Rudy Maxa’s Top Airport Travel Tips

Rudy Maxa, PBS's "Savvy Traveler" and host of the series Rudy Maxa's World shared his top tips on how to make your next trip to the airport a speedy one.

  1. “Plan travel like you would the Normandy invasion,” says Maxa. Think through every step of the journey.
  2. Choose your seats when buying your tickets.
    “I’m still astounded by the people who don’t choose their seats [when online],” Maxa says. “Planes are taking off 86% full these days. If you didn’t mark your seats together beforehand don’t expect that an hour before the flight you’re going to be able to choose where you’ll sit.”
  3. Check in online and print out your boarding pass ahead of time.
  4. Take public transportation to the airport.
    “I drove to the airport to meet a friend for lunch. There was no place to park. Now imagine if I was headed to a flight,” Maxa says. “Always take public transportation. You’ll save all the time and trouble looking for a parking place.”
  5. Check your bag at the curb if you can or better yet, don’t take your bags.
    On my trip to Thailand in January, on the flight I was talking to a retired army officer and his wife. [When disembarking] I said, ‘Okay we’ll meet you at the baggage carousel.’ And they said ‘This is our luggage.’ He and his wife had only one small carryon bag.”
  6. If you do have more than one bag, consider sending them ahead or shipping things home.
    “I recently shipped a carryon size bag home via FedEx for $15. If American’s charging $25 for a second bag, it could be worth it to ship items” says Maxa. Along with sending things home, you can have your items shipped ahead of time and have them arrive at your destination (hotel, friend’s home, college) when you arrive.
  7. Instead of paying for food you hate [airplane food!], pack food you love.
    “If it’s a long flight, I’m really big on putting together a special meal for yourself,” Maxa says. “Pack a grapefruit, gourmet sandwich, a few of those wrapped chocolates. For probably about $8 you could put together a great meal instead of getting a $5 airplane snack box. And you’ll make everyone sitting next to you really envious!”

    “Basically what I’m saying is get all the steps done that cost you time ahead of time. Eliminate all the steps that’ll slow you down. All that stuff can be avoid,” says Maxa.

    Want more top tips from Rudy? Read our Summer Low-Cost Travel Tips, which features tips from Rudy and other top frequent fliers.

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