Top Tips to Avoid Common Airport Stressors
We've all been there.
You’re excited for your vacation and have packed everything you can possibly need.
You can picture the lush vegetation, amazing views, wonderful people, and mouth-watering foods you are about to experience.
You’ve been waiting six months for this trip and you are stoked!
There’s just one kicker: you have to get through the crazy, anxiety-filled hustle and bustle of a packed airport filled with other travelers who all seem in like manner, a little lost and rushed.
Just the thought of the airport causes an increase in your heart rate. If you could just bypass the airport travel altogether, life would be roses.
It will all be fine and your destination will soon see your smiling face.
Apply these helpful hints and your travel experience might just be a little more peaceful.
When Booking, Allow at Least 2 ½ Hours Between Flights
What?! 2 ½ hours you say? That’s crazy!
We all love to get that connecting flight that is just an hour from when we land at the connecting airport, right?
As seasoned travelers we can tell you firsthand that even 2 ½ hours is sometimes too little of a buffer in between flights.
Case in point: our recent scouting trip to Vancouver Island (watch our website for future trip dates! The island is absolutely amazing!).
Flying out of Minneapolis International in late April, we were ecstatic that de-icing delays would no longer be an issue. We happily boarded and got settled only to hear that our plane needed a repair before we could fly.
Two hours and 20 minutes later, after numerous mechanical setbacks and even allowing us off of the plane to walk around, we were finally on our way.
Sadly, the 2 ½ hours we allowed as a layover in Seattle was about ten minutes short of what we needed. Our connecting flight was about to take off when we landed.
We could see the plane at the gate but the doors were closed. No go.
Plane delays have to be one of the top travel stressors.
Consider Rush Hour Traffic and Minor Setbacks
You were able to snag a later morning flight to allow for a great night of sleep before your trip. Congrats!
You fly out at 9:45 a.m.? Do you realize you will be smack dab in the middle of morning rush hour traffic when you leave your house to head to the airport?
What about highway 22 that is under construction?
And, dang, there was a car accident an hour prior to you getting on the road but the backup of cars is still miles long and the highway is a parking lot.
Yup, allowing more time to travel to the airport itself can save on premature anxiety attacks that are bound to happen sometime within your trip anyway.
Get there early, grab a coffee (or save money and bring your own in a travel mug!), and read a paper you find lying in the seat nearest you or pull out the free magazines you picked up from your local library before the trip.
You’ll be better for it.
Wear Airplane-Friendly Clothing
Huh? What do we mean “airplane friendly”? Clothes are clothes, right? Au contraire mon frere!
Ever worn hiking boots to the airport to save room in your travel bag only to realize you have to take them on and off for TSA? Now a million people around you wait for you to undo the laces and pry them off of your feet.
Or how about the cute shirt with all of the wonderful beads and metallic bling that makes you go off like a Christmas tree in the metal detector?
Slip on shoes, clothing that’s comfortable and has the least amount of metal on it, and layers are all good ideas for airports.
Sometimes the plane or the airport itself might be chilly or the reverse, hot. It's good to have something to throw on or off like a light jacket or a sarong.
Be Smart when Packing Your Personal Item and Carry-on
If you’re packing lightly, i.e. carry on only (we recommend doing so), make sure liquids and gels are easily removable from your bag to be visible and accessible to TSA agents.
Computers need to be easily removed as well. Basically, everything you can have easily accessible and ready, do so! #1 would be having your I.D. and boarding pass ready to go.
We recommend at least one EMPTY water bottle that comes along with you for constant hydration. You can fill them once you’re through TSA. And talking about water…
Bring Your Own Food
$13 for a packaged dry sandwich? $4 for a bottle of water? If you’ve traveled recently you know that airport foods are ridiculously overpriced.
That’s an easy fix.
Make sure to bring along solid healthy foods to keep you sustained throughout the trip. Proteins like nuts, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and energy bars are great snacks that tend to satisfy longer.
Those items along with your refillable bottle of water should keep you energized until you arrive at your destination.
Apply for TSA Precheck or Global Entry
If you’re going to be traveling on any regular basis, getting pre-authorized through either TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry (recommended for international traveling) is a real time saver.
Both are valid for five years and allow you to walk through the whole TSA process in minutes versus the long lines and disrobing that takes place in the regular TSA checks.
The authorization process starts with an online application and continues with an appointment. To view further details, follow these links:
Use Online Check-in
Boy, does this save time and stress!
You’ll walk into the airport and, unless you have to check a bag, you will head straight to TSA. Mucho time saved!
(Again, practice the art of packing lightly and go carry-on only. And make sure you check carry-on dimensions with your airline beforehand.)
Mentally prepare yourself to have a positive view no matter the circumstances
We can’t stress it enough: Attitude is everything.
The saying goes “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
YOU have the choice to allow situations that arise to make you a better person or a bitter person. Stress and unexpected problems are almost a given when traveling.
But, with a mindset of optimism, flexibility, patience, and a sense of adventure, you will travel in peace and have some great stories to share when you get back home. We guarantee it!
Now pack your bags and come travel with us!
Women on the GrOw upcoming trips