Know your airport. Know what terminal you need to be in, and when the gate closes. Seems simple, I know. But getting to the airport and realizing that you’re in the wrong terminal is bad news. Especially if you’re in a large airport, it could easily take you 30 minutes to get over to the right terminal. Add in an airport you’re unfamiliar with and might get lost in, and a simple mistake could make you late for your flight.
Arrive early. Running late is always going to make you start off your trip more stressed than you need to be. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to fly out on night flights to maximize my vacation time. For my last trip to London I had to leave work a little early and I stayed in the office until the last possible minute I could reasonably get away with. Cue two hours of insane stress after hitting multiple levels of delays and nearly missing my flight.
Know your baggage allowance. We’ve talked about this before. Having to pay extra baggage fees, or finding out that you’re not allowed to take the bag with all your in-flight essentials in the cabin with you is a major pain. If it’s a bigger move this can escalate to the frantic throwing-away-personal-items-in-the-airport-because-you-haven’t-got-enough-room scene. Saw this in action with my former study abroad roommate. It was ugly.
Make sure you know what you’ve got in your carry-on, and have double-checked it for sharp objects, 3oz+ liquids, etc. This includes carrying gifts for other people. I once had my carry-on straight up ransacked by airport security when a seemingly innocuous Christmas gift I was carrying for my cousin happened to have three bottles of Elmer’s glue in it unbeknownst to me. I ended up loosing $200 in cash somewhere in the chaos of having my possessions strewn literally all over the airport floor as I attempted to repack. Utter disaster.
On the liquids front, put all your 3oz liquids in the damn clear plastic bag. No one wants to deal with you holding up the line because you haven’t gotten your shit together.
Wear socks for when you take off your shoes at airport security. Although this is a word of advice I almost always forget to follow, avoiding walking barefoot on the airport floor is just generally a good idea.
Another one we’ve talked about before– pack snacks/a meal, depending on how long your journey is. It’s better than spending lots of money on usually unhealthy airport food, and if your airline meal isn’t to your liking and/or isn’t free, as is increasingly the case on airlines these days, you’ll have a Plan B. Reusable water bottle too.
Keep your passport and ticket somewhere safe but easily accessible, and make sure you do NOT, in the frenzied activity of going through security, throw your ticket and passport in one of the plastic bins to go through the metal detector. I got mine stolen by doing this. You zip that precious cargo back up in your bag before you toss it on the belt. Nowadays I have a nifty little passport holder and am EXTREMELY careful in having it secure at all times. No exceptions.
What are your airport de-stressing tips?
Happy Wandering! -xo