Lots of us find travel stressful, but the main reason behind this in most cases is a lack of preparation. If you’ve got a flight booked and you want to make the experience as seamless as possible, it’s worth making a checklist to follow before you head to the airport.

So what are the must-do tasks and must-have items that need to be on this list? Let’s go over the main points so you aren’t caught out.


Most people drive to the airport and park up for the duration of their trip, but the problem with leaving this to the last minute is that it will be both more expensive and less convenient than if you’ve booked in advance.

The good news is that all major airports offer extensive and varied parking services to suit every budget. For example, with O’Hare long term parking you can take advantage of facilities with comprehensive security, valet drop-off, and even extras like vehicle cleaning and servicing.

Having parking sorted out ahead of time will let you arrive on the day without worrying about this aspect, or having to pay a premium.

Passports & ID

Without your passport, taking an overseas flight will be impossible. Even if you are planning to only fly to a domestic destination, having a valid form of identification to hand is crucial.

Again, there’s a lot to be said for making sure you know where your required ID is ahead of time, and putting it in a safe space so that when the day of the flight arrives, you can grab it before you leave the house.


Like parking, it’s wise to sort out your currency needs prior to traveling, because leaving this until the final moments before your flight will be an expensive error.

While there are currency conversion kiosks in most airports, these tend to give customers unfavorable rates compared with the services that are available to the well prepared. Instead, it is better to buy your currency from a local provider, or order it online, so that you can get a good deal and enjoy a foreign vacation without breaking the bank.

Phone charger

Arguably the most important item in the luggage of any air traveler today is the humble phone charger. You’ll want to keep your handset juiced up throughout your travels and over the course of your trip, and if you forget your charger, then you’ll have little choice but to spring for another one at an overpriced electronics outlet store within the terminal building.

Also consider whether or not you need an adapter for your charger which will allow it to be compatible with foreign plug sockets and the different voltages that are used in other countries. 

Again, you could buy one at the airport, but you’ll pay through the nose for your lack of preparedness in this case as well.

Tickets & boarding passes

Modern air travel is much more convenient with regards to ticketing and boarding passes, because all big airlines now allow passengers to check in online and use their smartphone as a digital ticket.

This makes having a fully charged handset all the more important, but you’ll also need to remember to actually go through the check in process ahead of time, usually within 24 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

You’ll have a much smoother experience of passing through the airport if you have arranged this in good time, although in-person check in may still be required in some cases, especially if you want to check hold baggage.

Empty drinks bottle

Staying hydrated while traveling is a good idea, as it’ll help alleviate the tiredness that comes with a long journey, and make you feel refreshed when you finally reach your destination.

Many restrictions are placed on the items you can take with you onto planes for security purposes, but the good news is that this doesn’t mean you can’t take your own water bottle onto the plane; you just need to make sure it’s empty when you go through security to avoid fluid restrictions.

Once through security, you can fill this up at a public drinking fountain and continue on your way with a drink that didn’t cost you a dime!