By Mark Gray
Airports, filled with security checks, gate closing times, delays and cancellations, can be one of the most stressful locations we visit throughout our lives. In fact, 21% of people worry about their flights being delayed or cancelled when they get to the airport. However, a visit to the airport doesn’t have to be the stressful start to your holiday that it seems. These simple tips can make your airport experience a little more stress-free, so you only have to worry about getting to the gate on time.
Keep travel documents within reach
There are several instances throughout the typical airport experience that will require you to have your travel documents out and ready to scan, from check-in to boarding. For this reason, it is important that these documents are kept somewhere that is easy to access at short notice. Try putting your passport, boarding pass, visas and other travel documents in one easy-to-reach pouch, preventing you from getting stressed when fumbling around in the bottom of your bag.
Take a photo of your parking spot
Airport car parks can be huge and hard to navigate, especially when you get back from your trip tired after a long flight. Make life easier and lower your stress levels by taking a picture on your phone of where you’re parked (usually there will be a designated number or letter for your level and row). You could also take note of any notable landmarks near your space. With one less thing to think about, you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday with a clear mind.
Remember all your in-flight essentials
Any pro flyer knows that there are several items that will make your flight so much more comfortable and relaxing (just make sure they meet the hand luggage restrictions). These items vary from person to person and in different situations: a neck pillow and flight socks can be advantageous for long-haul flights, hand creams and lip balms help fight airplane dryness, and a hand sanitiser is always recommended for protection against harmful bacteria. Whichever in-flight essentials you decide to take with you, keep them in one separate bag that you can take out before putting your hand luggage in the overhead bin.
Make your suitcase stand out
This is a beneficial step for all areas of travel, but will prove especially helpful when collecting your case from the baggage hall. Whether your suitcase is entirely generic or is in a bright colour or pattern – there is always the risk that someone else will have the same one and could take yours by accident. Add some decoration to your suitcase to make it stand out. This could be a bit of ribbon tied securely to the handle or some stickers. Some travellers also choose to put a tracker on their suitcase so that there is no risk of losing it.
Pack an empty water bottle
This isn’t something that many travellers consider, but it’s something that can make your airport experience so much easier. Whether you take a flask or simply an empty plastic water bottle, pack it in your hand luggage and once you are through security you will be able to fill it up at a public water fountain. This will help you save time as you won’t need to queue up at a shop. It will also make sure you stay hydrated throughout your flight. Just make sure it’s empty when you go through security so they don’t make you throw it in the bin.
Turn left at security checkpoints
Security queues can be one of the most stressful parts of any holiday, but studies have found that travellers are more likely to choose right-hand lanes at security checkpoints. Choosing the left lane instead could save a bit of time as it may be the less popular choice. Obviously, you don’t always have the luxury of choosing for yourself, but when you do, go left!
Chargers and adapters
Phones and laptops are popular additions to hand luggage. These days boarding passes can be on our phones, meaning it needs to be fully charged throughout the process. It is always a good idea to keep a phone charger that can be easily accessed in your hand luggage, allowing you to keep your phone on hand for accessing travel documents, looking at maps and entertaining yourself with music or podcasts. Usually, airport seating is fitted with plug and USB chargers, making it easy to charge your mobile devices even if you don’t have the correct plug or adapter. With that in mind, it can be helpful to have an adapter on hand for the country you’re in or where you are going, so you’re never left unable to charge.
Flying can be a stressful time, but following these simple tips can help keep stress levels as low as possible, allowing you to settle down and relax before your flight!