Lots of us get a little tense before travelling and, in particular, flying and it’s not always anxiety about the actual flight itself. It doesn’t matter how many times you check your passport, it’s always in the same place you put it, but you always have to check, right? And keep checking, and keep checking, even before you leave your house!
If you recognise that all too clearly, relax because you are not alone. Airport Anxiety is actually a real thing which many hundreds, if not thousands, of travellers suffer from, even those who fly regularly! Everyone wants their airport transition to be stress-free and simple, but deep down there is that ingrained fear that something will go wrong.
Fear not, because there are lots of things that you can do to alleviate your anxiety with a little forward planning:
Research in advance
Advance planning is absolutely the best way to stave off any travel stress.
- Speak to your travel agent and make a note of check-in times and any luggage information. They can also inform you of the procedures and requirements at your destination airport.
- If you are still not completely sure contact the airline and find out the current regulations for luggage size, weights and restrictions.
- Go online and check out the layout of the departure airport so you know where your airline check-in desk is located.
- Print out a map so that you know where your pre-booked car park is located.
- Book your onward transportation – knowing you have your car rental or coach tickets, etc. will stop you feeling so anxious about the arrival sequence.
Arrive at the airport in good time
Most airlines recommend you arrive two to three hours before your flight. If you are flying long-haul you need to be at the airport three hours beforehand.
- Rather than building yourself up into a frenzy every time the traffic lights change to red, leave extra time – even small delays will feed your fears.
- Consider pre-booking your airport transfers rather than driving. Most airport localities are surrounded by busy road networks so let a seasoned professional take the strain.
- Start your holiday a day early and stay at an airport hotel the night before.
- If you arrive too early for check-in make sure you stay active rather than sitting around – there will be cafes, restaurants and shops to explore. Don’t forget you will be sitting for long enough once you get on that plane.
- There can be long queues at check-in:
- If you have travelling with small children plan a few games that they can play whilst waiting. I-Spy, Alphabet Hunt, etc. A quick internet search in advance should offer up lots of suggestions.
- Take a selection of snacks and drinks just in case there are delays, particularly useful if you are travelling with children.
- Keep extra supplies of any prescription medications with you in your carry-on bag. If you get delayed, either at check-in or afterwards, you will have ample medication with you.
There will probably be a pretty long wait before boarding begins so why not enjoy this time:
- Treat yourself to a nice meal but go easy on the alcohol. Flying can dehydrate you and excess alcohol will amplify both the effects of dehydration and any underlying stress.
- If you are travelling with youngsters why not go and find the children’s play area. They can work off some of their energy whilst you relax and watch them have fun.
- Pre-book an airport lounge – for a small fee you could enjoy the comfort, the entertainment and the complimentary food and drink. The lounges are often near to the boarding gates and the close proximity may help to calm pre-flight nerves.
The alternative to intensive planning
If none of the above preparation helps to relieve your anxiety there are other options:
- Research some Relaxation Techniques – there are plenty of internet sites which offer advice and relevant breathing techniques but if you would prefer professional help book a session with a therapist. They can teach you how to channel your breathing to avoid a build-up of stress.
- When all else fails to calm you then book an appointment with your GP and discuss the use of appropriate prescription drugs when travelling – low dosage relaxants can make the world of difference to your stress level.
Remember that anything that you do that is even slightly out of your normal routine is bound to make you feel a little jittery so suffering a few butterflies is absolutely normal. Following these simple steps and being well prepared should make you feel far less anxious and just leave you feeling excited about your forthcoming trip. Hopefully, once you have enjoyed one stress-free experience you will be rushing to book your next fabulous holiday experience.