There are a lot of stressors that come with traveling. For those who drive, you can control only so many things, and that’s what you do as a driver. But airport travel has many different variables that are hard to prepare for. It creates a “hurry up and wait” travel cycle that is often frustrating and stressful.
The waiting may be the worst part. But everyone seemingly has a computer in their pockets, with cell phones becoming mini-computers with access to anything at a moment’s notice. People can fire up an online casino, games, music, podcasts, and more.
Traveling alone maybe isn’t as stressful. It can be peaceful once you pass through security as there is a humbling peace of mind knowing that you’ve done everything possible to be there on time. Bigger parties create more stress, especially for families with young children. There is extra packing, carrying the luggage, allowing for extra time to get through security, and several other factors.
Here are some tips on traveling through an airport.
Planning ahead of time is the best way to ensure a seamless transition through the airport and onto the plane. Getting bags packed the night before is recommended, no matter when the flight is scheduled for. Getting the bags into the vehicle is also great so that the family just has to be loaded up and can be on their way.
But also checking travel times the day before to see how long it takes to get to the airport is important. For those not packing, scheduling rideshare – whether a taxi, Uber, or Lyft – ahead of time and ensuring a vehicle large enough for the traveling party is also essential.
Have toiletries in a spot that is easy to pull out when going through security. Or, for those who frequently travel, sign up for TSA precheck to allow for a smoother transition through security and quicker times to avoid the long lines.
Finding the gate
There is a joke that people can’t do anything at an airport until they check where their gate is. But it is actually very important to do so, especially for those who arrive more than an hour before their flights. It’s possible that the gate changed due to the availability and travel schedules of other planes. It also familiarizes those who may be in an airport for the first time due to a layover or traveling on a return trip from a new destination.
It also allows people to see what is around for things to do.
Ensuring electronics are charged before getting to the airport is key. That will allow children to be occupied while waiting to board the flight. It’s also key for adults who will listen to music or podcasts. They can curate their playlists with their favorite artists, songs, and genres ahead of time to relax.
Most airports have undergone renovations aimed at being more family-friendly. Some airports will have a children’s area with different toys and slides to keep children occupied, but that is usually for younger children.
For adults, there are several options to kill time. Breweries will often have a place in their local airport. But there are also wine bars and other restaurants with bartenders willing to share their wealth of knowledge.
Airports are notorious for how expensive they are, so sometimes going by the windows is sufficient for shoppers. But they also have unique things to commemorate a trip that can be small and fit in a suitcase or extra bag.
There have even been designer stores in airports for those looking to make a splash purchase. Knowing how traveling can be with the frequency of flight delays has allowed airports and stores to capitalize on those who have layovers or hurry to the airport to play the waiting game.
Of course, there are great games on phones and other handheld devices. But bringing a board game is a fun way to kill time when traveling in larger groups. Have a long layover? Whip out monopoly and see who conquers the game before the flight.