Airport Travel Tips and Hacks
I live in Atlanta, GA – which has one of the busiest airports in the United States. The Atlanta airport is also stressful, overwhelming, and crowded. I’ll be honest…I absolutely hate the Atlanta airport.
When you travel, you are not alone if you get stressed or anxious. Airports are no fun!
Thankfully, there are airport travel tips and hacks you can follow to reduce stress and anxiety. 😊
Below are quick and easy airport travel tips to make traveling more enjoyable.
This guide with airport travel tips includes:
- Airport travel tips to reduce anxiety and stress
- Airport travel hacks to get to your gate faster
- Tips to reduce stress and anxiety while at the airport
- Airport tips for the Atlanta airport
- What to pack for your flight
These airport tips and tricks will help you reduce anxiety and stress, and hopefully make airport travel a bit more enjoyable!
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In this article:
23 Airport Travel Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Let’s get straight to it! Here are my tips for airport travel.
1. Take Uber or Lyft to the Airport
Airport parking used to be somewhat affordable. Now, most parking lots on-site are either 1) expensive or 2) full. Especially at the Atlanta airport.
If you can, save yourself the stress and just take Uber or Lyft to the airport.
If you do park, take a photo of your parking space. It’s so easy to forget where you parked!
2. Get a Great Suitcase
Carrying around an old suitcase that doesn’t roll well is a pain (and no fun!).
Treat yourself to a nice suitcase that is lightweight and easy to travel with.
I personally love suitcases by Samsung the most.
My favorite suitcases for travel (ignore the negative reviews!):
2. Fly at Less Crowded Times
Flying first thing Monday morning can be a nightmare. Same thing with Fridays (anytime!).
If possible, try to fly mid-week.
You may also want to consider how bad traffic is near you getting to the airport during different times of the day. If possible, avoid booking a flight that would have you going to the airport during rush hour!
3. Avoid Traveling Late at Night
Many airplane flights get canceled toward the end of the day.
If possible, try to avoid catching the flight that is the last one of the day. If anything happens to your flight, you may end up sleeping overnight in the airport. (No fun!)
4. Get to the Airport 2 Hours in Advance (At Least!)
You used to be able to get to the airport 1.5 hours before your flight. Not anymore! Security (especially in the Atlanta airport) can be horrible.
Save yourself the stress and arrive early.
5. Use Curbside Check In
Even if you are just dropping off your luggage, you may end up standing in line for 20 minutes.
Instead, you can drop off your luggage at the curbside check-in outside. The line will be short (5 minutes) and you just need to tip the guy $1-2 per bag.
6. Download Your Airplane App on Your Phone
Download the Delta app or your airline app on your phone. Trust me. It's worth it!
You can easily get your boarding pass online, change seats, and see what gate you are at.
7. Get a Better Seat on the Airplane
Oftentimes, aisle and window seats become available 24 hours before a flight leaves.
If you got stuck with a dreaded middle seat, regularly refresh the airplane app regularly to see if you can snag a better seat.
Tip: Go to your gate exactly 1-hour prior to departure. That's when the gate agent usually arrives. The gate agent can usually give you a better seat if once is available.
8. Pay for Clear or TSA Pre-Check
Lines at airports have gotten horrible. At the Atlanta airport, it can take up to 1 hour (or more!) to get through security.
Pay for Clear or TSA pre-check as an airport hack to make it through security quicker.
I personally use Clear. It takes less than 5 minutes to apply and get approved.
9. Don’t Take the Airport TSA Personally
I don’t know what it is, but the people who work at security in airports (mostly the Atlanta airport) are rarely nice!
Whatever they say to you…don’t take it personally. Their job is exhausting, repetitive, and not much fun. Just don’t take it personally.
10. Listen to Music or a Podcast in the Security Line
The security line is never fun. If the line is long, pop in your headphones and listen to calming music or your favorite podcast.
AirPods are a game-changer.
11. Walk to Your Gate
If time allows, walk to your gate vs. taking the tram. This is more of a tip for the Atlanta International Airport. They have lots of nice things to look at if you walk to your terminal!
