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It’s a scene in movies we know all too well – a character running to their gate, their luggage rolling behind them, fumbling with various documents, only to reach the gate just in time – but in reality, we’re not all graced with the same ending.

Getting stuck in an airport for several hours can be very frustrating, but it can also mean the difference between getting to your destination on time and missing your flight. Here are some crucial steps to take to help ensure you don’t miss your flight:

Account for Busier Travel Times

Having a good understanding of the times that are busy can help you get to your destination. The most obvious days to avoid are the days before Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and Christmas. However, other random weeks throughout the year, as well as holidays, can also affect travel times. Regardless of when you choose to travel, make sure to arrive early.

Check-In Ahead of Time

Even before you reach the airport, make sure to check in ahead of time. Although each airline has its own requirements, generally, you should check in at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. One of the most reliable ways to do this is to register online.

Get to the Airport Early

Usually, it’s a good idea to arrive at the airport around two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. If you’re planning on returning a rental car or parking at the airport, you should allow for more time. It’s better than not being able to get to your destination. Getting to the airport early allows you to check in and get through security, as well as ensure that your bag arrives at your destination. Bag check-in times can be limited, with some airlines allowing you to do so as early as 30 minutes before a flight departs.

Give Yourself Enough Time Between Flights

A crucial step when it comes to traveling is ensuring that you have enough time to get to your destination. Although there is no set time limit for how much time you should allot between flights, it’s usually a good idea to book a shorter connection if you’re familiar with the airport. If you’re planning on traveling internationally or are unfamiliar with the airport, you might not be able to make the connection if you have less time between flights.

Have the Correct Documents Ready

Having the proper documents ready can help speed up the process of getting to your destination. Since different countries have different requirements for passports, it’s important to check the regulations for your country.

Be Sure You Know Your Gate Number

One of the most common mistakes that travelers make is not double-checking their tickets. While the number is indicated on the ticket, the gates can change unexpectedly. To ensure that you’re notified when the departure number changes, download an app that will notify you whenever the number changes.

Since security delays occur when traveling internationally, arriving at your allocated terminal early is important. Planes typically board around 30 minutes before taking off, so make sure to get to your gate to avoid getting bumped. Although the flight’s schedule indicates when it will depart, the difference between the time it takes to get to your destination and the time it takes to board a plane is around 10 minutes.

Enjoy a Layover

One of the most popular ways to save money when traveling is by taking advantage of stopovers. These allow you to stay in a connected city for up to 24 hours, and you can get two for the price of one. They eliminate the need for connecting flights and allow travelers to explore a new location before continuing their trip.