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How to Make Time at the Airport a Bit Less Stressful | Frommer's Jorge Diaz/Flickr

How to Make Time at the Airport a Bit Less Stressful

Everyone wants to go on vacation. Nobody wants to go to the airport. But with the following tips, your stay in that purgatory could be just a hair more tolerable.
Check in online ahead of time. Printing your boarding pass ahead means one less line at the airport. 'Nuf said.

Get to the airport early. This may sound counterintuitive, since who wants to spend more time at the airport? But flying becomes far more stressful when there's the potential of missing your flight hanging over your head. Give yourself an extra half hour so you can relax a bit.

Be an outlet sharer. There’s no airport commodity as valuable as power outlets. So be the guy everyone is happy to see and bring a mini travel power outlet with you. There are half a dozen affordable ones on the market that are the size of an adult man’s hand, with three outlets and two or three USB ports. They're small, portable and you might need those extra power sources in your hotel room, too.

Keep your receipt if you have to buy something from one of those overpriced Best Buy vending machines. If you forget your power cord, headphones, or some other gadget and have to buy it at the airport (and who hasn’t that happened to?), Best Buy’s price guarantee means that any regular store will refund what you overpaid at the vending machine so long as you have proof. Just knowing that will make your day much nicer, I promise.

Pick the right airport. Not all are created equal, so if comfort and on-time departures enters the equation and your destination has several hubs, pick the one with the best reviews and stats. For example, in New York City right now, JFK Airport has a significantly better record when it comes to on-time departures and arrivals than Newark or LaGuardia. To read about the worst articles in the USA, and thus avoid them, click here.

Consider lounging. A number of credit cards now allow their bearers free access to a wide variety of airport lounges, with their more serene atmosphere, complimentary food and drink, uncrowded restrooms, and cushy, outlet-laden chairs. If you’re not one of those lucky cardholders and you have a long layover, see if a kind stranger will add you as their guest. Yes, this requires loitering by the lounge entrance and approaching people you don’t know, but if you’re well spoken and decently dressed, many folks will be happy to help you. A final tool: The app Lounge Buddy has reviews of the lounges near you and will tell you what fee you’ll need to pay for access. Sometimes the price is worth it.

Seek out the chapel or yoga room. If you can’t get into the lounge, these lightly-used spaces are usually empty and therefore serene oases away from the frenetic energy of the terminal. And nobody is going to check that you’re actually praying or doing “down dog.”

Leave via the arrivals area. You’ll avoid the bigger crowds at Departures that way, get a cab much quicker (if you need one), and have an spot where a friend or an Uber can pick you up much more easily. In fact, at some airports, Ubers are required to pick up passengers in Arrivals, not outside baggage claim.