9 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity at the Airport
For some people, the mere act of setting foot into an airport is enough to trigger a headache. The crowds, the security line ups, the rushing from gate to gate—it’s no wonder why people get so stressed out at the airport. Some unpleasant factors are inevitable—yep, we’re looking at you, security line—but there are plenty of things you can do to help you maintain your sanity at the airport. Try these tips out; you’ll thank us later.
If you have a tendency to wait until the last possible minute to start packing, it’s time to develop some new habits. Packing at least a day before you go will help you feel calm and organized the day of the trip. This is one aspect that you have complete control over, so no excuses.
Invest in a Luggage Scale
Pro tip: buy a luggage scale to keep with you at home. Go online and check your airline’s policies regarding weight limits. Weigh your suitcases before you leave. If your luggage is too heavy, you can unpack and rearrange stuff in the comfort of your own home instead of scrambling on the floor of the airport.
Brush Up on the Policies
While you’re on the airline’s website, check out the rest of their policies, too. Know what you can and can’t pack, what dimensions your suitcases can be, and any other quirky rules and regulations they might have. Prevention is the key here.
Dress for Success
No, that doesn’t mean you have to wear a power suit to the airport. Choosing your outfit ahead of time can help make things easier on yourself. For instance, hiking boots can be a pain to lace and unlace while you’re going through security, as can strappy sandals. Aim for clothes that are comfortable and not restrictive.
If you’re still living in the age of paper tickets that get mashed and folded in your pocket, you need to take advantage of technological advances. When possible, check in online; many airlines allow you to check in up to 24 hours in advance. Choose to get your pass sent to your mobile phone instead of printed out. Keep a note in your phone with reservation codes, reference numbers, and anything else you might to look up quickly while you’re on the go.
Timing is Everything
Think carefully about what stresses you out at the airport. Is it the fact that you always feel like you’re in a mad rush? If so, the fix is easy: get there earlier. It’s surprising how much less hectic things feel when time is on your side. If you’re relying on someone else to give you a ride to the airport, tell them you need to be there an hour before you actually do to save on stress from tardiness and traffic.
On the other hand, if you find yourself bored to tears while you wait for the plane, you might need to ramp up your entertainment. Pick up a copy of a new book, and don’t let yourself flip it open until you’re at your airport gate. Bring a good pair of headphones and download a movie you’ve been dying to see on your laptop. Take advantage of audiobooks, magazines, even grown-up coloring books; the possibilities are endless.
Seek Some Alone Time
Instead of waiting at your crowded gate for hours, take a walk around the airport. Look for out-of-the-way gates that aren’t being used, or seating that is away from gates entirely. There are often quiet places to relax inside the airport, you just have to seek them out. Just don’t forget to set an alarm to remind yourself to head back to your gate.
Ask for Help
Frustrated because you can’t find your gate? Losing your mind because you can’t find a place to grab a snack? Relax and ask for help. Look for an information booth or ask any employee to help you out; that’s what they’re there for.
If you’re dealing with an unpleasant situation (cancelled flights, for instance), keep your cool when dealing with staff. Employees are usually more willing to work with you if you’re kind, and being rude will get you absolutely nowhere. A little patience and a lot of respect can go a long way.
Magee Walker was a late bloomer to the snowboard scene, but thankfully discovered the joys of the sport after moving to Vancouver and spending weekends in Whistler. She’s now lucky enough to call Whistler her full-time home and spends her days conquering the mountain, by foot in the summer and by snowboard boot in the winter.