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Nov-02-2022 11:04printcomments

5 Packing Tips for a First-Time Air Traveler

These five tips will make your experience a little smoother and a little easier.

air travel
Photo by Jason Toevs, Pexels

(SALEM, Ore.) - If you’ve never traveled by air before, then you may not be familiar with the ins and outs of packing a suitcase and bringing it through security checkpoints.

Air travel can be stressful and time consuming, but when done right it can also be an exciting adventure and new experience to draw on in the future.

Air travel isn’t difficult but it takes a bit of preparation ahead of time to feel secure in your travel plans. The biggest question when packing is, well, what to pack and how.

If you’re going somewhere where the weather is cold, more likely now that we’re entering the fall season, you’ll need to account for at least one heavy coat for your travels which can complicate bag packing.

For first time air travelers, we put together a guide of five tips to make your experience a little smoother and a little easier.

Luggage Storage

First, we’d like to make you aware of a help resource available in most major cities.

Let’s take New York, for example. New York City is huge, and sometimes air travel has us arriving earlier than we need to check in to our hotel or rental space. In this case, it can be useful to take advantage of luggage storage in New York City.

Luggage store in New York will allow you to check your bags somewhere secure after arrival so you can explore the city and rest easy knowing your bags are safe and you don’t have to lug them around a busy metropolis. Luggage storage in New York City is the best solution for layovers between arrival and checking in to your lodgings.

Wear The Right Shoes

When it comes to packing, you have to think about what will be most comfortable and easy to wear on the actual flight itself.

Comfortable shoes are a must, but you will need to take your shoes off to go through security. This is to check for hidden items in shoes, so make sure you wear socks and footwear that is easy to remove at the security checkpoint.

Opt for an easy pair of sneakers rather than heavy boots that may take a while to unlace. Similarly, we don’t recommend wearing something like sandals or heels. Sandals will expose your feet to airport floors, and heels will be downright uncomfortable.

Check Weight Requirements

Most airlines have standard weight requirements for checked and carry-on bags. Usually, this limit is around 50lbs. It may not seem like a lot, but you can pack quite a bit in a 50lb bag.

Double check with your airline what their luggage requirements are and consider weighing your bag ahead of time if you’re unsure. This can save you time, stress and money at the check-in counter when checking your bag.

When bags are overweight, you could be charged additional fees up to $100 with some airlines. And that’s not a surprise you want waiting for you before your first flight.

Arrive Early

The best rule of thumb for air travel is to arrive early. You never know what kind of situation you’re walking into at an airport. Sometimes the lines are long but moving fast and other times there are weather delays and staffing shortages causing major delays.

Some of this can be looked up beforehand, but other times you may not know of an issue before you arrive at the airport. In general, try to arrive two hours before your boarding time to allow plenty of time to go through security, find your gate and account for any possible delays.

Keep Your ID and Boarding Pass Ready

As you move through security and check in, you’ll be asked to present certain forms of identification. For domestic flights, you need your ID and boarding pass to get through to the terminals.

For international travel, you will need a passport as well. Keep these items within easy access range for the entire time you are checking in and passing through security.

This will ensure that you have all the necessary forms of ID while saving yourself and fellow passengers time waiting in line. Keep your boarding pass, ID and passport ready if necessary.


Embarking on first time air travel can be exciting but nerve wracking at the same time. Flying is easy, but it takes time and you need to make sure you pack your bag to the correct weight, pack necessary items for weather in your destination and arrive early (at least two hours before your boarding time) to avoid feeling rushed or potentially missing your flight.

Be sure to check TSA guidelines on what you can carry on to the plane and what needs to go in a checked bag.

Finally, make sure you keep your ID and boarding pass ready for airport staff to scan and let you through to the gate.

Source: Special Features Dept.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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