For many people, a lot of stress around travel comes down to uncertainty. Will I make my flight? Will I get to my destination on time? What if I forget something? The good news is that a little preparation can go a long way!
Have a game plan. Feeling rushed or scattered is a good way to find yourself with frayed nerves before you even leave home! Figure out how you’ll get to the airport and check when you need to arrive, pack, and gather documents like passports or other identification the night before, if possible.
Troubleshoot—tackle problems before they come up. Think through possible concerns and come up with a solution. For example, if you’ll be travelling at night and want to sleep on the plane, make sure to bring an eye mask, ear plugs, or whatever you need to sleep. If you’re not sure if you’ll have time to eat, bring snacks and an empty water bottle to fill after you’ve gone through security. If listening to music helps you deal with stress, make sure your devices are charged. If crowded waiting areas are hard for you, think of what you could do while you wait, like go for tea or coffee.
Give yourself plenty of extra time—more than you think you need. Travel often seems to take longer than usual, and that can leave you feeling stressed and anxious. Give yourself extra time so you don’t feel rushed or worry about being late. This is particularly important during busy travel times, like the days leading up to and following major holidays.
If you have concerns about making connecting flights, be sure to ask the airline’s staff for advice.
Use technology to your advantage. Cut down on the amount of time you spend in lines by checking in online. Many airlines have apps with helpful information and tips to make your trip as easy as possible.
Be mindful of what you pack. A large suitcase might not seem like a big deal at home, but juggling a lot of luggage is a common source of stress and frustration. In addition, many airlines charge for checked baggage or overweight baggage, which can be an unpleasant surprise if you aren’t prepared for the extra costs. Look up the airline’s baggage policies on their website before you pack so you’re prepared.
Taking carry-on baggage? Check your airline’s policies to make sure your bags are the right size and find information about prohibited items at: www.catsa.gc.ca/whatcanIbring
Remember to pack necessary items like medications in your personal carry-on, like a purse or small bag. Carry-on items like backpacks and suitcases may still be checked if there isn’t enough room in the cabin to store everything. Be aware that airlines may have different baggage requirements based on the size of the aircraft you are traveling in. If you have any questions, contact your airline’s customer service team.
Be prepared for delays. Hiccups in travel plans are inevitable, and getting angry or frustrated isn’t going to make your flight take off any faster. Pack something to help you pass the time, like a book or a charger for your phone or other device. If sitting and waiting adds to your frustration, get up, walk around, and check out the amenities at the airport. (Just be mindful of leaving secure areas if you don’t want to go through security again.) At YVR, Green Coat Volunteers can answer any questions or offer suggestions to help you pass the time.
Keep some perspective. Flying lets us travel incredible distances. It’s faster, cheaper, and safer than ever before. We deal with problems every day, and travel days are no different. It’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Everyone is working hard to get you to your destination quickly—and safely. Most problems or delays are small and ultimately won’t have much of an impact on your trip. On the other hand, letting stress or frustration take over can have a lasting impact. You can’t control weather, mechanical issues, traffic, or other sources of delays, but you can control how you react.
- Read more Fly Calm articles to help you travel with ease
Fly Calm is an initiative developed by CMHA and Vancouver International Airport (YVR).