12. Grab an Alcoholic Beverage
This is optional, but if a drink helps you relax…go ahead and treat yourself to a drink at the airport.
13. Consider Paying for Sky Club
If you travel a lot, it may be worth paying for access to Delta Sky Club. Airports can get really crowded, and Delta Sky Clubs tend to be quiet and relaxing.
14. Wear Clothes with Pockets
Whether you are wearing a dress with pockets or leggings with pockets…pockets are a must for travel!
I personally put my cell phone in my pocket. That way, I can easily check the time and my flight status.
Here are my favorite leggings and dresses with pockets for travel:
RELATED: Best Plus Size Dresses with Pockets
15. Prepare for a Cold Flight
Flights can get cold (or hot!). To ensure you are comfortable, wear lightweight clothes that you can layer if you get cold. My trick is socks and a hoodie.
16. Get Gadget Savvy for the Flight
Packing a portable cell phone charger to charge your phone and noise-canceling headphones are key for a great airport experience and flight.
Oftentimes the charges at airports don’t work.
17. Pack a Goody Bag for the Airplane
To ensure the best flight, back a goody bag with snacks (like a granola bar and apples), a great book, gum, and a neck pillow (for longer flights).
18. Bring an Empty Water Bottle with You to the Airport
Most airports have filtered water stations. Pack a water bottle and fill it up at the airport.
19. Prepare for Airport Delays
Just to be safe…pack ear plugs, floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush with you.
You never what how long you’ll be at the airport.
20. Wait at a Less Crowded Gate
If you still have 20-30 minutes before your plane starts boarding, then there’s no reason to wait at your gate.
Find a nearby gate that is less crowded and wait there.
21. Do Some Online Shopping
If shopping reduces your stress, go ahead and do some online shopping on your phone! Seriously!
Maybe treat yourself to a cute dress for summer or a new flattering swimsuit.
Open up the Amazon app on your phone and start browsing. You can always click “add to cart” and wait to purchase later. 😊
22. Pop an Ibuprofen Before You Board the Plane
This is optional…but this is a tip from a tall man I met on the airplane.
If you are tall and get uncomfortable, pop an Ibuprofen before you board the plane. It never hurts to have an Ibuprofen anyway just in case you get a headache.
23. Talk to Someone
Seriously…talk to someone at the airport. 😁
Whether you are waiting in line at security, waiting around the gate, or waiting to take off…saying “hello” and striking up a conversation may brighten your day and make travel seem less boring. 😊
What to Pack for an Enjoyable Flight
I try to pack light for an airplane, but here are a few things you may want to pack.
1. Gum (especially if your ears pop!)
2. Ibuprofen (emergency for headaches)
3. Water bottle with water
4. Noise-canceling headphones (or cheaper headphones too!) to watch movies
5. Portable cell phone charger
7. Hoodie or Jacket
8. A great book (or your iPad!)
9. Nail cream (it doubles as hand lotion)
10. A magazine (or two!)
11. Snacks!!! (I love apples, almonds, and beef jerky)
12. Bright red lipstick (so that you look refreshed when you get off the plane!)
Airport Travel Tips for Atlanta Airport
Here are a few airport travel tips unique to the Atlanta airport.
1. Don’t Try to Park
There is basically never any parking at the Atlanta airport. You’ll need to do one of the park-and-ride services, which adds stress. Even parking at ATL West adds about 20-30 minutes to your travel time, as you need to board a train.
2. Plan for Security Taking 1-Hour
Seriously. Security in the Atlanta airport takes 1-hour.
3. Check Your Bags Outside at Curbside Check In
If you try to drop off your bags inside, plan on standing in line for 20 minutes. And that is just to drop off your luggage!
4. Go through Security at the International Terminal
If you don’t need to check luggage, go through security at the International Terminal. The line is WAY shorter.
5. Go to C Gate for Good Food
The C gate at the Atlanta airport has lots of good and healthy food options.
What Are Your Airport and Travel Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Stress?
Do you have airport hacks, travel tips, or suggestions on how travelers can reduce anxiety and stress while traveling?
I’d love to hear from you!
Please leave a comment below to share your travel tips and tricks with others! 😊
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