Summertime air travel is expected to increase 3.4% over last year, and while the destination can be the reward, what about making the journey more enjoyable as well? Most of the stress of air travel is just a matter of surrendering your time to the process of getting there. For many, this begins by dealing with finding joy and gratitude in getting ready, getting to the airport, and getting on the plane.
The Night Before Your Flight
You’re all packed and have checked in online, now take some time to plan your travel outfit the night before you leave. No matter how long your flight, you want to be comfortable, so choose your softest, most breathable clothes. Keep in mind the difference between casual Friday and looking like you spent the last three weeks painting your house – you never know who you might run into at the airport. Being comfortable and looking put together also makes you “look the part” of someone who enjoys travel, which can add a bit more fun to your journey and might even get you some travel perks. If you’re on an international flight, consider packing a change of shirt, underwear and some deodorant wipes, so you can feel a bit more refreshed when you deplane.
Commuting To the Airport
Many of us have had the experience of rushing to the airport, hoping we don’t miss the flight and make the trip even more stressful and expensive. So, one of the best things you can do is allow yourself ample time to travel to the airport. Think of ways you can save yourself time like showering the night before, packing everything you’ll need in your carryon, from a snack to your passport, and if you’re a morning snoozer, try setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier. If you live in a big city, you need to plan ahead for traffic and unexpected delays like an accident or a freeway closure – even if you are taking a cab or rideshare. If you are driving yourself, don’t forget to plan time for finding a parking spot and grabbing a shuttle to the terminal. The worst thing that could happen if you plan ahead, is that you’ll arrive at the airport so early you’ll actually have time to meander through security and maybe check a few emails before boarding even begins.
Before You Board
Even inside the airport there is still traffic – the foot kind. Whether you’re checking bags or headed straight to security, be sure your boarding pass and i.d. are handy. If you planned your travel outfit the night before, hopefully you’re wearing slip on shoes, minimal jewelry and pants that don’t need a belt. These simple steps can really help you breeze through security.
If you’ve given yourself ample time to arrive at the airport, and have made it through security, you have the option of exploring some of the airport’s comfort options, like restaurants, lounges, televised news & sports, and (if you’re lucky) massage stations. O’Hare in Chicago has a light show along the moving sidewalk. Austin’s airport will give you a flavor of the city. JFK in Queens has a view of the Manhattan skyline. You can ask if the airport has an observation deck or if you’re on a stopover from an international flight, if the airport has showers. Be sure to pack your headphones and ask if there’s an airport audio streaming system for the televisions around the terminal. A wireless streaming solution that transmits television audio to your smartphone can ensure you hear every word of what’s on screen to help you pass the time while waiting for your flight.
Finally, be sure to pack some breath mints or pick some up at one of the shops in the terminal. Once you’re finally on the plane, you can offer one to your seatmate as an ice breaker.