Mental Health, Travel

How to Reduce Your Stress Level at the Airport

March 9, 2015

How to Reduce Your Stress Level at the Airport - Sweet and Savoring

I’ve been thinking about my travel days, and how fraught with stress they usually are. In anticipation of my flight to Seattle, I have decided to be proactive and make my travel days as stress-free as possible. Here are some strategies I’ve come up withย that will help you be more relaxed when you’re trying to catch that plane.ย 

How to Reduce Your Stress Level at the Airport - Sweet and Savoring

How to Reduce Your Stress Level at the Airport

Before you go:

1. Make sure you find out your airline’s baggage policies: carry-on size, weight limit for checked baggage, whether or not you get one free checked bag, etc. Doing this before you before you leave for the airport makes for a much smoother experience once you get there. Nobody wants to be the person standing at check-in trying to rearrange their clothes to spread the weight over several bags. (Example: the fee for an overweight bag on United Airlines is $100-$200!)

2. Within twenty-four hours of your flight, check in online and print your boarding pass. This makes everything so much easier when you get to the airport: less lines! Less waiting! And those are beautiful things.

3. Eat! When I haven’t eaten, I am a hundred times more stressed out. Leave for the airport with a full stomach, and bring along some fruit, trail mix, or other easy, healthful snacks for all that waiting time you’ll have ahead of you.

4. Get a good night of sleep so you are fully rested for your travel day. Just like with food, lack of sleep can really set off anxiety, so take control and give yourself the rest you need.

5. Pretend your flight leaves an hour before it really does. It’s hard to be late that way, isn’t it? Whatever mode of transportation you’re taking to the airport, give yourself plenty of time to get there so you’re not in a rush to get through security and find your gate.

How to Reduce Your Stress Level at the Airport - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

At the Airport:

6. As soon as you get to the airport, take a minute and center yourself. Take some deep breaths, drink some water, whatever you need to do for a quick refresh, do it. This helps when you’re suddenly bombarded by loads of new stimuli in an environment that’s out of your control.

7. Music is your friend. Make sure to have your headphones or ear buds handy so you can listen to your favorite ‘happy place’ music while you navigate the mayhem of the airport.

8. Make sure you keep your ID, boarding pass, and any other necessary documents all in one, easy to reach spot so you’re not frantically searching through endless pockets in your jacket, bag, etc. Designate one pocket, and keep them there.

9. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, ‘Smile, breathe, go slowly’. Ideally, you’ve given yourself enough time that no rushing is necessary. Create an energetic bubble around yourself, if you’re into that sort of thing.

10. Give yourself a break! You’re doing the best you can, and this is a hectic experience that will not last forever.


Do you have any strategies you use to make the airport less stressful?

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  • Rea March 10, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Airports are always hectic whenever I have a toddler with me. I’ve mastered some things like keeping all important documents in one place, buying food and water ahead of time, online check in — not so much with baggage especially during the return flight. There’s always that possibility of an excess and we did have the last time we traveled. Good thing there was a good samaritan who offered his baggage weight to us for free.

    Enjoy your vacation Christy! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rea recently posted…Ultimate Bloggers’ Meet Up At Diamond Suites CebuMy Profile

    • Christy March 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      I give you a lot of credit because I can’t imagine wrangling a toddler at the airport! Actually, sometimes I observe families with young kids and do imagine myself navigating transit days with a baby or something, but I’m sure the reality is a lot more complicated. How awesome of that good samaritan! Wow!

  • Kelly March 10, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Great tips, Christy! Have a wonderful trip! I can’t wait for the recaps. Enjoy!
    Kelly recently posted…Ahora: MarchMy Profile

    • Christy March 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I can’t wait to write them! I’m hit with inspiration for different posts every ten minutes, I swear. So happy that I made this trip happen!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine March 10, 2015 at 7:10 am

    I LOVE flying! I wish I got to do it more often, haha!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…The Best Grain-Free Starches And CarbohydratesMy Profile

    • Christy March 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      It’s funny, I usually love flying, but for some reason yesterday I was more nervous than usual. Everything was completely fine, no explainable reason for me to be more…aware of potential dangers, but it was what it was. I can say for certain that I am much more comfortable in my usual window seat than I am in the aisle, like I was on the first leg of my flight (luckily the shorter one).

  • SMD @ Life According to Steph March 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I just roll with it! I don’t typically mind airports. I’m always excited to go wherever I’m going and I make sure to arrive early. The only thing that really stresses me out is being late.

    Enjoy your trip!

    • Christy March 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Yes, being late is definitely a big stressor! I wish I felt more excited, but I’m usually riddled with anxiety until I’m actually *on* the plane, or at my hotel, haha.
      And thanks, can’t wait to write about everything! Loving it so far!

  • Liz @ I Heart Vegetables March 10, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Hah! I’m booking my flight today for some work travel so this came at the perfect time ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m all about listening to music while I’m walking through the airport!

    • Christy March 11, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Glad I timed this right when both of us had travel on the brain! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Aunt Susie March 10, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Great tips, Christy! Thanks for your pears of wisdom. I will be traveling to Linds and Chris’ next month and now I’m better prepared for time spent in the airport.


    • Christy March 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      My pleasure, Aunt Susie ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t exactly follow my own advice and it was was a super anxious day, but I’ll try to do better for my flight home next week. (Like the sleep thing- is anyone able to get a full night’s rest before they travel?)

  • Aunt Susie March 10, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    OOPS! Sorry for the typos. (((HUGS)))

  • Heather March 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I travel 70%. TSA ore heck and Global Entry for the win!
    Heather recently posted…5 Reasons I Didnโ€™t Love ChileMy Profile

    • Christy March 27, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Global Entry does sound amazing! Someday, I’m sure!

  • Heather March 10, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Ahhh silly iPad. TSA pre check!!
    Heather recently posted…So What is the Superbowl REALLY Like?My Profile

  • AwesomelyOZ March 14, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I love the airport ๐Ÿ™‚ I am definitely there at least an hour before my flight departs. Thankfully I also live 10 minutes from an airport so it’s just really convenient. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also like whiskey on the plane haha it’s relaxing ๐Ÿ˜› Thankfully I also rarely have issues falling asleep so it’s pretty easy for me to just pass out on the ride. Great tips! Have a great weekend Christy! -Iva
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    • Christy March 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      I love the airport when I’m there ridiculously early and I have plenty of time to relax and people watch! And wow, you live so close, no long commute time for you! I’m sure whiskey does the trick and then some, haha.

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