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Air travel can be stressful. Taking a vacation is exciting, but long security lines, longer flights, cramped aircraft and early takeoff and arrival times can (and do) take their toll. To help you get from point A to point B — without going crazy, we put together five simple but effective air travel tips.

ipodPack distractions

Whether you're waiting to board, dealing with a delay or in the air, there isn't usually a whole lot to do. Bust travel boredom by packing distractions. Pacing around the airport only takes up so much time, and there are only so many in-flight movies you can watch before feeling like your eyes are going fuzzy. Your iPod (fully charged and stocked with your favorite songs), books (or your e-reader of choice), magazines and a crossword puzzle book are all simple but essential for passing the time.

Practice patience

Everything takes time at the airport. You'll run into lines, snarly customs agents, people trying to check so many bags they might as well be moving to the Caribbean, not just heading there for weeklong all-inclusive vacation and people who take their sweet time getting their (too) large bags into the overhead compartment. Rather than seethe with anger or say something you might regret, prepare yourself for the inevitable frustrations, take a deep breath and just let it go. The calmer you stay, the better off your air travel experience will be.

Eat and drink. Regularly

Expensive (and not always reliable) airport food, the chaos of carting your family through security and plane food that leaves something to be desired can all mean you don't fuel yourself quite enough while in transit. Avoid a mood meltdown due to hunger and dehydration by snacking regularly. Pack healthy snacks (raw nuts, fresh fruit, granola bars) you can eat while you wait and stay hydrated. Drink water regularly at the airport and in flight.

Eye maskMake things more comfortable

Air travel is notoriously uncomfortable. Unless you're one of the few lucky people who can sleep anywhere, anytime, flying means cramped seats, no legroom and a cacophony of people talking, babies crying and meals being delivered. With that in mind, think about comfort when you pack your carry-on. Earplugs, an eye mask and a travel pillow will all make the trip easier and much less stressful.

Plan ahead

Will you need a kosher or vegan meal? Remember to order it in advance. Know your 5-year-old will need to use the restroom every hour (on the hour)? Book him an aisle seat. Know you get cold mid-flight? Make sure you pack a comfy sweater. The more you can do ahead of time to make your trip easier, the better off you and your family will be. Print out a checklist of things you need to buy, do and reserve before you leave and make sure it all gets done before your departure date.

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Comments on "5 Simple ways to reduce the stress of air travel"

GuestQuest Vacations July 25, 2012 | 5:03 AM

Great article! Traveling with an open mind and patience is a good idea. You can only control your actions and thoughts. Before getting upset about delays, take about 10 deep breaths and calm down. Also, drink plenty of water during your flight. You may be tempted to have an alcoholic beverage, but it will dehydrate you. When in doubt just close your eyes and drift off to sleep. Put your favorite music on your iPod or MP3 player and relax.

Tara June 05, 2012 | 11:51 AM

This is exactly what I do when planning to take a trip via airplane. Since I am out of state, in order to visit my family I fly home while avoiding the 14 hour route drive home. I usually am super stressed making sure I have everything packed, boarding pass printed and a ride to the airport. However, over the years, I have found ways to make sure I never miss a thing and am well prepared. I make lists!!! Maybe because I enjoy doing this, but it helps tremendously. Something else I would recommend for all you Iphone users, is by getting the Southwest app. If you fly another airline, I’m sure they have the same app, but it works wonders. Before I head to the airport, I check in to see if my flight has been delayed or if it’s right on time. They update you constantly and you can pretty much do anything with the app whether it has to do with hotel reservations, rental cars etc. I know this may be a pain, but I always like to arrive an hour early to the airport just to be safe. Especially during the holidays. Even though I’m usually sitting there at the gate, this allows me to readjust myself, my bag, grab food of my choice and use the restroom before boarding the plane. Nothing is worse than using the airplane restroom... By following all of these steps above, you are sure to have a smooth sailing ride to wherever your destination is!

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