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Hacking your way through London Heathrow like a pr...

Hacking your way through London Heathrow like a pro

As seen on Hacking the System, simple tips and tricks can ultimately lead to a, well, simpler life. On the popular National Geographic television show, host Brian Brushwood taught viewers how to navigate their way through almost all areas of life including job interviews, arm wrestling competitions, and even airline travel needs. Now, this last part may be one of the most – if the most – significant highlight of the show, as you might have noticed these days how international aviation hubs tend to be crowded, baggage dimensions lessened, and parking spaces full. Take London’s Heathrow Airport, for instance.

Located in the westernmost borough of Greater London, Heathrow stands head and shoulders above its class for being the central gateway of tourism not just in the city, but the whole nation. As a matter of fact, in terms of passenger traffic, the airport is the busiest in all of Europe, according to Airlines Box. With all the recognitions, the amenities, and the facilities, come the inevitable problems of congestion. In essence, at Heathrow, overcrowding tends to spill from its parking spaces all the way to its departure and lounge areas. Thankfully, experienced travellers offer viable solutions to every problem.

If you’re a local and are driving to the London Heathrow, a basic answer would be to leave your home early to avoid traffic and get a suitable car bay. To take matters up a notch, one important hack suggested by Sophie Butler of the Telegraph is to book an airport parking slot 24 to 48 hours ahead of your scheduled flight. That way, you’ll have a chance to pull a typical week’s stay of £195.10 down to a more reasonable £82 – that’s more than 50% in savings. In addition, you’ll save yourself from the agony of finding the proverbial needle in a haystack – or in this case, the parking area. Conversely, if you’re planning to take advantage of London’s efficient transportation system, Parking4Less advises you to take the Heathrow Express for a faster, 15-minute commute. A cheaper alternative would be to hop on the Piccadilly Line of the world-famous Tube.

The moment you step inside Heathrow Airport presents a different story. In contrast to Budget Travel’s recommendation, the left-hand side line at the airport tends to be the most crowded, as it’s near the Tube’s exit. So if you want to breeze through check-in and bag drop counters, head on to the far right-hand side of the queue. Since London Heathrow is comparable to a high-profile recreational complex, you’ll never run out of things to do or places to eat. Best of all: you can take advantage of some of these at a fraction of a cost. Aside from free Wi-Fi access, Heathrow offers unlimited food and drinks at Terminal 3’s No.1 Traveller Lounge. Here, for as low as £24 for three hours, you’ll have limitless use of a workspace, a cinema, and a spa. On the other hand, if you’re on a prolonged layover in London, this airport features baggage offices at Terminals 2-5 so you can leave your bulky carry-ons and explore the nearby establishments on foot.

All things considered, making your way through Heathrow Airport neither requires spending huge amounts, nor testing your patience. Like with almost anything in life, the trick is to be knowledgeable when it comes to the ins and outs of a massive facility, as well as the little hacks that make a huge difference.

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Mikee is a Filipino travel and lifestyle writer who is gradually shifting from a sedentary life to a nomadic one. On a personal note, she dreams of traveling to all 81 provinces in the Philippines, and having her own travel book, hostel, and restaurant someday. Keep track of her world through her words at www.mikeepascual.com.

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