12 tips to get you through the airport as quickly as possible

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The week before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times to travel all year. Traveling during holidays can be overwhelming, thanks to all of the extra crowds, flight delays, and cancellations.

Thankfully, there are certain steps you can take to save yourself time and stay as relaxed as possible.

We've put together 12 time-saving travel tips, from signing up for perks to using a simple trick to spot shorter lines:

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12 tips to get through the airport quicker
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12 tips to get through the airport quicker

1. Apply for TSA PreCheck status

Signing up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry can help save you valuable time, as you can keep your shoes, belts, and light jackets on as you go through security. You also don't have to remove your laptop or any liquids from your bag. 

It will help get you through an expedited line over Thanksgiving weekend as well as each time you travel afterward, making it a valuable investment.

2. Check in ahead of time

Give yourself as few tasks to do at the airport as possible. Instead of waiting to pick up your boarding pass, check in ahead of time, either online or on your phone.

You can go paperless at most airport and use an electronic pass on your phone to board.

3. Download your airline's app

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and British Airways are just a few of the airlines that have developed mobile apps to give travelers real-time information on flight delays and gate changes.

That way, if your gate has changed and you're short on time, you’ll know before you even get to the airport.

4. Wear slippers 

If you're going to have to take your shoes off at security, make them easy ones to remove.

Slippers are a good choice because they'll keep you warm and cozy on your flight without taking too much time to remove at security.

5. Buy a TSA-approved laptop bag

Certain laptop bags are specially designed to be approved through TSA security, meaning you won't have to take your laptop out separately when passing through.

6. If you're bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped

If you're exchanging gifts over the holidays, ship them ahead of time to avoid having to take them through the airport. Or if you're going to bring them with you, leave them unwrapped, as TSA agents may have to unwrap them.

"Wrapped gifts are allowed, but we recommend waiting until you land to wrap them," it says on the TSA's official blog. "If there's something in the gift that needs to be inspected, we may have to open it … It also slows down the line for everybody else when we have to do this."

7. Pack shoes foot-to-toe at the bottom of your bag 

Packing your shoes in the bottom of your bag will help to put some weight on the wheels of your luggage and make it easier to remain balanced, especially if you're rushing to your gate. 

8. Arrive early 

This one seems like common sense, but make sure you leave yourself more time than usual during holiday travels. Brian Ek, senior travel analyst for Priceline.com, told Fox News that he encourages fliers to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight and three hours for international flights that are leaving early in the morning or late at night.

For normal business-hour flights, he recommends giving yourself another 30 to 45 minutes, just to be on the safe side. 

9. Keep a bag of essential items ready to go

Skip the time it would take to transfer your shampoo into a 3.4-ounce bottle and have a bag of toiletries ready to go.

Grab samples of your favorite products, or get travel-size toiletries and store them in one bag so you can simply grab it and go each time you pack.

10. Have a booking app set up on your phone

Canceled flights are an unfortunate reality when traveling during the holidays. To help ensure you get the best place to sleep if this does happen, have a booking app set up on your phone so that you can make last-minute hotel reservations or rent a car.

If your flight does get canceled, take advantage of your time and start calling the airline over the phone while you wait in line.

11. Look for lines toward your left

According to CNN, looking for lines toward your left side can help you spot the one that's shorter. Studies show that Americans are more likely to turn right than left when entering a building. 

12. If your flight is delayed, relax at an airport lounge

Even if you're flying economy, it doesn't mean you can't access airport lounges. Most lounges sell day passes so that anyone can experience last-minute pampering and relaxation. 

You can also get a Priority Pass ($99 to $399 a year), which gives you access to 850 airport lounges around the world. 

Finally, check your credit card to see whether or not it gives you lounge access. Some, like American Express Platinum, have access to Delta and Centurion lounges. 

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Talia Avakian contributed reporting on a previous version of this article.

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