23 Ultimate Tips On How To Deal With Airport Anxiety | Airport Stress, Travel
I had to write this guide on some tips I use to deal with airport anxiety to remind myself that I am not the only person in the world that suffers from airport stress and panic attacks when I fly.
As I sit in an international airport an hour away from catching my next flight my chest feels heavy, my vision is slightly blurred and I have a real feeling of confusion hovering over me on this very simply task of flying.
The feeling started 6 hours before I left my home, where I checked if I had my passport, my itinerary and my chargers over 30 times. No mater how many times I check over my stuff, I still feel like I am forgetting something. I woke up extra early today, because I could not sleep properly because of my flight anxiety. I got all of my work done, and then I re-packed…..4 or 5 times. Do I have enough underwear? Should I bring that other t-shirt? Wait no it doesn’t match with anything.
I have been literally been travelling on 4+trips per year for over 25 years and this still affects me, in fact I feel like it is getting worse. My family is growing and I have 2 kids and my wife travelling with me now. I feel responsible although my wife does most of the packing. It is crazy, during our time travelling I have never had a traumatic experience so why the fuck am I so weird?
As I write this, I am checking my phone over and over for the time, even though I am hours early. Yes your heard me, I came to the airport really early so that I could try to relax. It didn’t help, but I’m sure that the panic would have been worse if I had gotten here later.
As I look around at the people around me, I am really pissed off at how chill they look. They are excited for their vacations, and they are genuinely enjoying being in the airport. Fuckers, lol. But at the corner of my eye, I see a young women that I have watched check her passport in her bag multiple times. Her face looks really concerned, and she looks stiff as a board. Her eyes gaze up at the gate and there is no one there. Can it be? Is she feeling what I’m feeling? Should I talk to her about it? Nah I will choose to suffer alone, because I am not weak…in my mind.
These are just some of the shitty feelings you will have if you get airport anxiety. I am writing this guide in the hopes I can help some of you fly better. Please comment any of the feelings you have about this and join our group below. I will post a lot of other helpful hints on how to make your vacations easier.
21 Tips On How To Cope With Airport Anxiety
Buy a passport holder that can fit your itinerary, passports, and boarding passes.
My wife uses one of these, because of my airport anxiety she is the one in charge of these items. I still ask her about it all of the time and she tells me to not worry about it.
The passport holder will keep you organized and when you look look for your passport and other things, it will all be in the same place.
2. Fly with people you trust
I trust my wife to have everything in order. She takes control of the passports, getting luggage tags and dealing with the airline agents. She also does the web checkins. This is a huge relief for me and it really helps.
I do the heavy lifting of luggage, car seats, strollers etc. Its a good tradeoff. She is better at dealing with those things and I am better at brute lifting! lol
3. Avoid coffee before your flight
Coffee can raise your blood pressure and can trigger your anxiety. Stick to tea or hot water before your flights.
4. Take your blood pressure medication or anti depressants
I don’t have either of these things but I’m sure this would help you a lot if you have high blood pressure. I have also heard that taking adevan will help you relax.
5. Arrive 2.5 hours before your flight
Be early and relax in the airport. It will help you to chill out. Being rushed is the worst when you have airport anxiety.
6. Plan for accidents and traffic jams in your commute to the airport
Leave early as if you know you would be stuck in rush hour. My in laws missed a flight a week ago because they did not give themselves enough time to factor in an accident on the highway on the way to their flight. It ended up costing them more money and hassle than it was worth.
7. Pack 2 days in advance
Trust me on this, if you get airport anxiety you do not want to pack the day before your trip. What if you have to wash something? When I start packing a day or two before the trip, as I walk around my house I always see things that I need to take with me. If I didn’t give myself the time I would have forgot these.
8. Make a checklist of your items
This is one of my best tips for you. Every smartphone has a checklist now, so make a list of things you need to bring and check each item off one by one. If you are a real crazy like me, you can even write down on the list where you put each item.
9. Don’t party the night before your flight
Partying the night before your flight will make you feel like shit. I used to do this in my younger years and it was horrible. I would feel like shit in the airport and on the plane. My mind would not be clear, so I always felt I was forgetting something. And I would forget things like chargers etc in my hotels.
10. Get Nexus or some other type of airport benefit to help you skip the lines
I have Nexus and it allows me to skip through the lines and go right up to the security gate as well as allows me to bypass immigration! Getting to my gate faster when I have anxiety is a relief.
11. Get a good sleep the night before your flight
Being well rested will help you with your mood at the airport. You will be able to think clearly and hash out issues better.
12. Read a book
For some reason, I read a lot more while I am on vacation. Probably because I have time to kill, reading a book in the airport will help you get your mind off of your airport anxiety.
13. Stay in a airpot hotel
When we fly long haul to 10 hours or more, we find it smart to stay in an airport hotel for at least 10 hours to give ourselves and our kids a break of flying. This serves a few purposes, to let our asses and backs get a break, to calm the kids and have a mini adventure.
The airport hotels in the international airports rent the rooms by the hour. If you are a traveling couple you can look forward to an exciting romp in another country. Now thats relaxing!
14. Chill in an airport lounge
Airport lounges are there for a reason, to make you comfortable. They include free drinks and food with the entrance fee. Many airport lounges have comfortable reclining seating perfect for taking a nap! Or you can have a refreshing shower to freshen up.
Many credit cards include free entrance into the airport lounges, check and see if your credit card has this feature. Make sure you get your entry ticket to the lounge prior to going to the airport.
15. Enjoy the airport
Every airport has some sort of amenities including, play areas for kids, shopping and restaurants and lounges. I like to sit in a lounge and have a few beers before a flight to pass the time.
