A lot of people stress about travel but traveling doesn’t have to be hard! In an effort to make traveling less stressful, every Tuesday I share a tip to make your life much easier when you are on the road. This week I answer a reader question, “How early should I get to the airport?”
First and foremost, I recommend doing a little bit of research before you get to your airport. The more information you know going into your day the less stress you will have. You want to find out where you are parking, what time TSA opens and whether they have CLEAR or not.
To find out when TSA opens and how long you can expect to wait, check out the TSA app over at https://www.tsa.gov/mobile
Cutting in line
One thing that can save you a lot of time at the airport is by enrolling in TSA Precheck. TSA precheck is a pre-screening program that allows you to keep your belt and shoes on as well as go through a less evasive TSA check when you are going through security. Simply go to the TSA website, find a time to meet with TSA, meet with them, submit to a background search and you are good to go! To get more information about TSA pre-check, check out the TSA website over at https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
If you find yourself traveling quite a bit, you may want to look into CLEAR. Clear is a paid service that gets you in the front of the TSA precheck line. I love CLEAR and I use it quite a bit. Basically, it takes TSA precheck further by using biometrics like your fingerprints.
To see if CLEAR is available at your airport, check out their website – https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are
Also, if you are a Delta Gold Medalion member or use the Amex Platinum Card then you can get a discounted rate of $109 a month!
How Much Time To Budget
Now that you have done your research, enrolled in TSA Precheck and have a good idea of the wait times at the airport, it is time to head off. I am what some would call an over budgeter when it comes to planning the day of travel. I always plan to be at the airport 2 hours ahead of takeoff (which is about 90 minutes before boarding starts). I like to get to the airport, not feel rushed, have a nice meal or snack at the lounge before my flight.
The most stressful times at the airport involved me getting there late and having to be rushed. To me, it isn’t worth it.