Airports can be busy, stressful places, and there’s nothing worse than feeling flustered when you’ve got an early morning flight to catch. The mood you’re in at the airport can set the tone for your entire trip, so the less stressed you are, the better!
Flying by plane is an amazing convenience but getting through security checkpoints and to your gate can certainly take its toll on even the most seasoned of travellers. The good news is that there are several things that you can do when planning your trip to make sure that you have an enjoyable airport experience. Here’s what to do to avoid stress at the airport.
#1. Be Prepared
The key to minimising stress at the airport lies in how prepared you are before you set off. Get all your packing done the night before and write a checklist of ‘last minute’ items that you’ll need just before you leave, for example, your toothbrush and smartphone charger.
It’s a good idea to invest in a luggage scale so that you can be extra sure that your suitcases won’t go over the weight limit and cause you any extra stress at the check-in desk. If your airline allows it, check in online – this can be especially useful if you’re travelling with just a carry-on bag since you’ll be able to fly straight through security as soon as you arrive.
If your airline provides a smartphone app, download it. You can use it for quickly finding your gate number and keeping up to date with the status of your flight.
#2. Arrive Early
You might not be thrilled at the idea of killing time in an airport terminal, but it’s certainly better than rushing to your gate at the last minute. Running late to the airport is a recipe for stress, as you never know if there’s going to be traffic on the journey there, or long queues at security leaving you with mere minutes to board.
Arriving at least two to three hours before your departure time and allowing thirty minutes to one hour for traffic on the way will ensure that you get there with plenty of time to spare; long queues at security won’t bother you at all.
#3. Book Your Parking Beforehand
If you’re travelling to the airport in your own car, it’s highly recommended to book your parking beforehand. Not only will this mean that you won’t have to waste time searching for a suitable spot, you’ll also find that it’s cheaper when you book in advance.
At Birmingham Airport, for example, you can book a range of different parking options from meet and greet to valet parking, so you can return to a clean, fresh car too. If your flight leaves at an early hour, consider Birmingham parking at a nearby hotel, so you can enjoy a good sleep instead of leaving your home in the middle of the night.
Whether you’re looking for a regular parking space or something with added extras, be sure to book your Birmingham airport parking as early as possible to benefit from the best rates.
#4. Take a Packed Lunch
There’s nothing worse than queuing up at security, only to have to queue again at an airport restaurant, bar or café afterwards simply to get a bite to eat. The good news is that at UK airports, it’s perfectly acceptable to bring snacks and certain foods through in your hand luggage.
As long as it doesn’t contain liquid – soup probably isn’t a good idea – you’ll be good to go. So, if you’re flying at a particularly busy time of day and you’re going to be hungry, you’ll be glad of a sandwich – and you won’t have to pay expensive airside prices either. Don’t forget that you’ll find water filling stations in the terminal, too, so take a reusable bottle with you and stay hydrated.
#5. Be Prepared for Delays
Whilst airline staff do all that they can to prevent delays, sadly it sometimes simply can’t be helped. So, the more prepared you are to wait, the better. Sometimes you may find that after arriving a few hours early for your flight, you’re forced to wait even longer. In this case, don’t forget that you may be entitled to food and drinks vouchers, too – it’s always worth asking!
But, the waiting part is certainly the most boring and stressful, so it’s a good idea to have something on hand to do. Bring a selection of movies to watch on your iPhone or tablet or have a playlist ready to listen to through your headphones. A good book is always an excellent way to pass the time, or download a selection of reads to your Kindle or iBooks app.
We’d love to know if these tips helped you have a better airport experience!