Airports aren’t exactly known for tranquil atmospheres. But you can design your own stress-free airport experience by employing a few simple strategies.
Your first line of defense in a stress-free airport experience is underpacking. Although you don’t want to pack so lightly you don’t have what you need, it’s essential just to pack the basics. Think about a capsule wardrobe that mixes and matches together and multipurpose shoes and jackets to get everything into a single suitcase that fits in the overhead bin. If you can’t fathom the idea of underpacking, arrive early and check your luggage at the curb.
You’ll destroy your chances of a stress-free airport experience if you arrive late. Focus on arriving early, and not just on time, to maximize your airport experience and turn it into a leisurely experience. But remember to slow down. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaotic airport energy and rush even if there’s no need to.
Look for Airport Hacks
Depending on your city and airport, there could be hacks you can leverage to reduce your stress. For starters, look to smaller regional airports that might be farther away but offer more significant savings and less bustle. The security line may also offer little known shortcuts from arriving with kids in strollers to pre-joining a paid TSA PreCheck program. You end up with access to special lines that may skip the need to remove shoes, and that offers access to a special line that allows you to skip unpacking laptops, liquids, belts or light jackets.
Indulge in a Lounge Pass
Factor in the cost of a day pass to an airport lounge in your travel budget and plan to luxuriate. Arrive early enough to enjoy some quiet, get caught up on emails and indulge in free snacks and drinks. And in some parts of the world, airport lounges even come with small, private rooms to catch a snooze.
Find a Quiet Spot
If indulging in an airport lounge pass doesn’t make sense for your travel plans, find a quiet spot instead. Look for empty gates near your boarding area, an uncrowded pub, or a quiet corridor to stretch out and relax. The more peace and quiet you can find, the less likely you are to stress.
Explore at Your Leisure
Sometimes the best way to de-stress is to give yourself the freedom to explore. Airports often make us feel like we’re on lock-down sitting in a noisy, hot boarding area. Arrive early and explore the shops, restaurants and pubs at your leisure and indulge in a magazine or a cold beer to unwind. You’ll arrive refreshed and ready to fly while the rest of the crowd starts their journey on edge.
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