Travel Hacks for a Stress-Free Airport Experience

Flying can be stressful. From the fear of flying to the fear of your luggage getting lost, it seems like there are a million things that could go wrong. But with a little pre-planning, you can manage the stress of flying, transforming even the busiest airport into a giant mall full of snacks, people watching, and kitschy souvenirs. Check out these tips from world traveler Alison Hoover.


One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of air travel is getting through security. Every airport seems to have different requirements, and it makes the process feel unpredictable. But while you’re waiting in line, listen for agents’ announcements so you know if you need to remove electronics or shoes. Plan ahead by wearing smart footwear, minimizing accessories and jewelry, and keeping your carry-on organized.

Pack Smart

Your carry-on (whether it’s a suitcase, backpack, or shopping bag) should include everything you cannot afford to lose –– medicine, electronics, even a special piece of jewelry. You should also include charging cords, toiletries, and a change of clothes. The trick to seamlessly making it through security is keeping your stuff organized.

Keep anything that needs to be removed on the top of your bag, such as electronics and liquids. Push the less important items to the bottom, like your change of clothes. If flying internationally, stay organized so it’s easy to redo security between flights. I find that smaller bags inside bigger bags make this easier, plus when smaller bags are sealed and placed inside larger bags or suitcases, it reduces the risk of a bed bug infestation during your travels.

PreCheck / Mobile Passport / Global Entry

If you travel frequently, you should seriously consider TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. The cost and time will be well worth it when you can skip the long lines, pack everything in a carry-on, and keep your shoes on. Mobile Passport is another great option to make the process easier whether you travel once a month or once a decade. Not all airports and countries support it, but Mobile Passport is worth looking into as it will save you a lot of time at passport control.

Book Strategically

There are a lot of things to consider when booking your airline tickets. While there’s no one “right way” to book, there are a few things to think about so you can decide what makes the most sense for you. For example, while it can be tempting to book connecting flights close together, you want to be sure you have plenty of time to get from one gate to another and account for any minor delays. There’s nothing more stressful than hearing your name on the intercom system as you run through the airport trying to make it to the gate on time!

On the other hand, you might want to pay a little extra to get nonstop tickets. This minimizes the stress of delayed or canceled flights.

Another option to think about is utilizing smaller airports. Flying in and out of smaller airports is an entirely different experience from major international hubs. A higher priced ticket may be well worth it for a stress-free experience and cheap parking. Small airports can be especially beneficial for travelers who are not neurotypical or who have physical impairments, since they aren’t nearly as loud and crowded.

Plan Ahead

If you or someone you are traveling with requires accommodations, contact the airline for support. The airline can meet you at the gate with a wheelchair if it’s needed, or escort you through the terminal on a shuttle cart. If you are traveling with someone who has autism, for example, TSA can and will support you in the security screening process. You may even be able to do a test-run through security a few weeks before your trip.

Airport Lounges

This has the potential to be a major splurge, but it’s worth considering. If you have an especially long travel itinerary and layover, gaining access to an airport lounge can make the travel time feel like part of the vacation time. Every airport has different options, but you can often purchase a day pass with the airline. You may also have options associated with a credit card account you already have. Once you’ve booked your flights, look into lounge options and consider if it’s a way to alleviate airport stress.


Before I tell you what to do with your kids, let me clarify that every kid is different, every family is different, and what works for one parent isn’t going to work for another. That said,  use their bags to your advantage! Instead of packing into individual bags per person, combine similar items to make travel easier. Put all of the items that need to come out at security into one bag. This will make it easier for you to manage TSA and your kids at the same time. Put all the clothes in one bag and all of the entertainment items into another.

If your kids are nervous about traveling, try to pack items that will comfort them. Consider a new coloring book and favorite stuffed animal. You don’t have to have a ton of fancy stuff to make the experience more enjoyable.


Whether you’re traveling with kids or not, pack snacks. Long lines and exorbitant prices are a major downer. If you’re traveling internationally, you may also find it comforting to have something you know you like (and something you know agrees with your digestive system). You should also carry a refillable water bottle. You cannot take any beverages through security (unless there’s a medical exemption), but you can take an empty water bottle and fill it up in the terminal. Most airports have free water bottle filling stations throughout the concourse.

Pre-Plan Ground Transportation

Have your ride waiting for you by booking with GO Airport Shuttle for one less thing to worry about. Book here!

Some of the best travel advice I’ve ever received came from a friend with dual citizenship and hundreds of thousands of air miles: people brush their teeth and wash their clothes everywhere in the world. Be sure you have the absolute necessities –– medication, documents, phone and charger –– in your carry-on, and everything else can be sorted should an issue arise. Having this in mind is the first step to stress-less travel. Worry about the big stuff and the things you can control. Everything else will work itself out.

Alison is a world traveler who loves to spend her time writing and reading. When she’s home, you can find her playing with her pet rabbit and baking.

For airport transportation or around town rides, click here to check rates and availability.

Share on:
Scroll to Top