Most of us are aware of the stresses of air travel, particularly with long-haul flights. Whilst taking a holiday is undoubtedly thrilling, the actual getting there is not so much fun. You face long lines to check-in followed by the need to strip off and keep everything together whilst you pass through security. You may also be travelling at some ridiculous time, like the early hours of the morning. And that’s just getting to the plane; once you’re off the ground you could be stuck in cramped seat surrounded by crying babies and moaning children for twelve hours or longer.

 

inside the plane

By Frankie Roberto under CC BY 2.0

 

Here then are five handy tips that’ll help you take a less stressful approach to airline travel:

Make a Plan

Travelling is less stressful if you’ve got everything you need in place well before you set off. Don’t leave everything until the evening before the trip. Make sure all your travel documents, itinerary and passports are together – buy a plastic, zip-lock bag specifically for this. Sort them into the order you’ll need them so you don’t have to go hunting around at each station. Think ahead – if you’ve a small child who makes frequent trips to the toilet, make sure you’ve booked them an aisle seat.

Keep Yourself Fuelled

Hunger and thirst increases stress. Having to stop halfway through your airport experience to find something to eat or drink adds to this stress and of course as airports hardly have the best reputation for cheapness, it will eat into your vacation funding. Pack yourself plenty of healthy snacks to eat and have bottles of water to drink. Remember you cannot take fluids through security, but you can take empty water bottles. You can then re-fill them from fountains once you are through.

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Use the Airport Lounge

The airport you are flying from is likely to have a private lounge, and it’s well-worth paying that little extra to use it. Departure gates are not designed to be stress-free and peaceful places. The seats are hard and they are usually packed, meaning it’s difficult to find somewhere for your family group to sit together. There’s usually scores of bored children running around as well. Airport lounges offer significant benefits, such as free drinks, free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating.

Get Comfortable

Unless you can afford to fly first class, planes are not built for comfort. They’re built to crowbar in as many bodies in as possible. If you’ve no children to supervise during a long flight, then you can grab some sleep. As most planes now come with personal entertainment systems, children can often be left to devise their own amusements anyhow, leaving you to relax. Use eye masks, earplugs, blankets and pillows to get comfortable. If you’re on an overnight flight, and you’re not one of those lucky people who can drop off simply by clicking their fingers, just get comfy, keep still and close your eyes. You’ll be surprised how easy you might find it to fall asleep.

Pack Distractions

Getting from your home to your holiday accommodation takes an immeasurably long time. Boredom is another main contributor to stress. Make sure you’ve packed enough distractions to help the time move along quickly.

You can of course watch the in-flight entertainment, but how many of us can watch three movies, one after the other? Have your personal media player and e-reader ready if you have them and make sure they’re fully charged. Have a favourite book you don’t mind re-reading on stand-by (you can pick up a book at the airport but you might get bored with it after a few pages).

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If you’ve kids, make sure they’ve each got their portable gaming devices with them, and don’t expect them to share. Chargers are another necessity. Alternatively have a look through this list of tips for keeping your kids entertained whilst travelling.

The key to a comfortable air travel experience is preparation. The more prepared you are, the less stressful your experience will be. Arm yourself with these five handy tips and enjoy a stress-free start to your holiday or business travel.