Very few people can say they enjoy the airport experience from start to finish. It’s busy, there’s a lot of queueing and a lot of ways things could go wrong. Follow our checklist of ways to reduce your stress levels, though, and you’ll be in a much more relaxed mood to kickstart your journey.

Organise Money

Don’t be caught out leaving it to the last minute and buying your travel money at the airport. Even if you want the ease of picking up on the day, you should buy your money in advance and collect to secure a better value for money. You could be looking at a difference of up to €50+. Compare exchange rates online and find the best deals. Even if you only think about it 4 hours before pick-up, buying online offers the best rates.

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Understand & Book Airport Parking

Book in advance and use resources like Parking at Airports to find out exactly what each type of parking is available to you at which airports. From here, you can know exactly what to expect on the day. Be aware of how frequently shuttle buses run in order to avoid last minute panic if you end up cutting it fine for your Park and Ride parking. Or be prepared with the number in your phone for Meet and Greet valet services. You can call ahead when you are 20 minutes away and save the stress of trawling through emails, with no 4G, on route.

3 Things to Check for Baggage Allowance

Size: The dimensions of hand luggage suitcases and bags vary with each airline, so ensure you’ve looked up the specific requirements. You don’t want to be turned around and have to go all the way back to luggage drop and pay extortionate on-the-day costs for extra checked suitcases.

Weight: Some airlines have no weight allowance for hand luggage, whilst others offer a 5-7kg limit. Just like with size, it’s a good idea to look up your airline as they’re all different.

Number: How much hand luggage can you have? Are you limited to just one piece? In which case, make sure you have enough room in your suitcase to slip your handbag in before you reach your gate. If you have got more than one piece, look to pack more items you couldn’t squeeze into your case, into your handbag or rucksack. The same goes for hold luggage. On top of your 25kg suitcase, are you able to take any other items for free? What is the price of taking a pushchair for example? Being prepared means you avoid expense you weren’t prepared for.

Organise Your Hand Luggage

Ensure you are familiar with the items you can and cannot take on the plane. The most common thing to remember is you are allowed up to 100ml per clear plastic container and up to 10 items. These must all be carried in a clear plastic bag. When it comes to your hand luggage, you should also be conscious of how you pack items in terms of accessibility. Save time at security by having the items you need to hand right at the top. Things like your liquids and electronics will need to be taken out and placed into trays. You’ll also want travel documentation like your passport and boarding pass in a safe but easy to access place.

Prepare for Your Unique Stress Factors

If you or someone you’re travelling with is disabled, ensure you book disabled parking in a close and accessible distance to the airport entrance. It’s also a good idea to call ahead to the airport to ensure you have an easy and smooth journey through each check, especially if in a wheelchair.

In terms of travelling with children, consider the pros of booking into an airport lounge to avoid the expense of buying food at premium rates in the airport with a one-off payment for a lounge pass. Also pack items to entertain your children, including a tablet loaded with things to watch and small toys.

Leave Enough Time

It seems obvious, but it’s a good idea to always allow enough time so you do not need to rush. Leave your home and cater for any traffic you might hit. Consider the fact although shuttle buses from your offsite parking to the airport are every 15-minutes, you could be waiting for that full period. In peak times of travel, you can look to be in security queues for up to 10 minutes, so always be prepared for the worst-case scenario and ensure you’re there in plenty of time to check in and make your way through the airport process. You may just want to work out your times and add 30 minutes to reduce stress levels and prepare for the unknown.

Moral of the story? Don’t leave things to last minute. Be prepared for your flight as best you can so you don’t run into any extra expense or stressful, but ultimately avoidable, situations. From occupying your children with toys and snacks, to knowing exactly what you can and cannot pack and in what size suitcase. By following these easy tips, your airport experience might even run smoothly.

Incredible Planet Staff

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