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What To Do At The Airport

Navigating through the airport

The most stressful part of the entire trip for many people is while they are at the airport, or on the way to the airport wondering if they will be late, where to go in the airport, are they going to have any trouble with their luggage, how early should I be there.

I will address everything here, however before I get started I invite you join the My Italian Travels Information page where I will send you travel information and updates such as special Hotel and Flight deals not just for Italy but for the entire world. As an added bonus you will also gain access to my video series which isn’t available on the website. Just click Sign Up above.

First I will start with how early should I be at the airport. I will try to give a guideline on how to figure this out because every airport is different however a good rule of thumb is between an hour and a half to two hours before the flight is scheduled to leave and this is all subject to how big the airport is.

My old hometown airport I could show up as little as 45 minutes before the plane was to leave because the airport was small and not many flights left all day compared to my new hometown airport where there could be over 20 flights leaving every hour.

So here is my advice. Because most people already know there way around their hometown airport, you will probably only be interested in learning about the airport you will be landing in and leaving from on your trip. First find the web site for the airports you want to know about and see what the normal flight schedule is for the day of the week and time you plan to leave.

Most flight schedules don't change much over time and generally use the same flight numbers all the time so this always works. Now find your flight number and time in the postings. When looking at the schedule if you see there are 10 flights leaving from the same airline you are using within 30 to 40 minutes of when your flight leaves, you know there will be a lot of people there at the same time you are trying to check in and going through the metal detectors.

Also look at the overall volume of the flights because the airline you are flying might not be very busy, but others may be and you could still get stuck in a long line going through the metal detectors rather than when checking in. You can go real overboard with this if you want by looking at all the departing flights destinations and the planes that are being used to get an even better idea of how many people might be there because of the planes size and how many people they can carry, not many people go this far but it is good information to know.  

Here are a few things you can do to speed up the process of what to do once you get to the airport. First you probably won’t be able to print the boarding pass for your return flight while away like you can when flying from your home airport but you at least want to know what terminal you will be leaving from when coming home. Unless you take a computer with you or you go to an internet cafe you will need to do this at home.

Go to the website of your airline, go to the flight status and type in your flight number and put in the next day not the day you are flying and the airline will give you the terminal number.  Now that you know the terminal number things start out easier once you get to the airport especially if the airport has separate entrances for each terminal. I should also see if you can get a map of the airport showing where each terminal is so you will know where to go even before you get there.

Once In The Airport

After you are inside the airport look for the check in area for your airline, make sure you have the following items, your passport, if your're not flying out of the country you won’t need your passport, your flight information most often this will all be on a confirmation e-mail and should have your name date of the flight and flight numbers. To make things a little faster try and have return address labels on your luggage before you get to the airport.

Most often after you have checked in the airline employees will point you in the direction of your terminal and the normal security checkpoints where you will need to show your passport and boarding pass, then you will need to show your boarding pass again before going through the metal detector.

If you haven't read the packing section you should at least know you can't have any liquid containers of any kind over 4 ounces, any small scissors or metal finger nail files in your carryon. Everything that is liquid should be in a clear plastic bag because the TSA wants it on top of your carryon when it goes through the scanners.  

After you are through this process you will normally have a little walk to a central area where there will be an electronic board showing flight information for the airport, listing flight destination by city, flight number and departure time as well as terminal and gate number. These boards are placed in many locations throughout the airport in all airports for passenger convenience. After you have found your flight information on the board just follow the signs in the airport directing you to your terminal and gate number.

After You Land

Once you land in your vacation destination there are a few things you will need to do after you get your luggage, the first of which is go through customs, this is a simple process where you just turn in a form you filled out on the plane and tell the person in customs how long you will be there and why you are there. If you weren’t able to get any Euros from your local bank you would need to find a money exchange station to exchange some of your money for Euros.

I know some people say they have gotten Euros from ATM’s in the airport but I have never been able to find any and a few people I know that have found them said they were empty when they did find them. Next I would suggest finding the information desk before exiting the airport to get ground transportation information to find where the taxi and bus areas are.

If you wanted to get real creative and wanted to know exactly what you are looking at outside the airport you could type the name of the airport into google maps and zoom in as close as you can then put the little figure of the man on the map and you can get a ground level view of the entire exterior of the airport, this is something that wasn’t available until the last year and can gives a great prospective. Once you leave the airport the vacation begins  YEAH!

Hope this helps make everything go smoothly in the airports while on vacation and as I like to say the more information about your travels the better. Don’t forget to check over the rest of my site for lots more information about planning your vacation, including finding and booking your flights, your hotel, tours and even a cruise. Also don’t forget you can book everything through this site as well.


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