I didn’t have great luck flying home from vacation. We know that now.
Still, there are a lot of things you can do to make your trip to the airport stress-free.
Here’s what I do to keep myself in check.
- Plan ahead…pandemic edition
Right now, the pandemic is kinda killing all my travel vibes. Went from 100 to 0 to back to 100 real quick.
If you’re still looking to get out there, I strongly recommend doing some covid research on your destination. Is there a high transmission rate? What’s the vaccination rate? Is vaccination required anywhere? Will you have to wear a mask?
It helps you make a more educated decision on where you want to go. I use these maps to track different transmission levels all around New York.
Now I get it. This isn’t everyone’s priority. Never thought this might be a “controversial” take. I still think it’s a good thing to keep in mind for the time being. Help keep you and your loved ones healthy. *gets off soapbox*
- Pack it up
You booked your flight, and now you’re itching to go. I never step on a plane without my personal carry-on full of these things.
- Chargers: let’s not carry around a dead phone.
- Headphones: drown out the engine sounds with some relaxing tunes, or whatever you’re into.
- A book: for when you don’t have internet on the flight (or don’t want to pay for it, like me)
- A sweater, jacket, sweatshirt: because planes get cold that high up in the sky.
- Wallet, ID, passport: keep it on you in a safe place. This is the last thing I want to lose.
- Water bottle: keep it empty to get through TSA, but fill it up before boarding. Hydration is key!
- Some sort of snack: because yum!
- Mask: still required on public transportation and in all airports. Maybe bring a back-up if one gets gross.
- Get to the airport…on time
It’s here! It’s time to go! Before you head out that door – check into your flight. Technology sure is something nowadays. I have found it’s so much easier to check in online and download my boarding pass to my phone compared to standing in line at the airport.
Not all passes will automatically download. There are catches, like with some international flights or basic economy tickets (how dare you tell me how big my bag should be!) Checking in online still makes the process a lot smoother in my experience…and you don’t have to worry about that line.
The age-old question: when to get to the airport? Personally, I like getting there at least an hour and a half before boarding. Depending on the size of the airport, you may want more time. I will always take two hours sitting outside a gate over two minutes to sprint before they close the gate.
Especially now with TSA lines growing, being early is so much more beneficial. Now you can check wait times online. Which brings me to…
- Get through security
First of all, the amount of bare feet I have seen in airports? Disgusting. Appalling. Repulsive.
Please for the love of God, when you go to the airport, wear socks and shoes. Why would you want to walk around barefoot in such a crowded space! I will never understand!
It’s so much easier to pack flip-flops compared to sneakers. Save some space in your bag and wear the freaking sneakers. I don’t need your feet germs near me.
Getting through security should be a breeze. My hot tip: don’t overdo it. I know, crazy coming from me.
- Stick to a simple outfit. We want to be comfortable on a flight.
- Keep your bags organized. I would recommend putting your (SEALED) liquids or electronics at the top of your bag, so you’re not reorganizing your life while everyone else waits to get their things. Or maybe you’ll luck out and won’t have to take them out at all!
- Also don’t pack your entire life. Easier said than done.
- Chill out
This is for all the anxious flyers (ahem, me). You will board your flight, you will get to your destination, you will land in one piece. But just in case plans change….
- Have a back-up plan
This is a new one for me. Call it learning from experience.
We can’t predict the future (no matter how badly I want to). Sometimes the weather stinks, the pilot doesn’t show, or something else causes the plane to stay grounded. If you’re looking at some iffy conditions, figure out a plan B as far ahead as you can.
- Renting a car: good option if you don’t mind a road trip, but doesn’t really work if it’s an international flight…
- See what other airlines are offering: definitely can get pricey, but plane hopping could work
- Check out hotels: obviously not what you want if you just want to reach your destination/get back home. Still, if you’re in an unfamiliar area, might want to consider something more comfortable than sleeping in than the airport
- Go home and try again the next day: when all else fails: try, try again.
No one likes when plans don’t work in their favor, but it could bring you peace of mind knowing what to do…just in case!
- Enjoy the trip
Yes, the airport can be stressful. It can be challenging. It can just be not a good time.
But you get to travel somewhere! Maybe somewhere new! You won’t have to drive long hours! You can see your destination from the sky! The benefits of flying sure are sweet.
I hope these little tips make your next flying experience a little less stressful. Anything I missed? Let me know! I like having a checklist before I go…if you couldn’t already tell.
Who knows? Maybe my next adventure is around the corner…