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Survival Guide: Christmas at the Airport

Survival Guide: Christmas at the Airport

The holidays are coming quickly which means many of you might be looking into your holiday travel plans. I won’t lie, traveling during the holidays is much more stressful than typical travel days. However, these tips will help you survive Christmas at the airport!

Between the thousands of people running in every direction throughout the airport, to make sure you don’t lose a family member to the crowd, to weather-related flight delays, there is no doubt there will be some stress.

After all, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a little stress, right?!

Well, I believe in having as little stress as humanly possible because we all know how bad it is for our health and wellbeing. Especially during the holidays which are supposed to be filled with cheer!

Don’t even get me started on the cost of holiday travel… though there are some tips to save money during the holiday travel season!

Regardless of where you plan to travel to this holiday season, at least some of these Christmas at the airport survival hacks will apply to you, and will save you from sweating during the airport security line or overspending!

Let’s start with the obvious…

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Related: HACKS airports don’t want you to know about!

holiday airport tips
Free Christmas bingo boards

Staying Calm at the Airport

woman at airport looking at board

Obviously, one of the best ways to reduce stress is to stay calm! Easy, right?! Well, maybe for the lucky ones…

However, in order to make your Christmas at the airport experience less stressful, you need to stay calm. Or, at least remind yourself to be, since it is much easier said than done!

You may find yourself starting to breathe heavier or feel some sweat on your palms. Maybe the security line is longer than you expected, or your flight got delayed.

In these situations, it is crucial to remember that there is literally nothing you can do about it sometimes! Let this be a comfort to you rather than stressed. It is out of your control, therefore it is not your fault, so why stress!

Sure, there are always reasonable reasons to be stressed. However, stress doesn’t help the situation, and only exacerbates it. 

Think of it this way: When faced with a stressful situation, throw your emotions away, but just for the moment. Stop and look at the facts, not your emotions. Without your emotions clouding your judgment, you can think clearly and make a good next decision. Then, later on, you can release your emotions and deal with them as needed!

You can always take a moment to find a quiet place (or just the bathroom stall) for a few breaths of solitude to collect yourself again!

You got this!

Related: Self-care while traveling

Preparing for Delays at the Airport

person pointing to delayed flight on board

Ah, flight delays. Gotta love the wintertime, am I right!? If you are traveling to or from a snowy destination, you should already know by now that there is potential for weather delays and/or cancellations. Simply put, there is nothing you can do about this.

BUT, you can control your reaction to it and your next steps. Of course, check the weather before you leave. If you see a storm coming the day you are set to fly out, keep an eye on your flight for delays or cancellations.

If you see the storm coming and the chance of a delay, you can at least prepare yourself just in case. This will be much less stressful than it being a complete surprise and with no preparations. 

You might not even need to go to the airport- you can sign up for updates on your flight and can receive notifications if it gets canceled or delayed. This way, you can save yourself the drive and stress of coming to the airport only to realize you aren’t leaving today!

Of course, this might mean you miss Christmas or Thanksgiving. Remember though, this is out of your control! And, you can always celebrate Christmas in your hotel room

What to do at the Airport

playground inside of airport
This is a playground in the Baltimore airport terminal!

One of the most important tips to survive Christmas at the airport is to remember to bring something to do. Even if your flight is not delayed, chances are you will have some time to kill.

If your flight is delayed, who knows how much time you will have to wait!

Make sure you bring something to do with you, just in case. Maybe this means bringing a good book or buying one at the airport shop. Bring your laptop, watch a movie, or get some work done!

Especially if you have young children, you will want to be prepared. Make sure you pack some of their favorite activities so you can help keep them occupied. Sometimes, airports have indoor playgrounds, so be on the lookout for those- they can truly be a lifesaver!

In the event that you need to spend the night at the airport, firstly, I’m sorry. Secondly, I do have some tips for you! This guide will walk you through how to spend the night at the airport

Airport Security Line Tips

suitcase going through airport security

Part of our Christmas at the airport survival guide is how to get through the airport security line quickly and effectively. 

Picture this: you arrive at 6 AM to the airport after driving an hour to get there, ran around trying to find the cheapest place to park, walk into the terminal and see the security line is full of hundreds of travelers.

Cue the sweaty palms. Unfortunately, this is the norm for holiday travel. Remember to get there early (I know, you already know this), but for real. Especially during the busiest travel season, you need to give yourself some extra time. 

You can always opt for TSA Precheck to skip the line, but for those of us who don’t have that perk, there are some things we can do. 

Firstly, don’t just stand in line waiting. Prepare for your turn! Get your boarding pass and ID prepared, take out your laptop and/or liquids, take your shoes and jacket off, and just get yourself organized. 

This way, once it is your turn, you can fly right through! If everyone operated this way, the line would go much faster.

Related: How to get through airport security faster. 

Packing Tips for Airports

suitcase at airport

During the holidays, you might have some extra luggage because of gifts. If this is the case, you might just want to check your bag so you don’t have to worry about it. Especially if you have children, you won’t want to be worried about keeping them safe and keeping track of all your bags.

It is important to pack as light as possible, which is something we try to do no matter where you go. Having too many things to hold onto and travel with can get stressful super quick! Especially if you need to rush to your gate, you don’t want to be weighed down by all your bags. 

always bring this carry on bag because I can fit so much stuff in it without having a big bulky bag. That bag plus a small suitcase is enough for me, at least! But for those of us with families or if you are staying longer than a few days, get rid of that bag. Sure, it might cost more, but it will be worth not having to deal with the stress!

Additionally, make sure you take a look at the rules for what you can and cannot bring on the plane with you. I’m not talking things like knives and liquids over 3 oz because you already know that. I’m talking about food and gifts.

Funny story: I once was on my way home from college for Christmas (from Florida to NY), and I had a bag filled with tons of cookies, candies, cakes, etc. that I had gotten as gifts. 

When I was going through airport security, I got pulled to the side as they wanted to look through my bag. They pulled out the huge bag filled with snacks, which was what they were suspicious of. Little did I know, you were supposed to take out food that was larger than the 2 palms of your hands. 

After some laughs (and the TSA agents trying to get me to give them a cookie) everything was fine and I got to keep everything. 

Moral of the story- check the rules about food so you don’t get pulled to the side for extra searching!

Related: How to get through airport security faster!

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If you are looking for more Christmas at the airport tips or just airport tips in general, you may enjoy the posts below! 

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