How to Survive Airports as a Sensitive Traveler
Does flying leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed? The crowds, noise, cramped spaces and pressured timelines can make it feel like too much to handle. Airports are very overstimulating and chaotic in general, but even more difficult for the Highly Sensitive or Introverted traveler who is hyper-aware to their surroundings and more attuned to sensory input. The quick, frenetic pace is also difficult for those of us who need time to acclimate to our surroundings to feel at ease. Instead of just dealing with the overwhelm or avoiding air travel altogether, try a few adjustments to help you navigate your next airport adventure.
Add a Buffer Day
Take a day off (or at least a half day) before your trip so that you have time to pack and can feel rested for your day of travel. This may require taking a shorter trip or taking an extra day off work, but will allow you to feel rested and prepared to deal with the stimulation of the airport.
Plan Ahead to Reduce Travel Overwhelm
There are many details to worry about when traveling, but you can reduce any feelings of overwhelm by planning ahead. Simplify the tasks you need to worry about at the airport by checking into flights online and printing boarding passes at home, for instance.
Reduce Luggage Anxiety
Managing your belongings through the airport and fighting for space in overhead bins is stressful! Reduce anxiety by checking your luggage and minimizing your carry-on items down to one bag.
Arrive Early and Enjoy Some Extra Downtime
There are lots of opportunities for snags on the way to or at the airport - traffic, long security lines or flight changes to name a few. Get to the airport early to give yourself plenty of buffer time in case of the unexpected. As a bonus, you’ll have extra time to enjoy a hot meal or immerse yourself in a book.
Find Quiet Refuge
If you do have extra time before your flight boards, find a nearby quiet terminal or nook instead of waiting for long periods of time in a crowded and noisy environment.
Many HSPs are quick to get irritable when hungry or have various food restrictions. Be sure to bring snacks to keep you nourished and content on your flight.
Choose Your Outfit Thoughtfully
Choosing a comfortable outfit is very important on travel day. HSPs can be sensitive to fabric textures and temperature fluctuations, so it is important to wear soft layers. Also, wear slip-on shoes to easily get through the security line. The rush of the security line is overwhelming enough without having to fuss with difficult shoes or unnecessary belts.
Airports are typically very overstimulating for the Highly Sensitive Person, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on traveling by plane. By planning ahead, starting your trip well rested and simplifying your overall travel routine, you can make flying more enjoyable and less overwhelming.
Want more tips on traveling as a Highly Sensitive Person? Head over to my other post, Out of Hibernation: How to Enjoy a Quiet Summer.