Travelling through the airport can be a really stressful experience, but it really doesn't have to be. These 10 simple tips will make your experience much more enjoyable.
1. Pack Light
This is essential and a lot of you already do this, but if you don’t it’s time to change the way you pack. Making this simple change will completely transform your experience at the airport. Whether you’re travelling for two days or two months you can survive with just carry-on luggage, I promise you. Unless you are travelling with something big such as a bike or guitar there is usually not a good enough reason to have to bring a checked bag with you on your trip. The time you will save alone, is reason enough to change today!
Nowadays its expected that you check-in online. So opting to not bring a checked bag means you do not need to go to the airline kiosk! You simply go straight through to security. That’s good for at least 15 minutes in saved time. You then save another 20-30 minutes on the other end not having to wait for your luggage on the carousel. That’s at least 45 minutes of saved time. Meaning you spend less time at the airport and more time enjoying your travel. Aside from the time that you save you also get several other benefits from not checking in a bag. You have peace of mind that your belongings won’t get lost or damaged. You are also more mobile and can travel more comfortably. Who really wants to do much exploring or moving when you have to lug a 50Kg luggage around with you?
2. Pack 2 days in advance
You always read about this and always think, “Yeah I’m going to do that”, but then never do. Well, start doing it! I can’t stress the importance of this enough. It makes packing so much easier and way less stressful. All it takes is setting your bathing suit, shorts, and miscellaneous beach wear aside. Things that you are not going to need in the next two days anyways. Dust off your luggage open it up and set it aside in the corner of your room. As you think of things start throwing them in. By the time it comes to leaving all you’ve got to do is zip up your suitcase and go. So simple, but so effective.
3. Record your travel info right after booking
Avoid having to scavenge through your emails. Odds are you’ve booked your trip months in advance. By this time hundreds of reminders, promotions, and correspondences will have flooded your inbox. Recording your travel info right after booking makes tracking down your booking reference, flight time, and terminal number so much easier. This also makes online check in a lot quicker and more efficient. And once you're checked in, there’s no need to worry about rushing to the airline kiosk on arrival to the airport.
4. Never travel on an empty stomach
If your basic needs aren’t meet, you’re going to undoubtedly be more prone to stress. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get 'hangry'. So do yourself a favour and have a good meal before starting your journey. If you absolutely must skip out on a meal at least bring some easy snacks with you. This way when you feel the monster taking over you can grab something quickly to subdue the hangry beast inside you.
5. Avoid morning flights
Of course this isn’t always possible, but where you can always book an afternoon or evening flight. This relates to the point above, if your basic need of sleep isn't being met, you're much more prone to stress and anxiety on the big day. Who really wants to wake up 3 hours before their 7am flight and wiz through the airport on only 4 hours of sleep? Not us, that’s for sure. Also booking an evening flight will help avoid jet lag in some cases. You’re more likely to get some shut eye on a night flight compared to a morning or afternoon flight. I love getting some solid sleep on the plane and having the whole day at our destination.
6. Arrive early
This is a given, but you always have those who never consider their train being delayed, hitting traffic, or queing for an hour at security. Arriving early helps avoid any stress related to time. Plus it gives you time for a nice cup of coffee and a bit of duty free shopping. Rachel hates arriving early to the airport, so I always sweeten her up with some kind of new makeup product from the duty free shop.
7. Sweeten up airport officials
Suck up your pride and be overly cooperative and nice to airport officials, especially at security. Nine out of ten times you’re going to bump into a moody airline employee or power tripping security personnel. Avoid getting into any altercations with them, as hard as it might be. Just bite your tongue. I find being super cooperative and asking how their day's going really goes a long way. The amount of times I’ve gotten through security with too much liquids or a tripod that is an inch or two over regulation are much higher because of this. I always travel with valuable camera equipment that I would hate to check, and not giving security a reason to give me a hard time is so important and is worth the brown nose! Also, a lot of the times my personal carry on item (which is my GoPro Seeker Bag) is usually a bit bigger than the prescribed dimensions. Sweeting up the airline hostess has gotten me out of having to check my luggage on more than one occasion!
8. Book seats at the back of the plane
This is key, especially for getting the full benefit of travelling with only carry-on luggage. If you book seats that are closer to the back of the airplane you’re more likely to be boarded first. This is important so that you get your bag into the overhead compartment. On smaller flights this is especially important as the overhead bins always fill up quickly. Also, booking your seat at the back of the plane means you can sit and relax at the gate while all the other silly folk are queing up to get on the plane. All you’ve got to do is sit back and relax. Once they call your zone, walk past all of the suckers in zone 1 and 2 who have been annoyingly standing for the past 30 minutes. Be sure to stay far enough from the lavatory at the back though! Getting a whiff of someone's business after an airplane meal is never pleasant!
9. Just worry about one thing
When it comes to packing I’ve got a simple mantra, “The most important thing is my passport, and I’ve got it.” That little document is all you really need at the end of the day. Everything else can be replaced or purchased on the other end. As long as you’ve got your passport and you keep it safe you can have peace of mind. Don’t worry about the iPhone cable you might have forgotten and reassure your partner that the eyebrow brush she forgot at home isn’t the end of the world.
10. Check out our post '10 Airport Travel Tips From Our Favourite Travel Bloggers'
You don't want to miss out on this one! Our favourite travel bloggers share their best tips for making the airport experience much less stressful!