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International Exchange

5 Tips for a stress-free airport experience

3 September 2019

I am known to be very anxious at airports and after talking to others sharing my flight, I realised I am not alone. Here are my top tips on a stress-free airport experience!

1. Arrive early

There is nothing worse than being in a rush especially in a stressful environment. I recommend arriving at the airport around 2 ½ hours before take-off if you are checking in luggage, just 2 hours before take-off if not, this gives enough time to check in and get through security with no rush but doesn’t mean you are hanging around in the airport for hours with nothing to do.

2. Research in advance!

Know your baggage limits and research extensively. I fell victim to this. I thought I was fine lugging a 23kg, 10kg and a 5kg backpack, the 10kg and 5kg as carry-on luggage. Alas, as I checked in, I discovered both my carry-on bags had to be a combined 10 kilos- no chance. £65 later I won’t be making that mistake again!

The luggage I brought with me to Canada

3. Be Organised-

Simple things such as knowing what to expect going through security can be a huge help. Taking liquids (in a small clear resealable bag) and any electricals such as laptops out of your bags in advance can vastly speed up the process and make the experience calmer for you.

4. Keep all travel documents together-

I kept all of mine in an A5 pink plastic wallet- by having everything together 1. makes me less likely to misplace something and 2. Means if you come to a point where documents are required, but are unsure which ones, everything you could possibly need is in your hand ready to present.

My passport and document folder

5. Do what is best for you!

For some people having loved ones at the airport is too difficult or they simply don’t want anyone with them. For me there was never a choice; I couldn’t face going to the airport alone and dragged my parents, brother and my boyfriend along with me. This worked best for me as it was a proper chance to say goodbye and I never really had chance to reflect on leaving them as I had to be prepared for security. For others being alone works equally well, just don’t think that you have to do what others do- there is no ‘right’ way and, as I have found, nobody is going to judge you for wanting to say goodbye.

Polaroid picture of me and my boyfriend at Gatwick

Hopefully these tips were helpful, if anyone has other tips please leave them in the comments!


  1. Joe O'Reilly

    Excuse me. I want photography credits in future! Glad all was okay and I hope your first few days have been fun! Shame you can’t come with me to watch Mingsy for England. But I’m sure you will be doing something much more fun!

  2. Sam Mordey-Jones

    Very informative, definitely will be using these tips when coming to see you in future x

  3. Sheila O'Reilly

    An expert Travel Advisor as well as an expert Geologist ….. (almost) …..Looking forward to reading your next blog xxxx

  4. Paul O'Reilly

    Oh my, when did my daughter get so responsible ?. Very good blog that, with very good advice. The “saying goodbye” is hard for everybody. As you say, there is no right or wrong aay, just “your” way. Speak later, we have now booked flights, car and airbnb for February so start stocking up on teabags !!. Love , Dad xx

  5. Steve

    Personally, I used to arrive early so that i could drink free Guinness in the executive lounge

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