The vein in your temple is pulsing like a dubstep beat and the blood is rising to your brain like a flood in a swimming pool – you’re at the airport, and the stress is almost too much to bear.
Comedian and actor David Walliams once said, “All of human life can be found in an airport”, but what he failed to mention was that most of this human life is about as relaxed as Woody Allen on a bucking bronco.
Next to moving house and the eight-hour working day, visiting the airport is deemed one of the most stressful activities a person can undertake.
And it’s easy to see why. Endless queues, intensive security checks, the fear of flying thousands of miles in the air in a gigantic tin can, questions so intense that even the nicest person in the world would think they were a terrorist – the conditions of most airports create a perfect storm of paranoia, confusion and brain-throbbing stress.
Amidst the sea of fulminating faces and clamorous crowds you’ll find the occasional pool of calm. There will always be a few people who resemble a Zen cow, calmly sitting in the departure lounge without a care in the world.
They’re not all on Valium (although some, most likely, are). They’ve simply come prepared.
If you want to be like them when you visit an airport, try these tips.
Fix up your parking
The first hurdle your face in the airport is trying to find a parking spot. But, unless you’ve booked ahead, they can be like fairy dust. You’ll drive around for what seems like aeons before you’ve got even half a chance of finding a spot, such is the labyrinth-like and overwhelmingly busy nature of the airport car park.
Some airports allow third-party companies to handle some of the parking for them. Edinburgh Airport parking, for instance, has car parks situated away from the main terminals. Passengers can book their spot and be shuttled straight to their terminal. There are fewer relaxing ways to start your travels.
Look outside the airport
There’s more to life than departure lounges. Unless you’re an avid plane spotter, the idea of spending hours cooped up in the airport can be as gruelling than a gulag.
Despite the obscure location of some airports, many are still surrounded by interesting hotspots perfect for relaxation. Check the internet for quiet villages, cool eateries, small pubs or hillside resorts that could fill your time before your flight.
No matter where you’re travelling, try to remember these simple tips. It could save a lot of headaches before you board your flight.