Looking to minimise your airport drama? Here are my tips for getting through the airport stress-free.
Photo by Erik Odiin
If you’re at all like me, you love the idea of travelling the world and seeing new places, but the bit in the middle, the part where you have to get from point A to point B, isn’t always your favourite. I’m often telling people how I don’t like the act of travelling — the taxis, buses, flights, queues, security checks — but love being somewhere new.
Because I’m not going to stop travelling, I’ve adapted. I’ve found ways to get myself to and through the airport with a limited amount of stress, setting me up for success when I land at my latest destination.
Here’s what you need to know to get through the airport stress-free.
1. Plan your route to the airport
Do some research about your route to get to the airport. A few questions you need to ask yourself:
- Is a taxi the best way to get to the airport?
- Are there buses or trains that can get you to the airport quicker than a taxi?
- What is the cost of all your transfer options and how do you buy a ticket?
- Do you need cash to purchase a ticket or can you buy one online ahead of time?
If you can, consider the route your taxi or bus will be taking and what traffic might be like at the time you’ll be commuting. I used to take a taxi from my office to Dublin airport for evening flights, but I would always be stuck in traffic trying to cross the river. To get around this issue, I started walking 10 minutes across the river and got a bus coming from another direction. This took me out of the traffic bottleneck on the bridges, and I was getting on the bus at one of the last stops before leaving the city centre. My transfer time was often a bit quicker, and far less stressful than sitting in traffic wondering if I’d miss my flight. This also cut the cost of my transfer from €30 down to €7!
2. Arrive to the airport early (enough)
I won’t be the one to tell you to arrive at the airport four hours early, but consider what time you’d like to arrive before you start your journey. How long will you need to get through the airport comfortably? One hour? Two hours? Having time after security, however long is up to you, will allow you to relax and get ready for your flight. If you add up the time it takes to buy a bottle of wine in duty free, get a snack and a bottle of water, browse the magazines, go to the washroom, walk to the gate … you could be there all day!
3. Print Your boarding pass
I’m all for the digital boarding passes, and saving trees, but there’s nothing as secure as having that hard copy boarding pass in hand. For some flights I have to print my boarding pass and do a visa check, so having it printed gives me peace of mind. It also saves you in the event of your phone battery dying after too much Candy Crush while waiting at the gate.
Photo by Nicole Harrington
4. Wear comfortable footwear for travelling
If you can run in heels, go for it! Whatever they look like, make sure your footwear is comfortable. Sometimes your first flight will be late and you’ll need to run through an airport with your luggage to catch your connection. Or perhaps the passport control line will be busier than usual and you find yourself dashing off to the gate in a cold sweat. The stress of knowing you won’t be able to run if you need to is nearly has bad as actually having to run to catch your flight.
5. Use the airport fast track security line
I used to feel like a bit of a diva paying for Fast Track security, but I now do it for every flight leaving Dublin airport. If my ticket allows me to purchase it for my return airport, I’ve often considered it depending on the size of the airport or the time of the flight. This is actually the top thing that helps me relax, knowing I won’t be stuck in security.
6. Put all your removable items in one place
Anything that you know you’ll need to remove from your bag at security should be easily accessible. Once you’ve gone through security you can rearrange your carry-on to whatever suits you best, but you’ll speed everything up if you’re ready to go when it’s your turn. This includes your bag of liquids, electronics, and laptops. When it’s my turn I drop my backpack in a tub, then remove liquids and laptops, fill a second tub with my coat and boots, and use a third tub if I have a wheely case. Voila!
Pro tip: if you’re not checking a bag and find yourself with too many bottles of liquids, try bringing two bags and putting one in each bin.
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski
7. Bring an empty water bottle
Most airports have water fountains, so bring an empty bottle to fill up once you get through security. This will save you a lot of money in the long run, and you won’t have to worry about running out as you board the plane.
8. Have an external battery for your phone
This is something I used to carry everywhere, but stopped when my last one stopped working. Of course that was the trip that I was out all day and my phone died right when I needed to find everyone. To avoid the stress of watching your battery steadily drop while you’re in transit, always make sure you have a fully charged external battery pack. This will ensure you’re always able to call home, find a taxi, or map out the address of your accommodation even when you don’t speak Greek.
9. Buy a lounge pass
Most airports now have pay-as-you-go lounges for those of us that don’t have gold status on British Airways. Many credit cards, including online banks like Revolut, offer concierge services, including discounted lounge passes. Depending on your travel style, using a lounge might be just what you need — some food, a drink (or three), and a place to decompress after surviving security. Treat yourself!
Photo by Resi Kling
10. Bring anything that will help you feel settled
This is up to you. What helps you relax? Or what would you rather avoid? I’m a bit of a germaphobe, so having cleansing wipes or hand sanitiser in my bag helps me feel okay about eating on the plane. This way I don’t have to worry about finding time to hop over the person in the aisle seat to wash my hands. I also wrote a blog about my carry-on essentials, these are all the things that help get me through a flight more comfortably.
What do you do to travel stress-free?
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