How many times do we see people stress about their airport experience? It’s not an easy time; you’re tired, you want to get to your destination, you have a heavy bag, and there are few places to sit. How can we tackle this? Douglas Adams wrote in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “The most important thing a traveler needs to remember… is this: Don’t Panic.”
Keep a cool head and follow these six tips on how to avoid stress at the airport.
Make a list of everything you need, and pack in advance. I pack all my documents in the same place in hand luggage. I can find them quickly while keeping Noah entertained in the airport queues.
If possible, book direct flights. While it’s usually more expensive, it reduces your stress. Also, plan when you’ll land. In some countries, it’s OK to land at night and find your way to your accommodation. In others, you might like to arrive in daylight.
Exercise not only helps you with your mobility for a long flight, it helps you sleep. I try to go for a run in the morning before traveling, or at least the night before.
At the airport, I avoid conveyor belt walkways to maximize my walks. Once in the air, I turn off the overhead vent. It’s recirculated air that’s and aimed directly toward your face. I walk up and down the aisle and a couple of standing poses in the galley while waiting to go in the toilet.
Drink up! It’s amazing how much a difference this makes in your flight and on your jet lag recovery. Trust me!
Pinch your “hoku spot” (the fleshy zone between your index finger and thumb) for 30 seconds to reduce stress and tension.
Choose Your Airport
Check airport proximity to city center or service amenities if in transit. I often have layovers in Singapore, which makes my wait a pleasure. I can go into the house of butterflies, have a dip at the rooftop pool, or admire the kinetic rain.
If you’re about to enjoy a holiday in Honolulu, there are ways to learn how to breeze through the airport beforehand. You can go directly to the airport website, get an app like GateGuru for information on shops, restaurants, and amenities in both domestic and international airports, or go online to a site like GoDoTrip, which always has reliable articles.
Weigh in Lightly
We all feel stressed about weighing luggage. Consider what you pack. Believe me, you won’t need as much as you think. Pack and then take out a third.
Clear Security Early
Running late is a recipe for stress, so arrive early. Security and customs can mean delays. Don’t risk it in this day and age: arrive at least two hours before departure. Check that you have liquids, aerosols, and gels in a plastic bag ready for inspection. Wear comfortable clothes with no buckles, belts, or accessories. Slip-on shoes are quick to remove.
I lost count of the number of flights that were delayed and how many nights i got stuck in airports. Relax. Do what you can to make the process quicker and accept the times you can’t.