Traveling to a new destination is very exciting, but many people experience some level of anxiety about “getting there” — myself included! We have all heard or experienced enough horror stories to justify our anxieties…lost luggage, long TSA lines, missed flights, etc. The good news is there are steps we can take to eliminate some of the stress associated with air travel. Here are my tips for how to get through an airport stress-free:
Check your flight status.
Before leaving for the airport check online to see if your flight is delayed or scheduled to depart on time.
Arrive two hours early.
It is important to allow time for traffic, parking, and long TSA lines. There are a multitude of things that can delay you in the process of getting to and through an airport. Don’t make your travel day more stressful than it needs to be, arrive early. If you get through everything on time you will be grateful to simply relax at your gate instead of having to run to it as you hear your name on the “last call before gate closes” announcement.
Choose carry-on luggage (if possible).
I have become a big fan of not checking in luggage. We often bring more than we actually need with us when we travel, and it becomes burdensome. So when possible, try to carry on instead of checking in. It saves time (no waiting for luggage at the end of your flight), money (the cost of checking in luggage continues to rise), and worry (you won’t lose your luggage). Make sure that you know the carry-on restrictions for your airline ahead of time since they do vary by airline. Here is a link breaking down the carry-on size restrictions for 150 different airlines.
Many airlines allow you to check in online before you arrive to the airport. If you decide to carry-on, you can simply skip the lines to check-in and walk straight to security with your boarding pass in hand. Easy peasy.
**This is also a good time to choose your seats ahead of time so you eliminate any frustration with not liking the seat you are assigned. Many airlines even allow you to choose seats at time of booking.
Make sure you have all proper documentation with you.
I once witnessed a man who had just finished checking in his luggage before realizing his wallet was in that luggage. Poor guy. Make sure your ID, boarding pass, passport, and other credentials are with you, secure, but readily accessible when going through the different checkpoints.
Be aware of TSA requirements.
TSA has become very strict with what they allow you to bring on a plane. It is a good idea to get familiar with these restrictions before packing if you aren’t already. Here is a helpful link with updated information regarding what you can and can’t bring to the airport with you.
Leave time to relax at your gate.
I love my home airport, Dulles International. It is very modern, comfortable, and clean. I secretly look forward to my time spent relaxing there and getting excited for my flight to come! Linking back to my first tip, it’s nice to have some time to relax before your flight. Fill up your water bottle, grab a tea, have a snack, and unwind. I’ve even used this time to make friends with fellow passengers when I am traveling alone!
Want some other tips to make your travel less stressful?
- Tips for Managing a Long Flight
- 6 Easy Tips for Saving Money on Airfare
- 5 Ways to Get Organized Before Your Trip
- Stay Comfy, My Friends
- How to Pack for Two Climates
What tips do you have for getting through an airport smoothly? Share below!