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Family vacations let you escape from your busy daily schedule and explore new places, create new memories with those you love, and enjoy time off. However, getting to your destination isn’t always a walk in the park. For many, traveling, especially air travel, stimulates lots of unwanted anxiety, from security checks and crowded airports to the unpredictability of flight schedules. Here are some tips and tricks for reducing travel anxiety to help make air travel and airport navigation with families less stressful.
Dress for Comfort
As cliché as it sounds, dressing for comfort does do wonders for reducing travel anxiety. The more comfortable you feel, the easier it is to relax. For some people, creating stylish yet comfortable outfits provides maximum comfort because it allows them to feel and look good, boosting their comfort levels and confidence. Wearing clothes that also make TSA checks less daunting, like pocketless clothing, easy-to-take-off jackets and shoes, and minimal accessories further reduces stress. As an added best practice, packing extra clothes prepares you for any wardrobe malfunctions. It also comes in handy if you or other family members end up not feeling as comfortable as you thought you would in your original clothing choice.
Give Yourself Extra Time
Feeling rushed rarely feels good. Sitting at the airport for hours may not sound appealing, but being early for your flight provides plenty more benefits compared to playing the risk game. A lot of the stress and anxiety caused by flying comes from all the possible unpredictabilities, ranging from delays and gate changes to TSA check lines and weather. Getting to the airport early gives you time to react to any impromptu changes, make new plans, and settle down to gather your thoughts and a breath before the next leg of the race. Plus, it allows you to familiarize yourself with the airport, get to know where the bathrooms are if you need them, and find potential food options and your gate location.
Create an Airport Routine
Along with giving yourself extra time, creating an airport routine prepares you for how you’re going to spend your time at the airport. Routines vary depending on who you travel with and the age of your children. A possible routine is immediately finding your gate after TSA and familiarizing yourself with its location. After sourcing your end destination, you can explore the airport amenities, grab comfort items like tea or coffee, and indulge in stress-free activities like coloring, reading, and playing cards with your family.
Pack Destress Essentials
Destress essentials come in various forms, from adult coloring books to essential oils. Many sensorial items make great comfort essentials because they easily stimulate reactions in the nervous system, causing your body to relax. Common sensory-based comforts include scented lotions or mini roll-on oils and perfumes, fidget toys, favorite jewelry, and specific snacks. Packing your favorite comfort must-haves (within the TSA guidelines) sets you up with familiar practices and items that you already associate with relaxation. You can be sure that these will trigger positive emotions or reactions.
There are many more tips and tricks for reducing travel anxiety, but the most important tip for creating maximum comfort during travel is taking time to listen to your body. If you feel overwhelmed or need a moment to breathe, allow yourself to tend to those feelings. Similarly, if anyone in your travel party starts to feel like they need a breather or is starting to get anxious, stop and turn your focus to those issues. The smoother your travel experience, the more joy you’ll get from your entire vacation experience.