This blog post was updated on August 12, 2021.
Do you loathe airports? Think of them as places where all sanitation, politeness, and common decency fly out the window? Then you’re doing it all wrong! Rest assured, you’re entitled to feel stressed with all the pre-boarding requirements and security checks, especially when traveling with a group or family. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Either you’re airport bound for a big trip or just a simple weekend getaway, practice these tips and you just might find out that it’s actually possible to relax at the airport!
Don’t Sit at Your Assigned Gate
Practically everyone at the airport makes this mistake. If you’ve arrived to sit at your gate before boarding, chances are the rest of your flight is also here. Between screaming babies and rolling suitcases running over your toes, these packed gates can make waiting for your flight less than tolerable. Rather than sitting at your assigned gate, seek out a gate that is completely empty. Not only will you have more peace and quiet, but you also won’t feel claustrophobic and encroached, as can be the case at a busy gate.
Purchase Airline Club Access for the Day
While some of these clubs might charge a day fee of something along the lines of $50, you can put a price on your peace of mind. Airline clubs and lounges often offer food and drinks for free. As airport food can be ridiculously expensive, the club cost can match what you get outside. These spaces are quiet, free of squawky announcements, and feature plenty of power outlets for all your devices (forget about contorting into strange positions to find the one plug available!). Do a bit of research to see if your airline offers day passes!
Try to Join an Airport Security Program
From TSA Pre-Check to Global Entry, there are a number of airport security programs you can join for a fee. Airport security programs can hep you avoid trudging along with everyone else through slow lines, flaring tempers, and unpleasant experiences, putting an end to having to take off almost everything on you to get through.
Check Where Your Plane Is Coming From
One of the main reasons airports can become a giant stress ball is flight delays. Just when your flight is about to begin boarding, you hear through an announcement that is going to be delayed for two hours. Yikes! Nobody likes to spend extra time at the airport, right? Next time, think about checking where your plane is coming from before you head to the airport. If you see a delay is imminent, keep watch on the flight but don’t speed off to spend more time in the airport. By being ahead of a delay, you can avoid spending too much time at there.
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Fly in the Early Morning
If you do a bit of online research, you’ll find out that morning flights are usually less crowded than those departing in the evening. That’s good news for people with travel anxiety, because they will find less travelers in the airport. It’s always surprising how few passengers are at their gates early in the morning.
Think about it. With fewer people in the way, you can relax next to the security line. In fact, if you arrive before sunrise, you might be the only traveler in line! You won’t need to rush the procedure of showing the staff your passport, taking your shoes off, or having your laptop scanned.
As an added bonus, airports are calmer in the morning. Forget about dealing with dozens of voices calling each other, cranky babies crying, or the rolling of suitcases on the carpet. With such peace and quiet, you might even be able to catch up on lost sleep before boarding your plane.
Check-In Online if You Can
If morning travel is not an option, technology can come to the rescue you with another life-hack to ease travel stress…just check-in online! Doing so allows you to skip approaching the counter and standing in line, endlessly waiting for those ahead of you to finish.
You can do it 24 hours before your flight, so you won’t forget about it in the chaos of leaving the house with your luggage. As for boarding passes, many airlines offer the option of a digital boarding pass on your phone. Besides, online check-in makes it possible to know if there are delays in your flight, so you won’t arrive at the airport to find out that your flight won’t leave for another six more hours. And if you’re flying with luggage, all you have to do is hand them in to the airport staff and show them your ID. After that, you are free to go to the security line and find your gate.
Get in a Workout!
Many airports have gyms now. No, seriously, it’s a thing! It’s a great way to kill time if your flight is delayed. You can usually find them inside the terminals, right after security.
Some people say that working out helps soothe anxiety, so not only will you be killing time but also put your nerves at ease. Working out has the added benefit of tiring you out, helping you to sleep during your flight. Good news for claustrophobics or those who are not really into air flight. After al, if you’re too worn out to be awake, you don’t have to think about how small the airplane is–or how high above the air you are!
Treat Yourself to a Spa Break!
Most people associate airports with movement. Not only do planes fly in and out in a constant wave of airborne traffic, but the environment inside the building itself is chaotic to say the least. You can spot travelers running for their gates, panicking as they miss their flights, and ushering screaming children down the corridor. At restaurants, you find people having lunch or a beer while watching the news on a loud TV. There’s no silence at the airport if you arrive in the evening or at night.
There is a place, however, where you can find peace. Some airports feature spas where you can go to relax. Ask for a full-body massage if you’re battling the pre-flight jitters. You can also have a manicure or get your hair done…that race through the security check-in line can sure leave you looking disheveled! Definitely a great way to pamper yourself after scoring those last-minute tickets for cheap one way flights!
In short, an airport spa is a great way to ease travel anxiety. You’ll board your plane looking better as well as feeling refreshed!