their water bottles before heading to security.) That's not me. But I have learned a thing or two about airports on the way.

1. Be prepared with your age. 
I don't know whether adults are asked this or not, but every time I have flown, a (usually) cranky TSA worker asks my age to make sure that my parents aren't actually kidnappers that stole me and are flying me to another country. Here's what not to do when asked that question: "Ummmm . . . . . (insert three second pause) eleven!" Unless you want an extra suspicious glance shot your way, know how old you are. (That one was courtesy of my sister, by the way.)

2. Bring rations. 
After a long flight from Munich, Germany to Chicago, I was hungry. It wasn't just a normal "oh, I guess I could eat now," it was on the border of hangry. I was more than ready to be home in my own house eating my own food that I didn't have to pay for in euros.  However, our flight from Chicago to Detroit (home!) was delayed by about two hours. That's when I knew that the hanger couldn't wait. I found a kiosk with some fresh looking food and proceeded to buy some yogurt, a little cup of fruit, and some juice. And then I paid nearly $20 for it. Ouch. A granola bar or two could have saved me a little lot of moola and the people I was with wouldn't have had to deal with my hanger.  So, food is a yes. Just believe me on this one.

*And no, I do not consider a few peanuts and a couple pretzels as rations.
Don't believe the "happy" part. One small handful of crackers is considered a pre-snack in my mind.

3. Apple Juice
 . . . you know, like an iPhone charger? Clever, right? I think I saw that on Pinterest (. . . basically the source of 93% of my ideas.) But you know as much as I do that this is a necessity. Long hours in an airport can drain your battery just as fast as it can drain your mood.  However, when you go to plug that Apple into the juice, what happens when everyone else seems to be having an energy crisis at the same time? You end up wandering around to other terminals and eventually taking the walk of shame back to your own still holding your dead phone.  That's when you wish you had bought one of those portable chargers that looked so handy. (Hint: they are handy.) So while other people are wandering around in search of an open outlet, you can be the envy of the terminal with your own little personal electricity source.
* I use the Halo charger and it works great! I recommend it! 

4. Don't Give Any Extra Volume to Your Hair
This little tip is courtesy of my mom (hi mom!). You know the drill for getting past TSA.  Stand in line, bring as little attention to yourself as possible, take off every little piece of metal on you, turn off your phone, try to hold your carryon, boarding ticket, little metal pieces that you took off, purse, and what feels like 37 other things all while attempting to appear as least suspicious as possible. My mom passed all of that criteria with flying colors. Well, except for the last one.  Apparently, her fluffy hair seemed a little too fluffy for these TSA agents and she was pulled aside to have her hair patted down. Her hair, you guys. Have you ever heard of someone getting their hair patted down? If this is a common occurrence, please tell me so I can stop acting like it's one of the craziest things in the world. Thanks. 

4.2 Extra, Extra! // Don't have the same name as someone on the FBI's Most Wanted List
This piece of advice also comes from my mom's experiences.  If you don't want to be subjected to intense questioning, change your name.  That process might just be easier than having to deal with TSA agents that think you're a terrorist.

5. Don't Choose the Wrong Car Rental Company
I haven't had many experiences with car rental companies (considering that I'm not even old enough to rent one!) but I can say that every single time that I've stepped foot in one of those places, I've gotten a headache that has lasted for the entire three hours I'm stuck there (when we had been promised an "in and out visit" . . . lies.).  After a long flight, all I want to do is leave the vicinity of the airport as soon as possible, not wait around for a car. I can remember one time that my sister and I watched Monsters, Inc. one and a half times in the waiting room of the rental car company while they shuffled cars around trying to find the one that we had requested.  And let's not even talk about that one car we got with the USO (unidentified slimy object) on the seat. No, let's just not even go there.

Rental car companies just seem to be a pain in general due to the long lines, confusion, and nastiness found stuck on the seat cushions.  I really think that RelayRides has found the solution to those problems though! At airports all across the U.S. you can rent someone else's personal car. Instead of having to deal with massive crowds, overworked service people, and having the car you request mysteriously disappear, you only meet with one person - the owner of the car! They can rent their own personal car out to you (and you can bet there most likely won't be any USOs found in there!) for daily, weekly, or monthly rates. Now that sounds a whole lot better!

*I have never had any personal experience with RelayRides, but you can bet that when I turn 25 and can finally drive a rental car, I'll be checking it out! RelayRides contacted me and asked if I would get the word out about their great service. I'm receiving no compensation for this post, but I do honestly think that RelayRides is worth a look!

How do you survive the airports? Any funny airport mishap stories? Do tell!



  1. As horrible as all of those scenarios sound, they're also hilarious. I couldn't imagine TSA agents thinking I was kidnapped or having one pat down my hair. I think I'd burst out laughing and make them hate me more. And the points about brining a charged phone and food are so true. Flights without phones/food are the worst.

    P.S. I mentioned (and thanked you) in my latest post (http://katiesgreatperhaps.blogspot.com/2014/12/why-i-didnt-make-my-blog-anonymous.html)

    Katie :)

  2. I think some of the weirdest things that I've experienced have happened at the airport. Such a great place, haha #sarcasm. You're so sweet! I'm heading over to check out your post right now!


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