8 Tips for Managing Airport Anxiety

There’s no way around it: airports can be stressful. You’re bound to schedules that are beyond your control, subject to tight security, in a large and crowded space, and with lots of other people who aren’t their usual calm selves. Throw in concerns about navigating the environment, concerns over getting to your gate on time, and a nagging fear of flying that slowly builds, and it’s no wonder that airports can cause significant anxiety in travelers.

Fortunately, this anxiety is manageable! Check out our nine tips for keeping your airport anxiety under control.

1. Fly nonstop if you can

If getting on one plane is stressful, getting on two (or even three) is even more stressful. Will you make your connection? Will your luggage be waiting for you at your final destination? Eliminate those nagging concerns by flying direct if you’re able to. 

2. Fly early in the day

Early morning at the airport is typically much calmer and relaxed than mid-day at the airport. Employees are fresh, the crowd is mostly business travelers, and the large families heading on vacation usually fly later in the day. You’re less likely to face delays if you get an early flight out since delays tend to cascade and cause problems later in the day. And, if you’re nervous about flying, you can get it over with early on instead of stewing with it for several hours.

3. Prepare the day before

Take care of your travel-related checklist the day before by packing up, finding your passport, checking in online (you can usually do this 24 hours before your flight), printing your boarding passes, or making sure they’re accessible on your phone, and pre-paying your checked bags. That way, you can show up and get on the plane. Similarly, give yourself something positive to look forward to and keep your mind off stress by downloading a movie you’ve been wanting to watch or putting that book you’ve meant to read in your carry-on.

4. Give yourself lots of time

Get to the airport early — two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. This gives you plenty of time to check your bags, go through security, use the restroom, find your gate, and grab a bite to eat. Cutting it too close adds to your anxiety levels!

5. Find ways to relax

Maybe a guided meditation app, breathing exercises or listening to quiet music help you to let your anxiety go. An increasing number of airports have calming paintings and sculptures to take your mind off the stress of flying; these include Salt Lake City, San Diego, Denver, and Detroit Metro, where you can walk through an impressive 700-foot light and sound tunnel! Other airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, and both major Chicago airports, have installed yoga rooms, where you can find your center before finding your gate.

6. Be NICE

Sure, it sounds simple, but it’s excellent advice: the sweeter you are to others, the nicer they are to you. Make an effort to be friendly, and you won’t have the stress of dealing with unhappy and difficult people. (This is solid advice to minimizing stress in general.)

7. Don’t stress the drive to and from the airport

Airport parking is a hassle. Finding a spot isn’t always easy, you usually have to park quite a distance from the terminal, and it’s criminally expensive. Instead, leave the driving to the professionals! If you’re flying in and out of Houston, give us a call for a comfortable, affordable ride to the airport in one of our first-class Mercedes vans.