Airports make me nervous. It wasn’t always this way — as a kid I would love staring out the window, watching the cars get smaller and smaller, feeling my ears pop and drinking a luxurious Canada Dry served by a glam lady in red lipstick. Well, things changed. Maybe it started after I watched Flight, you know, the one with Denzel Washington. Maybe it began when I flew 3 states away from home to go to college. Or maybe as you get older, you just start to realize how weird and crazy it is to be 30,000 feet above ground for an extended period of time, not completely sure how it’s physically possible… And let’s be honest, the whole “missing planes” news doesn’t help either.
Regardless of why or how, I deal with a touch of anxiety when I have to travel, especially when I do so by myself. I’ve used these strategies to make the process of getting from one place to another as easy and comfortable as possible and wanted to share for all my fellow jet-setters who get the jitters when the wheels go up.
1. Pack ahead of time.
Like, at least 24 hours ahead of time. You may find you have a few pieces of laundry to do before your trip, and if you allow yourself a 24 hour advance, you’ll have time to do it. *This is a common problem for me because I have like 3 outfits I wear 24/7, so my favorite clothes are almost always dirty.
Once you’re packed, go ahead and weigh your bags to make sure they’re below the max weight. Nothing is worse than having to pop open your suitcases at the airport to redistribute your things!
2. List your “DO NOT FORGET” items.
I used to breeze over a mental checklist right before I left to go on a trip — toothbrush? Migraine meds? Phone charger? The only problem with this strategy is that I leave still feeling like I forgot something and usually it was an item of semi-importance that I wanted to have (i.e. umbrella, hair straightener, pajamas). And seriously no one tells you the struggle of forgetting pajamas on a trip. A family trip. Like am I supposed to sleep in jeans or one of my dad’s old t-shirts?
Now I keep a note on my phone (starting a few days before I leave town) where I sporadically list important DO NOT FORGET’s that pop into my head. That way when I’m headed out the door I can physically look at my checklist and make sure I have those things.
3. Download the United app (or whatever airline you frequently use).
Best way to log miles, look at flight statuses, and even check in early for your flight. The United app has saved my butt countless times, especially when I’ve been handed a ticket without an assigned gate or my flight has been changed/delayed. One quick look at the United app and you have all your travel info — terminal, gate, etc. You can also turn on push notifications (in your Settings) for instant updates.
4. Pack an “emergency kit” that stays in your carry-on.
For me, this means filling a mini makeup bag with Excedrin, tissues, makeup wipes, Chapstick, Wisp toothbrushes… You get the picture. I feel more comfortable knowing I have necessities on hand.
5. Entertain yourself!
Some people enjoy working on flights but honestly, that just stresses me out. I love to bring distractions for if I get bored in the form of a good book, crossword puzzle (turn your wifi off for an extra challenge lol) relaxing playlist, or downloaded movie. It’s easy to enjoy the ride when you have something else to focus on.
I look to organized preparation to manage my travel anxiety. Being prepared can also prevent overpacking (something I’m usually at fault of), keeping your worries (and luggage) light as a feather.
I hope these tips prove helpful to you and thanks so much for reading. If anyone has any strategies to not overpack please let me know…!! Something I’m still working on 😉