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Making the Airport a Breeze

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Written by  January 6, 2016

Tips to turn your time in transit into a success.

Airports tend to be where you start your trip—but whether or not your time in the airport starts your trip off on the right note isn’t always only up to you. There are millions of people who fly each day to destinations around the world. Think about what it takes to make an airport run: All the people who work there. All the vendors inside the airport. All the customer service representatives at the kiosks. All of the security people. Even the people on the plane that get you to where you want to go, pilots and flight attendants. And I’m sure I’m missing a few people on that list.

So what steps can you take to ensure that you have a good experience at the airport, even when most of it is out of your control?

Prepare

• Print out your itinerary, just in case your phone dies
• Check the weight of your luggage before you leave home
• Have documentation of why you are going to the country or city you are going to, in case they ask questions
• Get there early, even if you think you don’t need to
• Pack a carry-on that has everything you would need for a few days in case your luggage gets lost

Security

• Follow by example—look at other people to see how a particular line works
• Ask questions if you have them
• Even if the security personnel are not friendly, be friendly anyways
• Double-check your bag before you leave home to make sure you don’t have questionable substances in it

Waiting

• Give yourself enough time before you board to make sure you do not need to pick any last-minute things up at the shops
• To save money, eat food on the plane if it is a long flight
• Talk to family members and friends one last time before you leave the country
• Buy adaptors at the airport; they’re often cheaper there
• If you have 10+ hours to wait after getting through customs on a layover, look into the possibility of going into the city

The flight

• Prepare yourself for the crying babies
• Bring something to do that does not need a charge, like a book or crossword puzzle
• Bring a neck pillow (you’ll thank me later)
• Say please and thank you with a smile whenever the attendants ask you any questions
• Ask for an extra glass of water or two throughout the ride to stay hydrated
• Chew gum when taking off and landing
• Get up and stretch when the seatbelt sign is off
 
I’ve had trips where it has taken me two days in and out of airports just to get to my end destination. I’ve realized that most of what ensures you will have a good start to your trip is making sure you have the right attitude about travel. Going into the day knowing you will probably have to wait in a few lines and knowing everything won’t always go as planned ensures your sanity. With increased security affected by current events, people may not be as friendly as you expect either.
 
However, the reverse is always possible too. I spoke with a man working the counter at a store inside the airport, and he gave me a free large coffee just because! I’ve sat next to nice people who have given me travel tips while in country, and then they’ve helped me through security since they’re natives of the area. I’ve even had individuals pass me the paper or a book they’re reading because they are done with it.
 
Whether or not you will conquer airports is solely dependent upon your attitude. If you take things as they come and if you are positive about it, then an airport can end up being the perfect start to your trip.
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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Abigail Zeitler

Abz Zeitler is a communications student from The University of Texas. She is studying abroad at University of Amsterdam in 2016 and frequently volunteers in Africa with IVHQ and African Impact.  

Website: theresnosuchthingasanexcuse.tumblr.com

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