Flying to a new destination. Photo by Cunaplus_M.Faba, iStock

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The airport buzzed with the familiar chaos of travelers rushing, announcements blaring, and the constant hum of luggage wheels on tile floors. As I stood in the middle of it all, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of excitement and dread. Flying had always been a necessary evil for me—something to endure rather than enjoy.

They say traveling is about the journey, not the destination. The person who said that was not insatiably hungry and stuck in a noisy airport.

Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip

I’d been planning this trip to Hawaii with my family for months. It was supposed to be a break from my hectic work life, a chance to relax and recharge. Yet, as I packed my suitcase, I couldn’t shake the feeling of impending stress that flying always brought.

As I zipped up my suitcase, my phone buzzed with a notification. It was a reminder from my travel app: “Time to Get to the Airport”

After getting to the airport and standing in the airport security line, I felt the familiar anxiety creeping in. What if I was just doomed to hate flying forever?

Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones

An airport traveler in Paris.
An airport traveler in Paris. Photo by Unsplash+

After security, I pulled out my noise-canceling headphones from my backpack. I was recently turned on to embracing noise-canceling technology to drown out the chaos around me. I slipped them on and was immediately cocooned in a bubble of peace. The chatter of the crowd faded.

Utilize Packing Cubes

On the plane, I met a fellow traveler named Jacob. As I settled into my seat, he noticed the packing cubes I had recently purchased and struck up a conversation. We talked about our travels, and he shared some of his stories. It was nice to connect with someone who understood the struggle of flying.

Read More: How to Pack Light for Any Length Trip Abroad

Text Your Flight Number to Yourself

I had texted my flight number to myself, so checking the flight status was effortless. I felt more organized and less stressed. I even downloaded the TripIt app, which kept all my travel information in one place. It was surprisingly satisfying to see everything laid out so neatly.

Your Airline’s App

Halfway through the flight, I pulled out my phone and opened my airline’s app. There was an update: We would arrive behind schedule. Normally, this news would have sent me into a spiral of panic, but I felt prepared with all my tools. I quickly rechecked my plans on TripIt and saw that I still had enough time to make my connection.

As we began our descent, the turbulence hit. The plane shook, and the passengers around me grew tense. My anxiety spiked, but I remembered my noise-canceling headphones. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and focused on the music. It wasn’t perfect, but it was manageable.

Travel with Snacks

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo by Angela Bailey, Unsplash
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo by Angela Bailey, Unsplash

I made my next flight and arrived in Hawaii, but the turbulence had taken its toll. I felt exhausted and a bit queasy. As I shuffled off the plane, I realized I had forgotten to eat the packed snacks. The long wait at baggage claim felt like a cruel joke. I was so close to my destination, yet still so far.

I munched on a granola bar from my bag, trying to find solace in the small victory of having something to eat.

While waiting at the baggage claim, another traveler sat beside me and offered encouraging words. “Getting here is always a challenge,” he said, “but it looks like you handled it well.” His words resonated with me. Maybe I was too hard on myself.

I finally collected my luggage and made my way to the exit. As I stepped outside into the warm Hawaiian breeze, I felt the satisfaction of completing a long journey.

The journey had its bumps but was far more manageable than I thought.

I looked out at the beautiful Hawaiian landscape, the stress of the flight melting away. Words echoed in my mind: “Traveling is about the journey.” This time, I had embraced the journey. Flying would never be perfect, but it could be easier, and that made all the difference.

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Author Bio: Sandy Page is a lifelong adventurer. In her free time, she reads and consumes copious amounts of hot beverages.

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