How to make the airport experience less stressful

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Airports. Some people love them, some hate them, some do a little bit of both. But knowing the right way to prevent and deal with the stress caused by the airports can spare you a lot of headache.

Recently I broke two personal records regarding air travel: most flights booked in a week (eight) and most flights done in a week (four). That means I spent a lot of time in airports lately. As a matter of fact, I am writing this post from an airport right now, in an attempt to keep my mind busy and survive this ecosystem, this scary, living, breathing, red eyed monster that an airport represents for many of us. That’s the ugly truth: I love to travel but I hate airports. That’s a shame, considering that our awesome, long-awaited journey usually begins in one. I feel like airports are usually places that drain your energy and fill you up with frustration, but do not despair, there are always ways to make it better. Just follow some simple tips.

Arrive early at the airport

I know, I know. You think this is a no brainer, but trust me, I feel the need to say it because of my own personal experiences. I am that type of person that is always late for everything: meetings, appointments or any other types of planned activity. Flights easily fall in this category. I can’t even count the times when I held my breath all the way to the airport, because I was on the verge of missing my flight. Until the inevitable happened and one day I arrived at the airport just to see the plane that I was supposed to be in, just taking off and flying above my head.

To make sure you never experience this awful feeling, schedule your time so that you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before takeoff for a domestic flight and 3 hours for an international flight. If a ride to the airport usually takes 30 minutes, I recommend you take into account an extra hour, in the event of an unanticipated occurrence.

Pick the best time to book your flight

The day and hour of your flight is very important too. If you’re flexible with your schedule, choosing the right time to travel can help you deal with less traffic on your way to the airport, put up with smaller crowds and pass security much faster.

For example, if you choose to travel on a Friday night, the road is usually more crowded than on a Tuesday night, so either don’t plan your trip on crowded days, or add more time for delays if there’s no way you can avoid them.

The alternative for leaving so many hours before the flight, would be to book a room in a hotel close to the airport the night before the flight. But let’s be real. If you clench your money like I do, that might not be an option.

Choose your airport wisely

Another reason why you should be early at the airport is sluggish security checks. They usually happen in big, crowded airports. The best way to avoid this is choosing to fly from smaller airports, if you happen to have more options nearby. Usually, smaller airports also mean cheaper plane tickets to a lot of destinations, so if you haven’t considered the possibility yet, you should.

Dress appropriately

If you want to feel comfortable, you have to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Also, avoid wearing belts, watches and other metal accessories that you will have to remove when you go through security. The slow you down and stress you out. Keep it simple and the whole process will seem much easier.

Don’t forget your headphones

We all know it. Music is pure therapy. Soothing music genres such as classical, ambiental, jazz or soft rock are preferred to achieve the best result, but you can choose any genre you wish, as long as you know it can work its magic. During long waiting times or layovers, the headphones will remove the noises around so you can concentrate on other activities like reading, writing and drawing. If you’re more bored than stressed, go for catchy songs that can boost your mood instantly and keep you entertained for as long as you need.

Bring food and drinks

You’re not you when you’re hungry. Or thirsty if I may add. It’s well known that these states can lead to irrational behaviors, therefore God forbid you walk in an airport driven by these two primary needs. If that happens, chances are you will spend more money than you have spent on your plane ticket. Therefore, make sure you take some food and water with you, enough to cover the time spent at the airport.

Remember that you can’t pass through security with your bottle of water, but you can pass with an empty bottle. After you clear the security barrier, look for a water refill station or a water fountain. I heard some people refill their bottle from airport bathroom sinks, but I wouldn’t advise it. There is always a risk of catching a waterborne disease and it’s just not worth it.

When it comes to food, I always take a full bag with me. Choose snacks like cereal bars, fruits or different kinds of seeds. These are both healthy and nutritious, fueling you up with energy for the rest of the day.

Chew gum

According to studies, chewing gum helps stabilize heart rate and blood pressure, inducing a state of calm in stressful environments. The scientists don’t have yet a clear idea why it has an influence on stress levels, but it’s thought that it helps the brain oxygenate better. Anyway, the results are what count more than anything, so just in case, try to always keep a pack of gum in your pocket. You never know when you might need it.

Eat chocolate

If you’re not a fan of gum (to be honest I’m not), you still have an option: chocolate! Many don’t think about chocolate as a healthy aliment, but more as a guilty pleasure. Still, studies show that chocolate (especially dark chocolate) can do wonders when you’re stressed, because it increases the levels of serotonin and endorphin, which are known as the hormones of happiness. So basically, every time you eat a bar of chocolate, your brain is throwing a party of chemical reactions that results in reducing your stress levels.

Smile and be positive

All you have to do is make that frown go away and put a smile on your face. If you’re alone and fear you might look like a madhouse patient, just try to do some positive thinking. Talk, think and act like a happy person and your brain will follow the lead.

