I remember my first flight a couple of years ago and how anxious I was. I was ready to give up my trip just because I was so scared of flying. But thanks to this anxiety, I built the perfect checklist of tips that can make you feel totally calm and comfortable during this weird experience. Do you realise you are hundreds of feet away from the ground while the gravity is pulling down this huge metallic thing? Totally weird. So yeah… Travelling can be a stressful event, and aeroplane travel is on top of the list of the stressors that we experience on what is supposed to be an exciting and fun event. If I have to be honest I prefer flying than driving a car, but this is another topic :D In this article, I will share with you my simple steps that can help you achieve completely stress-free flight!
Things to do before travel day:
- Pack your bags. Make sure all your packing is done at least the night before and that you have all your bags in one central location for easy and complete loading into your car or taxi.
- Have all your travel paperwork organised and in one central location.
- Make a checklist of all the things you want to check to secure your home before you leave and walk through your home, checking off each item. Do this at least an hour before you leave your house. Do this, and you will never worry if you left your stove on or any of the other little nagging worries you might have while on your travel.
- Check on your boarding cart or call the Airport and airline the day before to see how early the recommend you should arrive for a smooth, stress-free check-in. Most of the time it is 3 hours prior to the flight. So if they tell you to arrive three hours early and you arrive just 30 minutes early, you will probably feel significant stresses about missing your flight. Also, ask if there are any parking restrictions you should be aware of. Ask/find out when the gate is closing as well. So you know what the absolute minimum of time you have available is. For me – I prefer to be at least the recommended 3hrs early even though I have to wait just to make sure I won’t stress out and panic.
- If you are only taking carry on luggage, many airlines let you pre-check in online 24 hours(or more) before your flight. That means that you can get and print out boarding passes right from your home. And when you get to the airport, you can go directly to the gate and your boarding area without getting into the long check-in line. If you have to check in baggage, you will not have this option available to you. But if not, it is a great time and stress saver.
Things to do on Travel day:
- Leave home in plenty of time to anticipate busy traffic or accident situations. If it is an hour trip to get to the airport, you may want to leave an extra half hour early just in case there are road problems.
- If you are checking in bags, be prepared to wait in line. If it is a busy time of day at the airport and you are travelling with a popular airline, there could be a significant line. Don’t worry about how long the line is. As long as you arrived when the airport recommended, you will have plenty of time to make it to the front of the line and get checked in. It may look impossible, but it will happen, so just relax and be patient.
- Make sure that any carry-on baggage really is carry on. Otherwise, you may get stopped at the gate and have your bag taken away to be stowed with the regular luggage. It will delay and stress you. And it will slow everyone else. Especially if you are flying with a low rate airline make sure you check their luggage allowance. They change their limitations pretty often.
- When boarding the plane, find your seat and stow your carry on baggage quickly. And then sit down and stay out of the way. There are lots of people trying to do the same thing, and we’ve all encountered the folks who block the aisle for a long time fussing about something while a massive line of people is forced to wait. You don’t want to be one of those folks. So just get your business done quickly and efficiently and sit down. You’ll have plenty of time to get up once the plane is in the air.
- If you have to change planes, it can be a real challenge, especially in the larger airports. If you know the gate you will have to go to, ask the flight attendant for advice to reach that gate quickly. In some airports, it can take you up to 30 minutes to get from one gate to another. If you know in advance how you have to get to your next aeroplane, it will be much less chaotic when you get off the first plane. And a much more relaxing walk (or run) to your next gate. Don’t be shy to ask anyone working at the airport for more info – one time I had to ask the cleaning man for directions but after that, I was way calmer. If you have a problem with the language just show your boarding pass and they will direct you right away.
- When the plane lands, patiently wait your turn. Whether you push or just wait, you usually won’t get off the plane any quicker. People tend to let the folks in the rows before them get up and go in a pretty orderly fashion. Trying to rush it will only get your blood pressure up and will not be looked upon favourably by your fellow travellers.
- If you just have carry on baggage, you have successfully completed a pretty stress-free flight.
- But if you have checked in luggage, there is one more step – waiting for it. Just pick a place around the conveyor belt and wait. Expect your bag to be the very last one to come out and be pleasantly surprised when it comes out early.
By following these simple steps, you will find that your stress levels from your air travels will be much less. I know they sound too simple and logical and maybe you already use some of them but it’s the little things in life, you know. A well-planned trip agenda ensures that those little stress points stay low-stress points and don’t balloon into a full-blown crisis. Try it, and you will be amazed how just a small amount of up-front planning dramatically improves the enjoyment of your travel.
And there we have them – all the tips you need for a stress-free flight! Do you have your own little secrets for staying calm? Share them with me in the comments below!
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