Ahhh..airports, what can I say - while there are some truly amazing international airports around these days, when it comes to most domestic terminals well lets just say some leave a lot to be desired.
For domestic travelers one of the biggest barriers to taking a holiday in their home country can in fact be the airport itself. The thought of a trip to the airport for some can quite possibly represent their worst nightmare.
Most find the experience expensive, crowded, and an all round stressful time, so lets take a look at a number of ways in which we can at least - improve the experience.
1. Avoid Peak Travel Times
Airports are generally at their quietest and most pleasant between about 11am and 4pm on weekdays, so if you can book your flights to depart between these periods often times you can avoid the bulk of the crowds and you may in all probability score cheaper airfares too.
2. Pre-book Car Parking
If you are driving and leaving your car at the airport, it's worth keeping an eye out for parking offers by checking the airport and agency websites and purchasing your parking before arriving at the airport. Often within a week short of your departure, deals start to appear offering reduced rates for short-term parking or for valet parking services.
3. Smooth Check In
Most airlines allow travelers to print out their boarding pass at home or have their travel details available on their mobile phone, with many savvy travelers now checking in on-line up to 28 days prior to their flight's departure date.
Those traveling with luggage may be required to physically line up or use a convenient 'bag drop' area in which to leave their luggage. In this instance, it does mean you will in all likelihood have to stand in line, so arrive early and take a deep breath. The only way to avoid the lines is to consider traveling with carry on luggage only.
4. Consider An Airport Lounge Pass
If you know you will be in for a long wait it is possible to escape the throngs of fellow travelers by buying access to an executive lounge in advance such as Priority Pass or to pay for entry at the door – worth bearing in mind if your flight is subject to a long delay or you feel the blood pressure rising steadily. I purchased an annual Priority Pass a few months ago, and I haven't looked back after using it on my recent trips interstate and to Bali, Indonesia. The pass is pre-paid for an annual membership and offers significant savings than paying at the door for a casual entry to the lounge.
5. Disembark First
If possible secure a seat as close to the front of the aircraft as you can afford. Some airlines will charge an extra fee to reserve a preferred seat, however the first to disembark are first in the queue at security clearance and/or immigration. This is especially true for those with carry on luggage only and it can save a lot of time during peak periods.