OMG! Am I the only one who arrives at the airport in the middle of the night in order to catch an early morning flight? I swear, I am there early enough to turn the runway lights on!
In what I call my “prior life”, the airport stressed me out so much that it would literally take my entire vacation to recover and relax from my airport anxiety. I realized that this was crazy! I stressed so much that I was a complete basket case before I even left home. I decided that it was time to have a completely different outlook, and I decided then and there to change my mindset. I now go into vacation mode the second I leave my house. How do you do this you ask? Simple…..read on and follow these 9 tips to avoid the airport chaos.
Travelling Solo Can Reduce Stress
To begin with, I find that travelling solo is the best option for me, as this eliminates any stress that could be caused by a travelling companion. I realize that not everybody has the option of travelling solo, but trust me, it definitely makes a huge difference in the stress levels, especially if you aren’t travelling with the right companion.
I can’t stress this one enough! Do not leave everything until the last minute, especially if travelling with children. Be prepared well in advance. This will not only eliminate stress, it will also ensure that nothing is forgotten.
Take a Direct Flight
Whenever possible, I pay a little extra money and book a direct flight. A flight with a stopover is bearable, but connecting flights can be a nightmare! My very first flight had a connecting flight in Atlanta. I had only 20 minutes to catch my next flight, and as luck would have it, the gate was at the complete opposite end of the airport. I felt like I was running the Amazing Race in order to catch the train and make it to my gate in time for departure. Never again have I done that!
Pro Tip: Having a longer layover between flights allows you to explore another destination.
If a direct flight is not option, then I recommend booking a connecting flight with a longer layover so that you can relax before your next flight, or even take a tour of the city. This will eliminate a huge amount of stress!
Print your boarding pass the night before departure. This can be done within 24 hours of departure time and it sure saves a lot of time. The less you have to do at the airport the better and will allow you more time to relax before boarding.
Transportation to Airport
Hire a limousine or take airlink or taxi, or get a friend to drive you to the airport. This will allow you to relax and have your morning coffee while on the way to the airport. This is the one thing that I find allows me to have a great start to my travels. On arrival you will be dropped off right at the front door so that you don’t have to drive around in circles to find parking. You will also save on the exorbitant parking fees charged for parking at the airport. If I can make only one recommendation, this is it! A must for me when I travel. This is a win, win and a must do!
Check-In and Baggage Drop
Many airports now have self-serve baggage drops. Since you have already checked in the night before, print your baggage tags upon arrival at the airport. Drop your bags on the appropriate conveyor, and head off to the customs lineup. To eliminate this step, which I personally find to be a pain in the you know what, travel with a carry-on only.
Pro Tip: Booking an early morning or late evening flight will cut down on the crowds and reduce the chaos at the airport
Prepare for Security
Okay, so there isn’t much that you can do to control this stage, but given that most flights tend to depart extremely early in the morning or very late at night, the lineups aren’t very long. To ensure smooth and swift clearance, never pack any liquids in your carry-on, take your jewellery off (or better yet, leave it at home), take your belt off, shoes off, and have everything ready to plop into the tote to be cleared.
Allow For Some Free Time
Usually within 15 minutes after arriving at the airport, I am through security and now have some time to kill. Take this time to browse the shops, pickup any snacks and water, etc. for the flight, and then relax over breakfast (or lunch). I prefer a sit down restaurant as I find them more relaxing. A glass of wine always helps if the bar is open, afterall, it’s noon somewhere. By the time I am finished eating, it is pretty much boarding time. If there is time left before boarding, read book or hook into the free WiFi, or simply sit back and do some people watching.
Above all else, remember that “shit happens”, so stay calm and relaxed. Don’t let things get to you, YOU ARE ON VACATION!
PIN TO REDUCE AIRPORT STRESS!