LH: And now for an oldie but goodie…basic airport tips.
I have a love/hate relationship with airports. I adore traveling to distant places, and being at the airport means I’m probably doing that. But the physical and emotional stresses of going through the grandiose airport rigamarole can bring me to my knees, or worse. Literally.
Here’s how I navigate airports now, without pushing myself into a trip-wrecking flare:
Eat before leaving and bring homemade snacks
It’s amazing how much better I feel when I eat before I go to the airport. With stable blood sugar and hormone levels and a full belly, I am in better shape to deal with the barrage of people and problems the airport inevitably provides. This also lets me skip the so-called “food” sold in most airports.
Oh, and don’t bother with the bars unless you’re stuck in an airport for hours. The wine is cheap and the cocktails watered down.
Come early and bring a book, laptop, or iPhone
Rushing and panic over making it to the plane on time equals stress,and stress equals pain flares. So I show up early, get the wheelchair service, then hang out at the gate. Airport gates are great places for people-watching, bubblegum novel-reading, and playing the latest iteration of Angry Birds.
Check the big bags
Yes, you read that correctly. I check a bag on every air voyage I take. I don’t put any of my meds or other critical items in the checked bag (and neither should you). But I don’t need to drag my clothes and shoes and shampoo and extra paperback vampire novels across the airport. They’re heavy, and twisting my body while dragging a weight does unhappy things to my back and pelvic area–my pain centers.
Get a wheelchair
I’m not a typically mobility-challenged traveler, but chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and the associated difficulty lifting things and standing in long lines all take their toll at airports.
I continue to be honestly amazed at how much easier the airport feels and how much better I do on the plane, then at my destination, when I avail myself of wheelchair service. Which airports provide for free, no questions asked, to anyone who asks for it, by the way.
More on the emotional impact of asking for wheelchair service at the airport in another post…
Tip the chair attendant if she’s nice
Build up your good travel karma by tipping your wheelchair attendant $2-$5. They’re often friendly and can give you great ideas for local restaurants and attractions.
Use the bathroom early and often
If you ask, the wheelchair attendant will stop off at the bathroom on the way to or from the gate. Ask. You know you want to.
Ask a friend or family member for a pick-up
It’s always so nice to come home from a long trip to see a friendly face at baggage claim. Having someone I know there to help with bags and bundles as I make my way home soothes my tired soul as much as it does my aching body.
Also, my dad and my husband rarely expect tips for hefting my bags into the car.
Thanks guys! You’re the best.