Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Time Flyers | A Guide To Airports

Flying on a plane for the first time was one of the coolest experiences ever. I was about 10 years old and on my way for a vacation in New York. I gazed out the window and imagined myself stretched out like superman, flying alongside the plane and weaving through the ice cream clouds. As I got older, the less exciting airplanes and airports became; but I still get excited to see that once in a lifetime view. Plus, my butterflies come back every time a plane takes off and lands. The good part about airports is that they all function pretty much the same. Workers are there to help guide and direct you whenever you need help, so don't be afraid to ask!


Let's find some airline tickets! 
There are a lot of different ticket websites that you can use, like Expedia, Kayak, Priceline or Travelocity, to search for different flights and prices. There's also a lot of different apps or sites that keep you updated on cheap flights that you can book through those. Always make sure that you print/save the confirmation number/email. It's always wise to skim through the criteria of baggage and rules for that particular airline.

If you're flying within your own country, you'll need a driver's license or an identification card. If you're flying international, you will need a passport. United States passports can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to be approved and shipped to you. They are also good for 10 years, but make sure that you're passport is valid for at least 6 months until the day of your departure.


Airports can be VERY overwhelming for people that have never flown before. It can also be scary to be in an airport you've never been to, especially an international one!  It's always best to arrive to the airport at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours early before your flight! This will ensure that you'll have enough time to get through security and have everything settled.

There are 3 basic steps to getting thought an airport...
1) Check In + Baggage   2) Security   3) Find Your Gate
  • Check In + Baggage >>> As soon as you walk in, there will be infinite rows of airline check in desks. Airline companies are trying to make checking in a lot quicker and more convenient. Some airlines have apps that you can use to check in with, if not you can always go up to the front desk representative. Most airlines let you have a carry on for free, but if you have more than one bag, you'll need to check one in. You can have a carry on suitcase no bigger than 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches including the wheels. You can also just have a backpack or purse with you as well as an item you can hold, like a lap top. Make sure your checked in luggage is within the airline's weight limit, which is normally 40-50 lbs, but always double check the criteria online. Make sure that your baggage as your name and phone number on it! I've never had an airline lose my luggage before (knock on wood) but it's wise to always make sure that you have a name tag on it with your contact information.
  • Security >>> A security line is usually near the check-in desks. It doesn't matter which security line you go through, you just have to go through one to get to your gate! To make things go a little smoother, make sure to wear loose comfortable clothing and shoes that slip off quickly. Remove all jewelry and put it away. Leave your ticket and ID close at hand or in an easy access pocket. Try and move quickly and be respectful to others. They have small bins that you can put your shoes and belongings in. Be sure to put your lap top in a separate bin. Remember, no liquids above 3.4 ounces and put all liquids in a zip lock quart size bag. 
  • Find Your Gate >>> The hard part is over! Now all you have to do is find your gate! Search above for signs that direct you to where you need to go. Most often, Gates are labeled with numbers and letters and are almost always in chronological order. Make sure to stay nearby when the plane is ready to board. 
CLICK HERE for some in-flight essentials!


If you have luggage that you checked in, then you'll want to head over to the designated baggage claim location connected to your flight. The flight attendants normally announce which baggage claim your things will be at a few minutes before landing; but you can also ask a flight attendant before you get off the plane. The best thing to do is to read the signs and see where to go, but you can also just follow the herd of people getting off the plane with you. They are more than likely headed to baggage claim as well! A tip to make your bag easier to find is to add a colored scarf to it!

That's it!
Airports aren't that bad right?!
What's something you've learned about airports?
Leave a comment below!
Follow along with my travel adventures on Instagram @iamnicolecara

Thanks for Reading,
Love Nick

I love to travel and explore! I'm obsessed with documenting my adventures as well as helping others feel prepared! Check out all my packing lists, tips and advice!

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