Guest Post from Colleen at Travel Meets Happy
The holiday season is full of good cheer, cookie decorating, time with loved ones, and travel nightmares. With the additional people flying, increased flight routes, and impending mechanical and weather delays the last thing I want to do is brave the airport chaos. When I find an incredibly cheap flight to Mexico, or my family is halfway across the country, sometimes the only option is to jetset. Instead of being the typical Grinch, here are 5 tips to not only survive the airport, but actually have a good time.
Travel With A Carry On
I make it my personal goal to always travel with just a carry on. I’ve lived for 5 months out of only a carry on backpack, it’s possible and makes travel less stressful. A carry on bag gives you the freedom of not having to wait for your luggage when you land. You can coast off the plane and walk straight into a cab.
You’ll save tons of money by not having to check a bag, check out the carry on restrictions for over 150 airlines. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the airline losing your bag, then being stuck in the same clothes until New Years!
Make Use Of Your Surroundings
An airport is a land of opportunity. You can stroll along the duty free items and pick up last minute Christmas gifts for any relatives you conveniently forgot. I prefer to cosy up in a coffee shop or bar and people watch. Stressed out airport travelers can provide hours of entertainment.
I’ve met long lost friends in airports and business connections, I even received a job interview after chatting with a businessman in the terminal. You never know who you’re going to meet, I especially enjoy watching for famous people! (Nashville and LAX are best for celebrity spotting).
I’ll even use the airport to get some physical activity. My legs get jittery after sitting on a plane for too long, so I like to speed-walk through the airport. You get your steps in and can check out the shops and kiosks.
Many major international airports will have lounges. They cost money or require a membership, but it can be worth it if you need a good meal, a cocktail, or a place to close your eyes for a bit.
If you have to cancel your Christmas Trip, instead of eating the cost, read how you can sell your trip with Transfer Travel.
Find A Corner
A secret tactic to surviving in the airport is finding a quiet corner with Wi-Fi. This is hard to do when the airport is already filled to the brim with travelers, but if you have enough time, venture to gates that aren’t being used. These are prime targets to finding unused outlets and fewer crying babies.
Restaurants in the airport can be really expensive. If you’re trying to save money and buy a pre-packaged sandwich, you’re guaranteed to be left disappointed. I always bring a few healthy snacks and have a good meal before I head on my travels.
Some airports offer free Wi-Fi, but when there are a lot of people using it, you can guarantee a slow connection (check out the best US and International airports for free Wi-Fi). I never depend on being able to stream a show or browse the internet while I’m waiting for my flight, so I save things in offline mode to work on. I try to bring bring a good book and a few things to entertain myself, like an adult coloring book to help pass the time.
The most important tip to surviving an airport during the holidays is to be nice! My grandmother used to say, “You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.” Being polite and appreciative can go a long way. I’ve seen travelers get angry or yell at airline representatives, because of delays or connection issues, this won’t get you far.
Remember, they are just doing their job, it’s not their fault someone lost your luggage (not if you traveled with a carry on bag!). Or the reason why your flight is delayed because someone let their cats out of their pet carriers and they peed all over the back of the plane (this has actually happened on one of my flights).
One way to keep your cool when you’re tired, stressed out, and in need of your flannel pjs is identifying what you can control. Everything that is outside of your control, there is no sense in worrying about. The next time the kid in front of you throws a tantrum, or your flight is delayed six hours for no apparent reason, use the time to plan your trip or reflect on the adventure you just completed.
Colleen is the CEO of Kinseyco and creator of Travel Meets Happy. She continues to build her business while empowering other women to pursue solo travels around the world. Read her Get Started Traveling Guide to begin. Follow her adventure on Instagram – @TravelMeetsHappy and Facebook – @TravelMeetsHappy