Whilst travelling can be exciting and an adventure to most of us, it can also cause some stress. The one part of the journey that can make even the most seasoned traveller slightly anxious is the journey to the airport. There are so many eventualities that can affect this first part of the journey from whether the sat nav is really showing the right direction, to delays because of an unexpected accident.
The thought of missing a flight can be quite worrying. I know for me I’m always worried whether we’ve left on time, remembered everything and if we’ll easily find the carpark we’ve booked without problem. I always feel a sigh of relief once we reach the airport and the excitement of the journey ahead settles in once more!
In this blog I will share tips on how to make the journey to the airport stress free.
Have your tickets and passports to hand
Whilst the first tip should probably be to make sure you have packed everything you need, I think it’s more important to make sure you have your passport and tickets to hand. If you forget clothing or toiletries then you can buy these at the airport or your destination. It might be annoying but it’s really no big deal.
What is a big deal is if you forget your tickets or passport as you won’t even be able to get on the flight! Rather than scrambling through your handbag to locate them or to double check ten times on the journey to the airport that you have remembered them, have them to hand. This way you can see them and you know you have not forgotten them!
I like to take our families passports, tickets, boarding passports, car parking documents and travel insurance documents in clear A4 or A5 plastic folder so I can easily access them at the airport and find them or even see them in my hand luggage clearly when needed. As we travel through the airport I hold the folder so I can grab anything we need with ease.
On the journey to the airport I keep this folder on my lap or visibly poking out of my handbag so I’m safe in the knowledge we have the most important documents with us. It also stops me checking through my bag ten times on the way just to be sure I haven’t forgotten any of them!
Another stress before even leaving the house and journeying to the airport is trying to squeeze all the luggage into the car. This was near impossible once for us when we had a toddler and baby in tow so had car seats, prams and no end of suitcases to contend with in a car with almost no storage space!
You don’t want to spend the journey to the airport cramped up in a car hugging a suitcase on your lap and with another balancing on your feet in the foot well! Instead, assess the amount of space you have in your car before packing and consider packing minimally for your holiday.
You also don’t want to spend the journey stressing about how you’ll get all the luggage into the airport once you’ve arrived, so take a manageable amount.
Leave earlier than you need to
When it comes to travelling there are a lot of factors that can be unpredictable. Trains and buses can be late, accidents and roadworks can cause traffic jams and diversions or even a mechanical fault in your own car could cause a breakdown.
Most of this is unlikely, but still possible, so it’s best to leave with plenty of time to spare to cover every eventuality so you don’t miss your flight and are not stressed if you do get diverted or transport is slightly late.
There are plenty of shops to look around once you arrive at the airport as well as restaurants and bars. Having once arrived very late at an airport and had to run through to catch my flight, I much prefer arriving with plenty of time to spare as it’s the far less stressful option.
Save money and hassle by pre-booking train tickets
If it’s easy for you to get to a train station and you don’t have too much luggage then you could start your journey by kicking back and relaxing in the comfort of a train without having to worry about driving yourself.
Just be sure to check train times and book in advance so you know you have a spot on the train. I’d also recommend booking a slightly earlier train just to account for any delays. You don’t want to be stressed or miss your flight because of any hold ups with the train service.
If you want to travel by train to the airport and travel by train often then you can save money on your train tickets by investing in and using your Railcard.
If you are London based and flying from Gatwick Airport there is a train service up to four times per hour called the Gatwick Express. Frequent flyers can buy carnet train tickets in advance to get 10 single journeys for the price of 8. This saves the hassle of buying the tickets individually for each journey and you’ll save money too.
Book an airport hotel
Probably the best way to make the journey to the airport totally stress free is to arrive the day before and stay in an airport hotel! That way you won’t have any concerns about missing your flight as you’ll already be at the airport as soon as you wake up.
You’ll be able to totally relax on the day of your flight with no fear of being late.
Pack snacks, entertainment and drinks for the kids
If you’ve a long car journey to the airport with kids then the last thing you want is the kids getting bored, having tantrums or whining in the back of the car. Be prepared with lots of healthy snacks, water and entertainment for the journey.
Making sure the kids are perfectly entertained in the car can make the whole journey a lot less stressful for everyone.
Book airport parking in advance
You should always book airport parking in advance and get as close to the airport as possible whilst making it cost-effective too. We have often booked with APH using Top Cashback as they have very reasonable prices, are never far from the airport and we usually get around 10% cashback. They have regular shuttles to the airport and we’ve never had to wait a long time once we arrive back home – we call them once landed and they’re usually waiting for us once we get out of the airport.
Make sure you know where you are parking and have any booking references to hand once you arrive. If you have a parking space at the airport then make a note of the car park number and location of your car so you can find it easily when you return home.
You definitely don’t want to be stressing about finding parking on arrival so this should always be booked in advance.
Check in at home
Many flights now let you check in at home via their website so you no longer need to wait in long check in queues on arrival. You can print your own boarding passes off or even access them on your phone by downloading them or viewing them on the airlines app. This saves time at the airport so you no longer have to stress about how long the queues will be when you arrive.
Instead, simply drop off your luggage and go straight to security when ready!
Book a private airport transfer
Sometimes I think for all the hassle of loading our car with luggage, having to drive to an airport and paying for parking, I’d rather just book a private car to pick me up from home and take me to the airport. An airport shuttle service to transfer you directly from your home to the airport would pretty much eliminate all the travelling to the airport stress!
They’ll usually load the car with your luggage and drive you in style so you can relax and not worry about having to do anything yourself on the journey. They’ll even drop you right off outside the terminal and on your return they’ll be waiting there holding a board with your name ready to get you back home. The ultimate way to get to and from the airport and one I’ll definitely splurge on in the future!
Once you’re at the airport then your holiday really begins and you can start to relax. Hopefully with some of these tips you’ll be able to relax a bit more before this and enjoy the journey to the airport too.
What to read next
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This is a collaborative blog post. Images are my own or from Canva.