Ten Tips for Summer Travel Success
By Herschel J. Grangent, Jr.
Summer travel season is upon us. This is a time to relax after a long year of school, work, and sometimes a combination of both.
Whether you venture to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for a trip alone or with loved ones, making the right travel choices can be the difference between an enjoyable journey and a forgettable one. The following tips are designed to produce positive results and get you on your way to fond vacation memories.
1. Never wait until the last minute. Book your trip as
early as possible through a travel agent or travel site to get the best
deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars to your desired destination. Popular
flights sell out quickly during the summer months. The longer you wait,
the more expensive your trip will be.
2. Travel during “off-peak” times. Major airports like Hartsfield-Jackson are normally more crowded during early morning and late afternoon. Try to travel during mid-morning through early afternoon or in the evening hours, Monday through Thursday.
3. Pack with security in mind. Security is heightened at every airport in the world, and you should pack accordingly. All of your luggage will be screened, possibly by hand. Prescription drugs, jewelry or anything of value should be in your carry-on baggage.
When packing toiletries, remember the 3-1-1 rule: three (3) ounce containers
in clear one (1) quart zip-top bags, one (1) bag per passenger that must be placed in the security bin for screening. Prohibited items such as weapons or explosives should not be brought to the airport. A visit to the Transportation Security Administration's Web site will provide you with a complete list of prohibited items.
4. ID your luggage, but don’t lock it. Identification tags should be both inside and outside of your bags. All baggage should be unlocked. If security personnel need to look inside your luggage, they may have to destroy the lock to do so. There are locks on the market that can be opened only by the TSA. For more information on approved locks, visit the TSA Web site.
5. Check in early. Many airlines will allow you to check in for flights online prior to arrival at the airport. You can even print boarding passes and your receipt from your home or office.
6. Arrive at the Airport early to avoid lines. The rule at Hartsfield-Jackson is 60, 90, and 120. Arrive 60 minutes prior to your flight time if you are not checking any luggage, 90 minutes if you have luggage to check. If you are taking an international flight, allow two hours (120 minutes). Curbside check-in is available at most airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson. If you require a wheelchair or other special assistance, check with a skycap at curbside or with a ticket agent.
7. Dress for security success. Avoid wearing clothes, shoes, jewelry or other accessories that are made of metal. These items will set off the screening machines. Place any outer garments (coats, raincoats, etc.) in a screening bin. Don’t take wrapped presents to the airport. Mail them in advance or wrap them when you get to your destination.
8. Don’t travel without a photo identification (ID). If you are 18 years old or older, you will need a photo ID. Your ID must be in your hand at the security checkpoint and during the boarding process. Make sure the name on your boarding pass matches the name on your ID.
9. Stay close to your departure gate. Hartsfield-Jackson has a plethora of retail shops and restaurants available throughout its concourses. However, one should maybe put off buying that last minute souvenir if his flight is boarding. Board when your group number or row (printed on your boarding pass) is called.
10. Relax and enjoy your flight! You’ve worked hard all year, and you have more than earned this vacation, so relax. If you packed wisely, arrived at the airport early, prepared yourself for a smooth security screening, and boarded on time, you have virtually eliminated the stress that can come from travel procrastination. Congratulations, and have a nice trip.
© 2007 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.