By Amy Farley and Yolanda Wikiel, Editors at Travel + Leisure
Get fast-tracked. If you haven’t already, sign up for TSA PreCheck ($85 for five years), which will expedite you through security in more than 130 domestic airports. Better yet, become a member of U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Global Entry program ($100 for five years); you’ll get PreCheck and be able to zip through U.S. customs.
Stay up-to-the-minute. You shouldn’t depend on your airline to let you know when there’s a delay. Sign up for text and e-mail alerts with an online flight-tracking service like FlightStats (free; Android, iOS). Or manage your itinerary with TripIt Pro ($49 a year; Android, iOS), which comes with built-in alerts.
Check that your carry-on is really a carry-on. Some domestic carriers have started enforcing a 22″ x 14″ x 9″ size limit, which not all bags advertised as carry-ons meet. So if you want to avoid having to gate-check (and pay for) your bag, know your airline’s size restrictions before you leave home.
Size up your toiletries. Carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols have to be 3.4 fluid ounces or less and fit in a clear, quart-size bag. Head to 3floz.com to find mini TSA-approved versions of more than 60 brands.
Dress smart. To move through airports with ease and emerge from a flight unrumpled, stick to wrinkle-free fabrics, such as tight knits and wool.
At the airport
Know your way around. GateGuru (free; Android, iOS) will help you navigate terminals at some 200 airports around the world and point you wherever you need to go. Particularly handy during a layover, the app lists airport amenities and restaurant reviews.
Stay connected. A Boingo account (from $4.98 a month) will keep you online at more than 50 airports across the globe. And if you set up a profile with the hot spot provider’s new Passpoint Secure service, you’ll get even faster connections at a growing number of airports. (Tip: American Express Platinum card holders are eligible for free accounts.)
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