When it comes to traveling -- on your own, with kids, with a loved one -- make sure everyone follows these steps. Doing so will ensure safer and a less-stressful trip for all.
• Print out your tickets and itineraries at home. Most airlines allow you to check in 24 hours before your flight. Keep these on your person and have them available at all times (i.e., no need to dig through bags when you can keep them in your pockets).
• Have a smartphone? Download your carrier's mobile app and follow your flight's status. Also, check out other flight-tracking apps and add your carrier's customer service phone number to your phone, just in case.
• Check the weather at the departing and arriving airport. Even one delayed flight can set off a domino effect.
• Sign up for text alerts to your phone. These are great for letting you know departing and arriving times, as well as gate numbers and when your checked luggage (if you checked any) will be located.
• Leave early. Factor in extra time for parking, for a shuttle from the lot to the terminal, and time to get through security.
• Expect lines at security checkpoints. Wear slip-on shoes, have everything out of your pockets and take your computer out of your carry-on bag. Be prepared before you get to the front of the line. If possible, avoid wearing belts, watches and other accessories you will have to take off. Keep your keys in your carry-on. You won't need those until you land back home.
• Look into Executive Platinum clubs. If you do hit a delay, these are great places to get away from the crowds and relax. At certain airports, they offer daily (or hourly) memberships. Take advantage of them. It's worth it.