Ah, the airport. Take tens of thousands of people and their personal belongings, all trying to get somewhere far away in a very limited time frame, and pack them into a vast and confusing building. Throw in delays, rigorous security measures and computer glitches, and suddenly The Terminal doesn’t seem so far-fetched. If the countdown to your sun-drenched vacation is on…don’t let the stress of getting there put a damper on your trip! Here are three simple ways to overcome the airport blues.
- Don’t take it personally. If you haven’t travelled in some time, it may seem like a shock to you that travelers to the United States and elsewhere now face increased security measures, such as having to show their passports and boarding passes to approximately 19 different people before boarding the flight (okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit, but that’s what it feels like). Go with the flow and realize that airport security is doing their best to move thousands of people along. You may wonder why you have to take your shoes off and put them in a bin at one airport but not another; it’s not about you! Travel rules aren’t always applied at all times. Depending on the volume of travellers, you can sometimes keep your shoes and jacket on, sometimes not. Sometimes you’ll be allowed to carry more than 100 ml of water for a small child, other times you will be told to dump it. Expect that security procedures may be invasive and irritating, and you will often be pleasantly surprised.
- When in doubt, research travel rules in advance. Did you know that it’s against the law for a US citizen travelling to or through the US, to use anything other than a US passport? Whoa, who knew! If you have dual citizenship with another country, as I do, make sure you’re travelling under the correct passport for where you are going. Bring all relevant ID because you truly never know what a Customs and Border Patrol agent may request to see; while the law is the law, enforcement is often random and arbitrary (maybe someone is having a bad day or just happens to notice something you weren’t aware of). Here’s another one: you probably know that most airlines charge more for overweight luggage, which is anything over the typical luggage weight allowance of 23 kg, or 50 lbs. But did you know that the flat fee for oversized luggage – which can be anything awkwardly sized or shaped, from strollers to golf clubs – can start at a whopping $78? Knowing that in advance can help you trim down on baggage and free up extra dollars for souvenirs, excursions and other splurges. If you’re concerned about taking everything you need while still travelling light, opt for an ultra-light yet substantial carry-on that shows your Canadian pride.
- Relax; your vacation has already started. Unless you’re a business traveller operating on tight deadlines, make your stay in the airport part of the travel experience…because it is! While children have no problem running around, staring at everything, having fun and asking questions, grownups are usually a bit more uptight – which makes for tension and stress. If you have time to spare before the flight, buy a brand new paperback, do some shopping or have a light meal instead of sitting in an uncomfortable chair staring at the clock. Before you know it, you’ll be called to board.