Time spent in the airport when traveling can be the worst part of a vacation because of long lines and the number of hours spent waiting.
Below are 6 tips to make your airport experience tolerable, maybe even enjoyable.
Mind Your Manners
This section should really go without saying; however, it is a big part of what can help your airport experience. Keep in mind that the airport staff and flight attendants are real people, too. They cater to thousands of people each day. More than likely they are stressed out, tired, and irritated with rude travelers. Be polite to these people and it will go a long way!
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Develop a navigation plan prior to leaving home. Know exactly what lot you should use for parking or where you can be dropped off by family the easiest. Understand where you will need to go inside the airport for immigration and security check points and do these first! These lines often times can take an hour or more. It is also important to have a navigation plan for the airport in your destination city. Your experience will go smoother if you are educated on where you should go and have an idea of how to get there.
Always have a Plan B! Flight delays are always a possibility and you will be more at ease if you already have a plan b in mind. Purchasing travel insurance is a great way to be prepared financially for delays, unexpected expenses, and circumstances. You can also do research online about area accommodations and attractions. Be sure to print off any pertinent information that might come in handy in a pinch (just in case your smart phone service isn’t up to par).
Because there is a lot of down time spent waiting it is important to pack entertainment for you and your family. Waiting in line is a great time to listen to an audio book… this entertains you but allows you to be attentive to your surroundings. For your kiddos, it is a great time to watch a movie and eat a snack (anything to occupy them!). After immigration and security, it is time to relax a little bit. Become familiar with your airport amenities and take advantage of sharing a meal together, working out at the fitness center or even get a massage while waiting on your flight. This is also a great time to play games such as ‘I spy’ or create a scavenger hunt so you can incorporate some exercise before boarding.
Packing is one of the most difficult tasks of traveling. The best advice is to pack as compact and light as possible when flying. Be sure to adhere to the size and weight regulations first and foremost. Then be sure you are capable of carrying ALL of your luggage, comfortably with no help. Carry-on bags should be packed in layers based on what you will need and when you will need it. The very top layer should be a clear plastic bag with your liquids, gels, and aerosols inside so it can be inspected quickly (be sure all of these items are the appropriate sizes based on flight requirements). The next item in your carry-on should be an on flight necessity bag. In a small cosmetic bag pack everything you need during the flight (gum, contact solution, eye glasses, toothbrush, motion sickness medicine, etc.). Upon boarding your flight, take out your necessity bag, headphones, iPod, book, etc. and place the items in the seat pouch in front of you. Everything else can go in the overhead compartment to give you more room during the flight.