Have you spent months planning your holiday and now that you’re ready to leave your house, all you can think about is how you are dreading the whole airport experience? Long queues, lack of seating, grumpy and tired people rushing about, and unnecessarily expensive food are only some of the things that most people hate about airports. However, there are some ways to improve this overall experience, making it at least bearable.
At Aviation Spares and Repairs we work within the aviation industry providing aviation equipment for airports, handlers, fixed based operators and airliners. We often travel for business to various expositions around the world showcasing our equipment. Within our time travelling, we’ve gained a great amount of knowledge about how to make the most out of your airport experience, making it less stressful and even an enjoyable part of your overall holiday.
To reduce wasted time at the airport, make sure to prepare as much as you possible can at home. This means, checking your flight status before leaving, checking-in online and getting to know your airport beforehand by researching where the gates, toilets and other important areas are. It will save you time walking around the airport clueless.
If a long security queue is your worst nightmare, you have two options: purchase fast track, which will give you access to a dedicated lane at security and passport control or make sure to have everything prepared in advance for the security check to ensure it will go smoothly. If you have all your liquids in a clear, plastic bag, your belt in your hand luggage and wear flat shoes which you won’t have to take off to be x-rayed – the whole security check will go effortlessly. Also, remember to smile and greet the security officer!
Have important items within reach.
Keep all your travel documents, identification documents and money in an easily accessible place. An article on Smarter Travel explains that having all of these documents at hand is crucial to ensure that you don’t leave them at home and, by keeping them nearby, you won’t waste your and other people’s time searching blindly through your whole bag for them when you really need them.
An article on The Opposite Travellers highlights the importance of packing light and how essential this step is to make the whole experience less stressful. Clutter can be seen as a synonym of stress, and what’s more stressful than walking around with a heavy bag filled with most of your belongings because you weren’t sure of what you wanted to bring with you. Leave those ten pieces of jeans at home when you are going to be at the beach in sunny Spain most of the time.
Even worse, what’s more stressful than overthinking about if your oversized bag will fit in the luggage compartment overhead or if your suitcase is over a certain amount of weight and you’ll have to pay more for it. Think ahead and pack light.
You want to feel comfortable, meaning comfortable clothes and shoes, it doesn’t mean pyjamas. You should avoid wearing belts and metal accessories which you will have to remove at the security check. Keep your outfit simple, but still presentable.
Research your parking options.
Driving your car to the airport and you’re quickly remembering that there are never empty spaces inside? During peak travel periods, you can pre-book your airport parking space to give you peace of mind. Alternatively, you can also park at nearby parking spaces with companies that offer off-site airport parking spaces.
If you are not driving, you’ll have many options to reach the airport. Whether it is by train, bus, Uber or any other transport option. Just make sure to check if the trains are running without delays and if there is not going to be any traffic incidents on your way to the airport.
This is a no-brainer. However, it’s easy to not consider having to queue for an hour at security or hitting traffic. Arriving early will not only give you enough time to grab a cuppa but it will help avoid any stress related to time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the airport, try to find an empty gate, the airport chapel or even the lounge. At an empty gate or the airport chapel, you’ll be able to get some quiet time and at the airport lounge there will be less people around, plus you’ll have some extra perks, including food and drinks.
Keep entertainment at hand.
Wi-fi at the airport can be very unreliable and often expensive, so remember to download your favourite films, podcasts or audiobooks beforehand. Concentrating on what you are watching or listening will help you disconnect from the noises around you, allowing you to de-stress from the hustle of an airport.
Bring food and drinks.
Remember to pack some snacks with you and to have a good meal before leaving your home. Snacks are essential both at the airport and while you are flying as it is easy to get grumpy and cranky when hungry, or rather hangry.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to bring your bottle of water with you, but you can bring an empty bottle. Some airports will have a water refill station or a water fountain which you can use to refill your water bottle.
If all else fails, grab some dark chocolate. According to a study made by researchers at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Centre in Southern California, eating dark chocolate not only improves mood and memory but also reduces stress.
Forget about what you might have left at home.
The feeling that you forgot something at home. That horrible feeling that follows you from when you leave your front door to when you get to your destination. Leave that feeling behind and remember that the only thing you need to worry about is your travel documents and money, anything else can be purchased at your destination. Forgot your toothbrush at home? Maybe your favourite lipstick that would go so well with that red dress you brought with you? You’ll find something even better in a shop somewhere at your destination. Just sit back and relax.
How to make an airport experience less stressful - Let's Fix It