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8 tips for smoother air travel

You've got to stop by the bank, pick up your dry cleaning and put gas in your car. That's a lot to do and still make it to the airport two hours before your 11 a.m. flight.

But what if you could cut that time in half and not miss your flight? Here's a cheat sheet to help you navigate more quickly.

1. Take public transportation No car means you don't have to spend time looking for a space and trekking over to the terminal. It usually costs less to take public transportation than to park.

2. Pack light The fewer bags you have, the quicker you can get past security and on board the plane. Try to avoid checking bags, which will probably save you at least $15.

3. Use self-service Print your boarding pass online the night before your trip. Otherwise, check in at a self-service kiosk at the airport.

4. Breeze through security Have your ID and boarding pass in your hand as you walk through the security line. Separate liquids and remove your laptop from its bag.

5. Eat later Wait until you get through security or you may miss your flight. On the other side, you can grab some food and take it to the gate.

6. Upgrade to business class It costs more, unless you use reward points or credits, but you'll be the first to get on and the first to get off.

7. Consider an alternate airport Flying out of secondary airports can save time, since lines can be shorter, the terminals less crowded and parking easier.

8. Know where you are going If you are connecting, map out the location of cross-terminal transportation ahead of time, suggests Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com .

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