16. Sleep as much as you can
This will help you in 2 ways, it will lower your heart rate and you will relax. And when you get to your destination, you will be totally refreshed and ready to have an amazing day! When I fly I make sure I have everything I need to be comfortable including layered clothing, good luggage and comfortable earphones.
17. Watch netflix or a movie on your flight
This will help you to pass the time, and keep your mind of of your airport anxiety.
18. Book a red eye flight
We do this all of the time with long flights, these flights are usually cheaper and you will sleep the entire flight!
19. Buy good luggage with lots of pockets
I use a super lightweight luggage I bought to help relieve me of the anxiety of luggage weight restrictions. It is made by samsonite and it has pockets for everything. My bags are organized and very light.
20. Own an awesome travel backpack
I can’t stress how much organization helps with airport anxiety, having a backpack that can carry all of your essentials is amazing and convenient. I bought one that gives me extra room in case my luggage is overweight so that I have that extra padding of security.
21. Wear a jacket with lots of pockets.
The jacket I am wearing as I fly right now has a pocket for everything. On area is for my passport and wallet, the next area is for my cell phone and headphones. I know where things are when I need them. And access is fast.
22. Buy a luggage scale
Luggage scales are the best invention to make sure you are not overweight at the airport. This is reason many people get anxiety when going to the airport. You just need to be sure and this will help you do it. Plus they are are really cheap and lightweight!
23. Buy a neck Pillow, Eye Mask, and ear plugs
This will help you to rest. I have had good ones and really bad ones and it makes a massive difference in your comfort. Here is one set that I recommend as it is memory foam and contours to your neck. The eye mask is velour and it comes with and ear plug set all for a cheap price tag. Check it out.
Common Questions about airport anxiety
What does airport anxiety feel like?
You will know you are having airport anxiety if you have pressure in your chest, your arm might also hurt. Your vision will get straight directional almost like there is a halo to the corner of your eye. You will feel like you are forgetting something. You will feel anxious and will not be able to eat properly. It feels like you are sick and frustrated.
Airport anxiety is a really shitty feeling.
Who gets airport anxiety?
Anyone who travels can get airport anxiety. Some people are more prone to it. Those that suffer from anxiety or panic attacks. People that need everything in order also get airport anxiety. My sister in law likes everything to be organized. Because of the chaos in airports she gets anxiety in the airport.
How does airport anxiety affect the people travelling with you?
OOhh it sucks for them. My family hates my airport anxiety, I have literally almost gotten into fights in the airport because of it. Because they are stuck with me, we have built strategies on how to deal with it. They know it is not going away and we need to deal with it before it causes us to have shitty experience.
I really don’t want them to feel how I feel so I try my best to hide the feelings I have. I really don’t want my kids to ever feel lie this in the airport.
Why do I get airport anxiety?
There is nor real reason for it, but if you have had a traumatic experience at an airport it could be worse for you. Most things that happen in an airport are out of your control and that can give people anxiety in itself.
Why am I nervous going through airport security?
This is a weird one, everyone feels nervous going through security. It is their jobs to make you feel this way because they are trained to be scary to make people flinch. Even though you know you are not doing anything wrong you will always feel like you are at airport security.
In the back of your mind you may be thinking that they will randomly check you bag.
Will I get a panic attack in the airport?
If you don’t properly deal with your airport anxiety there is a very good chance you will have a panic attack at the airport. Having one of these episodes is very scary here is a link on how to deal with panic attacks at the airport.
Can I get a heart attack from airport anxiety?
Anything that raises your heart rate, has the potential to give you a heart attack. A panic attack feels like you are having a heart attack and that is what makes it worse. If you are feeling chest pains please consult a physician.
Can you have airport anxiety if you are a frequent flyer?
I am a frequent flyer and I get airport anxiety every single time I fly. There is no avoiding it. Right now I am sitting in a lounge at the Denver airport having a beer and some chips and salsa. My flight is at 6:50 and it is 5:40. I feel like I should get my bill. That is a form of airport anxiety. I am deciding in my mind if I will stop at the washroom on the way to the gate. I have so much time but I feel rushed. It sucks.
Will my airport anxiety affect my kids?
Yes your negative energy will affect your kids. When my anxiety levels are bad, I am less patient with the kids. I am also unable to entertain them, so they get frustrated as well. It’s a cycle that you need to break, take deep breaths and focus on something engaging.
Does drinking alcohol help airport anxiety?
If you talk to a doctor, they will probably tell you that drinking alcohol when you have airport anxiety is a bad idea. I am currently sitting in a lounge people watching and having a drink has actually helped me to relax. I can feel my body and perception coming back to me as if a diabetic just had some sugar. There will probably be some backlash for saying this, and this is definitely not a medical opinion, but it helps me. That being said I am not getting belligerently wasted before my flight, I am having 1 or 2 cocktails and trying to enjoy being in the airport.
Does smoking weed help with airport anxiety?
I don’t smoke weed, but I did speak to some people that do and they told me it helps them a lot. Apparently smoking marijuana relaxes you and releases dopamine the happy drug into your system. Be careful doing this kind of thing in most countries as ganja is illegal. We are Canadian so weed is legal.
Is CBD oil good for airport anxiety?
CBD oil is often diagnosed to people with social anxieties and airport anxiety is a form of social anxiety. I would say that it probably would help you with your airport anxiety. You don’t get high, just relaxed off of it.
If you have any more insight or questions about iarport anxiety, please shoot us an email or comment. We want to be the most comprehensive source of travel related questions on the internet. I hope this can help you.
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