Flying by plane is among the most rewarding and thrilling experiences you can have. You’re waiting for it impatiently and dreaming of the warm sand and ice-cold cocktail you’re going to enjoy when you get to your destination in, say, Bali. Then…you arrive at the airport, with an overweight bag and have to pay a huge fee because you were so excited about your vacation that you took the whole closet.
This is a reinterpretation of other first-time fliers’ experiences, and a reason why some might find air travel stressful. However, this doesn’t have to be your case, and you shouldn’t avoid that trip. Studies show that frequent travellers are more satisfied with their lives compared to those who avoid travelling. Knowing how to prevent the most common travel-related issues will completely change your mindset and make you fall in love with being a thousand feet above the ground.
Here are the tips a seasoned traveller would share to make your flight more relaxing.
Apply for TSA precheck
Among the most burdensome parts of airports is the security check. But an experienced traveller knows how to reach their departure gate hassle-free. TSA PreCheck, one of the 5 Trusted Traveller Programs, eases the airport security experience. The program was started 12 years ago, includes 200+ airports in the United States, and its purpose is to fasten the security screening process for low-risk travellers.
This application is exclusively for US citizens and nationals, and lawful permanent residents. However, there’s an equivalent of the TSA PreCheck in the United Kingdom, called The Registered Traveller service. Applying for this and being accepted allows you to get through the UK border control without filling in a landing card.
Plus, at the largest airports in the UK, you’ll find a program called Fast Track. You can access a priority lane to avoid the queues at the security screening checkpoints by purchasing a fast-track security pass.
Book airport parking in advance
You have several options to choose from when it comes to getting to the airport and it’s a good idea to plan this detail in advance. Airport parking is run like a business, which is why it’s so expensive that it can sometimes cost you more than your airfare. However, taking a bus is inconvenient when you’re leaving with luggage and want a hassle-free trip, and taxis don’t give you the flexibility and freedom of driving there in your car, on your own terms.
Booking airport parking through a trustworthy company gives you the peace of mind that you’re arriving at the airport on time, without stressing over the parking fees and resting assured, knowing your vehicle is taken care of while you’re away. At airport parking Sydney, for instance, you have the freedom of choice. If you choose valet parking, your car will be parked at the lot booked, and you can check in right away before your flight. With shuttle parking, on the other hand, you’ll have a bus ready to take you from the booked parking lot to the airport and vice versa.
Don’t go with the flow
In a crowded airport, herd mentality is at its peak. The tension is palpable. Some are concerned about missing a flight, and others worry about security measures. Parents grasp their children, and everyone’s impatiently waiting for their bag.
Remember to take a breath, as others’ demeanour doesn’t have to impact yours. You don’t need to run just because everyone’s in a hurry to get off the plane. Fighting for a position can only lead to increased anxiety and frustration, and it won’t get you anywhere.
Similarly, if you’re new to travelling, where you park your car might be among the last things that cross your mind. The airport provides plenty of parking lots, right?! Well, it’s not that much of a blessing. You still have to find a parking spot, adding time to your departure, especially if your flight leaves in the busiest part of the day. But if you book airport parking in advance, you’ll find a good deal for the day and hour you need.
Have an organised packing system
A stress-free journey starts at home. Being organised doesn’t only make it easier to traverse the airport but also makes your whole vacation easier. Among the best recommendations to get started is to pack light and only the essentials. Most of the time, you tend to think you can’t do without a particular item, just to get to your destination and realise you could have done well without it. This is the best way to save time, stress, and money, as you won’t have to worry about checked baggage fees, wait at the carousel for your bag, or have it busted with other bags and risk losing it or having items stolen.
Additionally, keep security items handy and ensure you don’t take anything that isn’t allowed on board with you.
Save multiple passport copies
A few countries will require you to have passport photographs or a copy of your passport in order to obtain a visa. Certain automobile rental companies will also need them. Travelling with a laminated paper copy of your passport is also a good idea. Keep your passport in the hotel safe and have a copy in your daypack when travelling. This way, you don’t have to worry about losing it all the time.
First-time solo flying is tough on anybody, especially if we talk about long-haul flights. However, knowing what to expect before your departure gives you a clearer picture of the parking, check-in, security check, and other unavoidable processes.
Once you’ve passed them, you can take a seat and enjoy the book or podcast you didn’t have time to finish at home.