This blog post was updated on August 16, 2021.
There is no doubt that traveling can be a stressful experience. The hassle of getting through security, the anxiety of making it to your gate on time, and everything else that comes with air travel can lead to significant amounts of stress. This stress has been exacerbated further as a result of unexpected delays or massive crowds of fellow fliers. The good news is that you can mitigate this stress by having some proven strategies in place. Here are nine ways that you can successfully reduce your stress at the airport, ensuring a more pleasant travel experience.
Know Before You Go
Do you know which terminal? What time does your gate close? What’s your airline’s baggage allowance (number of bags and weight limits)? Check all that stuff before you check in. It will save you time and quite possibly money. By the way, when was the last time you checked your flight status? Be sure to keep up to date with any scheduling changes. If you booked months in advance, there’s a good chance your flight’s departure time may have changed significantly.
Don’t Schedule Anything Important on Day of Travel
A large part of the stress of travel comes when you are trying to rush to the airport after an important obligation. For this reason, it is a good idea to not schedule anything important on the day of your flight. This includes obligations both before and after the flight. Leaving the day free to focus solely on the travel component will make it easier for you to avoid stress and anxiety about everything working out according to plan.
Check-in Online with Multiple Copies of Boarding Pass
Savvy travelers help to negate travel stress by checking into their cheap flights online prior to even leaving home. This will save you the hassle of having to wait in line when you arrive at the airport, giving you more freedom to relax before your flight. Be sure to have multiple copies of the boarding pass ready in case technology fails you. Good ideas include printing a hard copy and saving a screenshot to your phone.
Try to Fly in the Morning Hours
While it is never fun to get up early for a flight, this decision will pay off big dividends as the day goes on. Not only will you likely avoid morning rush hour traffic, but you will also experience fewer crowds when you arrive at the airport. Early morning flights also are more likely to take off on time. The longer that you wait to fly, the higher the chance that your flight will be delayed. Getting off as early as possible also gives you more time to enjoy your final destination.
Don’t Forget to Use Your Winning Smile
When things go wrong or something isn’t clear, remember to use those magic words like “please” and “thank you” and to try keeping a big (and sincere) smile on your face. Such simple niceties usually result in a far better outcome than “going ballistic” on any airline rep or airport worker. Odds are whoever is helping you had nothing to do with your problem anyway.
Be Ready to Get Through Security
Well before it’s “your turn” at security, have a look for what’s going to be required of you. Will you be asked to remove your belt? Should you take your coat off? Be prepared and ready to go as soon and as quickly as possible. And before you even make a move for the airport, give some thought to what you’re wearing and how you’ve packed your carry-on items. Do you really need to wear steel-toed thigh-high boots or the world’s most metallic belt today? Have you packed your laptop or tablet in such a way that you can swiftly access it? There’s no lingering bottle of hand sanitizer or a lighter in your carry on is there?
Set Aside Plenty of Time and Then Add a Little More to It
This tip has been mentioned before in a post about stress-free travel. But it’s worth repeating because there are few things more stressful than being stuck in traffic and wondering if you’ll even make it to the airport before your gates closes. Showing up much too early for a flight can be super boring, but it’s no fun having to make a mad dash across a busy airport. Always add in extra time to get where you’re going. Downtime at the airport or in some café on the road can be productive or relaxing and is always better than getting somewhere too late. And if something does go wrong, you’ll have time to fix it without panic.
Try to Be Active
You will be able to deal with the stress more effectively if you are purposeful about staying active during your time at the airport. Research has shown that working up a sweat naturally releases feel-good endorphins, providing a mental boost and helping you to deal with stress. Many airports are equipped with onsite gyms, yoga rooms, and other facilities that will help you to make this possible. You can also choose to walk quickly around the large concourse area to get in your steps and get that heart rate up. This is a much better choice than sitting at the bar.
Consider Paying for an Airport Lounge
If you find yourself with time to kill before a flight, you would be wise to take advantage of the airport lounges. These VIP areas provide a host of amenities, including complimentary food and drink, reading materials, free high-speed internet, and more. The spacious seating areas and quiet digs are a great place to get work done or to relax while waiting for your flight to board. If you do not have an annual pass, most lounges make day passes available for travelers looking for a premium experience.