Airport Zen: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Cool at the Airport

December 04, 2013

Airports are notoriously stressful places.  Flight delays, long layovers, overpriced food, last-minute cancellations, lost luggage, screaming children, and rude airline staff are just some of the many stresses travelers have to deal with.  Nobody wants to start or end their trip on a negative note, so keep your cool with these tips and stop stressing!


#1: Bring snacks.

If you get hungry at the airport, you have two options: pay ridiculous prices for mediocre food, or starve.  A little thinking ahead can save you from a stomachache.  But don’t think that shoving a 50-cent bag of chips in your pocket is good enough.  Healthy snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated are the best options.  Apples and carrots are easy to pack, and dried fruit and nuts are lightweight and filling.  Avoid sugary processed foods like cookies and snack cakes, which are easily crushed and not very filling.

#2: Stay hydrated.

Dehydration can drain you of energy, make it harder to think clearly, and even make you irritable and impatient, so it’s important to drink lots of fluids when traveling.  You can’t bring liquids through security, but you can bring an empty bottle and fill it once you get past all the metal detectors and chemical wands.  Flavor powder packets are small and lightweight, so if you don’t like the taste of plain water, bring a plastic bag full of flavor packets.

#3: Be polite to the airline staff.

Travel mishaps can be frustrating, but yelling at the airline staff is never a good idea.  Mistreating service workers is never appropriate, and the airport is no exception.  Remember that they are trying to help you, even if it doesn’t seem like it.  Airline staff deal with angry and abusive customers all day long, so being pleasant and polite can make you stand out in a good way—which can lead to better results for you.


#4: Bring headphones.

Even on a quiet day, airports are noisy places.  Noise-canceling headphones are the best, but can be quite expensive.  A pair of regular ear buds can go a long way in blocking out unwanted noise.  Many airlines provide cheap headphones for longer flights, but these sets are uncomfortable and give low-quality audio.  If you plan on playing games or watching videos on your cell phone, tablet, or computer, you absolutely must use headphones—it’s no longer just common courtesy, as most airlines won’t allow you to use the sound on your electronics and require the use of headphones.

#5: Stay occupied.

Airport terminals aren’t exactly theme parks.  Keeping yourself occupied can make the waiting time go by faster.  This is especially important for kids (and sometimes adults) who have a lot of energy.  Make sure you’re channeling all that energy into activities that won’t drive you (and everyone else in the terminal) up the wall.  Portable devices like cell phones and tablets can keep you and the little ones busy with books, games, and movies—just make sure you bring headphones or turn off the sound.  Old-school pastimes like coloring books, puzzle books, and a game of I Spy will work as well—yes, even for adults!  If all else fails, a cat nap is never a bad idea.