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Bumpy Air Ahead

It's no secret. Flying these days can be an utter nightmare. Gone are the days of all smiles and laughs aboard planes headed for fun and exciting destinations. Now airplanes are on the same enjoyment plain as a taxi cab ride. Delays, mechanical issues, canceled flights and unhappy people have created quite the atmosphere in most airports.

But flying is one of those things that is hard to avoid. Unless you plan on driving to all of your vacation destinations, you will most likely have to board a plane and fly. So here are some tips to help make that whole experience a little less stressful. Always keep in mind that so much of the issues these days are out of your control, but we know there are things that are within your control and that is what we want to focus on here.

First, always try to fly direct, if possible. Yes the fare may be more expensive for a direct flight, but you will also minimize issues that come with connecting flights and therefore minimize your stress. If you are on a direct flight, you at least know that when your plane takes off, you are headed for your destination. The flip side is going for a cheaper flight with connections and then stressing once that first flight gets its first delay notice. Once someone starts looking at their watch as their flight gets more delayed and more delayed, the stress will follow suit. Now we know that sometimes it is inevitable and you will need to take a connecting flight, but when you can, always opt for the direct option.

Second and somewhat related to the above tip, when you have to book a connecting flight, always try to find one with at least a two hour layover. Now I know some people will really balk at this tip, but trust us, your stress will be far less than if you go for that "legal" 40 minute layover that you will most likely miss if your first flight is delayed for even a short time. Two hours give breathing space for things to possibly go wrong. So why not build that little buffer into your travel experience.

Third, pay for the fare and fly with the airline that allows you to pick your seat if you are traveling with others. So many people pick a cheap fare that does not allow for advance seat selection and then they stress when they finally board the plane and there are no seats together. Why not just avoid that little stress factor all together?

Fourth, check your bag, especially if you are on a direct flight. Just please check a bag. It's obvious that so much stress on planes these days is the rush to get on the plane quickly so someone can hurry and get their bags in the overhead bin space before it's all gone. Those of us who check bags (and fly with a pre-selected seat) are the ones getting on stress free. We don't even care when we get on because we don't need any overhead space and out seat is already reserved for us. It makes the whole experience just a little more stress-free and hence a little more enjoyable.

Fifth and lastly, get to the airport 2 hours ahead of time. Yes you may get there and get through security and still have 90 minutes before your flight, but isn't that better than the alternative? Isn't that less stressful that trying to time things to where you check in and then immediately start boarding? What if security is longer than expected? What if there is an accident on the highway slowing traffic down? How would you rather start your vacation? Running through an airport hoping to make your flight? Or walking peacefully to your gate and having time to pick up some snacks or reading material etc? I know which one we would choose.

We hope these tips help alleviate some of the inevitable stress travelers feel these days when trying to simply get from one destination to another. You may not agree with all of them, but give some a try and let us know how it works out compared to previous trips you may have taken. Feel free to comment below.


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