18 Tips For a Stress-Free Flight
As the old adage goes, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Well, with modern air travel that could not be more wrong. Now, I know the Wright brothers would probably roll over in their graves if they heard how much we all gripe about modern air travel. It’s odd how the miracle of human flight is a modern convenience we take for granted. However, for most people flying today is not an enjoyable experience.
You have to book the trip, plan ahead, pack, get to the airport, go through security, get to your gate, hope for no delays, fly, land, get your luggage, find transportation, and then repeat it all again at the end of your trip. Just thinking about the whole experience gives me anxiety and stress. Not to mention the seats are legitimately getting smaller…
So we’ve put together a list of ways to help ease the stress and worry of traveling. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your trip and the incredible experience of flight!
1) Look up the method and route that you will need to take when getting to the airport so that you allow yourself enough time. Make sure to account for time of day and traffic as well.
2) Use a flight aggregator to compare flights quickly and easily to find the best option for you. Here are some that we use regularly (Skyscanner, Kayak, and Skiplagged) to find the best flights. Note that on some of these services Southwest, Delta, and other airlines may not show up.
3) Make sure that if you are going to have a layover, you leave yourself enough time just in case of a delay. No one wants to be the one running through the airport (unless absolutely necessary, looking at you McCallister family).
4) Sign up for text or email alerts for your flight so that you will be in the know right away if anything changes.
5) Use a frequent flyer number for every airline. Yes, every airline – even ones you use infrequently. This will always help you recover your reservation more easily and build up travel miles. Make sure to take advantage of those free benefits.
6) Buy travel insurance if you are unsure you’ll be able to make it to your flight. That extra $20 now could save you hundreds in the future and give you peace of mind.
7) After you book, make sure to add your flight information to your phone’s calendar so that you don’t lose it (most smartphones will actually do this for you). It’s also helpful to add your confirmation number to the calendar note so you can easily check-in without sifting through emails.
8) Download the app for whatever airline you are flying on! These apps are great and give you up-to-date information. They also have airport maps and can show you where a plane is coming from so you can quickly navigate airports or decide if you want to grab an extra drink at the bar.
9) Check-in ahead of time on your phone so you have a mobile boarding pass ready to go. This will help if you are strapped for time so you don’t have to wait in the ticketing area.
10) Take a screenshot of your mobile boarding pass. Ever had perfect cell phone reception everywhere? Yeah, neither have we. Save the stress and keep your boarding pass saved in your photos.
11) If at all possible, don’t check a bag. Checked bags can be extremely costly and time consuming. Use a small carry-on and personal item to your advantage. (If you do have to check a bag, keep an extra set of clothes in your backpack or purse just in case you and your luggage get separated. You wouldn’t want to end up like Ben Stiller!)
12) Pack your bags efficiently. Make sure all your important toiletries and liquids are in an easy to reach spot; this will help you “fly” through security. It is also helpful to keep things like phone chargers, headphones, and snacks in easy to reach spots.
13) Bring essentials, but don’t run out of clothes. Make sure that you pack enough for each day of your trip, including your return day. It never hurts to bring extras if you have space!
14) Get to the airport with plenty of time for your flight; security can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time; you can even check an estimated wait time with the airline’s app and airport websites. But if you can’t check the time in advance, you’ll be able to get through security even if it takes ages and make your flight. (Bonus tip: if you plan to travel frequently, get TSA Pre-check to get through even faster. Plus, it lasts for 5 years!)
15) Wear shoes and socks on a travel day. Yes, you still need to take your shoes off during security, so make sure you have some socks on. That way you don’t have to walk barefoot through an airport (gross), and if you want to take your shoes off on the flight you will have your socks to keep you warm.
16) Stay with your items until they go into the x-ray. This will help you to not hold the line up for everyone else. Did you really make it through security if your bag is still being x-rayed?
17) Stay near your gate and check the monitors for your flight information. Delays aren’t permanent and gates aren’t set in stone, so be aware of where the flight is boarding and when it’s leaving.
18) Treat yourself and settle in. You’ve done all that you can do and made it through security. So chill out, bring a book to read, call a friend, and make the airport your home.
Air travel is stressful, but following these tips that we’ve gathered from seasoned veterans will make it easier. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, and most likely everything will end up just fine!
Hopefully, by following our guide, you can sit back in your tiny seat in the sky and relax knowing that you’re flying somewhere better! Feel free to comment with your own travel tips that have helped you enjoy your stressful travel days.