 

What about you? Do you consider airports stressful or not? What works best for you when it comes to relaxing in an airport? Comment down below and share the wisdom with all of us!

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33 Comments on "How to make the airport experience less stressful"

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Guest
Megan Jerrard
21 days 6 hours ago

Fabulous suggestions – arriving early is the biggest thing for me – I get extreme anxiety if I think we’re going to be late, and when you’re rushing is when you make big mistakes, like leaving your passport at home or something like that!! So we always leave 3 hours to get to the airport – I would rather get through quickly and have huge amounts of time, than get there late and find myself stuck in a huge immigration line!!

Guest
21 days 22 hours ago

I’m always at the airport far too early, but I think it’s the best way to make it less stressful. Thank goodness for lounge access!

Guest
22 days 6 hours ago

Love these tips especially about chocolate! I knew I loved dark chocolate but didn’t know about those benefits. Wonderful.

Guest
22 days 19 hours ago

Actually, depending on the airport, I enjoy hanging out there: testing super expensive creams and perfumes at the duty free, a little shopping, a light snack…and since I do listen to your advice arriving at the airport on time, I always have oodles of time enjoying the facilities. And if there isn’t anything to do left, I – just like you – work on my blog or on my social media accounts; a blogger never gets bored….happy travels and safe flights!

Guest
23 days 3 minutes ago

I guess it’s common sense but a lot of people don’t follow it – reaching the airport early! Also, as far as dress appropriately is concerned, I find airports particularly cold, I don’t know if that’s just me or a common thing so I have to ensure to carry an extra layer for it. I completely agree with choosing the right day and time to fly (given that you can flexible) like maybe a weekday rather than a weekend, afternoon hours rather than early morning or late evening hours to fly.

Guest
23 days 6 hours ago

My husband, daughter and I love airports, of course admittedly, some are better than others. We think of it as part of the whole travel experience. Great advice though on getting there very early, I think that’s mostly why people are very stressed, they never give themselves enough time in the airport.

Guest
23 days 12 hours ago

All of these tips are so true. I’m always sure to have something like a Clif bar on hand in case I get hungry and don’t want to spend $20 on terrible airport food. The actual airport can make such a difference too- sometimes bigger isn’t always better!

Guest
23 days 13 hours ago

I hate airports, especially the expensive food and drink! I also hate the crappy wifi especially if you have to pay for it. I think chocolate is an excellent way to forget all these problems, if chocolate won’t solve it then nothing will!

Guest
24 days 6 hours ago

Getting to the airport early is such a great tip! I never thought about chewing gum, but that makes sense.

Guest
24 days 9 hours ago

Good tip about the smaller airport! My dad would LOVE this post! He’s always over prepared for the airport! This is a helpful post! Thank you!

Guest
25 days 13 hours ago

Really have no airport experience as I haven’t travelled by air before, but this are tips I must consider.

Thanks for sharing

Guest
26 days 12 hours ago

Great tips! I’d also add to bring some kind of scarf or shawl. It gets cold in airports!

Guest
Melissa
26 days 13 hours ago

This is excellent! And so we’ll timed. I especially like the chocolate recommendation!

Guest
26 days 14 hours ago

So many great tips. I dod them all but the chocolate is a new one to me. Keep your cool when things go bad is a good one. Seems connecting flights are always late or I have been in a couple of situations where flights were canceled and you have to wait in line for hours to get it sorted out.

Guest

These are all great tips! I had such a bad habit of packing my headphones in my checked luggage…NO MORE! I never thought of taking an empty water bottle through security! What a great idea

Guest
Carol Colborn
26 days 16 hours ago

I will never eat chocolate because I may gain pounds so chewing gum is a likely answer! I have learned to do everything else except for trying the smaller airports. I will begin to do that, thanks!!!

Guest
27 days 6 hours ago

Any tips for making the airport less stressful are GREATLY appreciated. The airport is always stress city.

Guest
27 days 8 hours ago

Always the best suggestions! Mine is “just be nice”!

Guest
27 days 9 hours ago

Sounds like you have spent some time in airports! They really can drain you…especially with all the rules and regulations in place these days. Thank you for the tips.

Guest
27 days 13 hours ago

Dressing correctly, and arriving early are my two top tips too! Something always happens to me while flying- whether it’s long security lines or lost luggage or bad traffic. You can never be too prepared@

Guest
27 days 15 hours ago

YES! This post is so needed! Don’t forget your headphones! I made that mistake once, thinking I would get a pair for free, but it was on a flight that charged for them, so I sat the whole time stewing in silence, because I refused to pay for headphones lol.

I have a travel link up going on and this post would make a great addition! If you want to join in on the fun the blue “add your link” button is towards the bottom of this post (http://www.lifessweetwords.com/2017/12/traveltuesday-23-our-makers-mark.html) just before the comment section.

Happy Wednesday!

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