We’ve all been there—phone half-dead, terminal overcrowded, delays blaring on the PA, and a long flight ahead. Have it happen on the back end of a trip, and your post-vacation, stress-zapped state manages to evaporate into thin air in the blink of an eye. But there is a better way. Here’s how to reverse the pain of the typical airport experience, and—dare we say it—even make air travel something to enjoy.
Buy access to the lounge
You don’t need to book a premium ticket to get the perks of a quiet space, free food, or even spa and shower facilities. The app LoungeBuddy helps point you towards the nearest airport lounges, sorting the options by price, amenities, food, and more. In most cases, you can get in the door for a mere $50—well worth the cost of your sanity.
Pack the right snacks
There’s nothing worse than being subject to the limited options of an airport food court (though we’ll admit the options are greatly improving). Plus, controlling your snacks can help you fight jet lag, boost your immune system before getting on a germy plane, and keep you properly hydrated. Pack options that are low in sodium but high in lean protein, like lightly seasoned nuts or a small container of hummus with carrots. (Citrus fruits are also great for a boost of Vitamin C.)
Think about power accessories
Re-chargeable battery packs, like the Mophie Powerstation Plus, can get you extra juice when your phone’s on the outs. If you prefer a case that you don’t have to plug in separately, the Jackery Leaf is just as powerful. A lesser known option: stash the Outlets to Go Power Strip to make sure that you have a place to plug in—even when all the outlets seem to be taken up—when all else fails.
Download your entertainment in advance
This is an area where you simply need to plan ahead—unreliable Wi-Fi connections, slow download speeds, and services like iTunes that don’t offer international streaming are otherwise guaranteed to thwart your best efforts. The only free service that does let you stream on the fly, no matter where you are? Google Play. (Members of Dish Network and Slingbox owners can also stream internationally contingent on a decent connection.)
Buy access to Wi-Fi (or know how to score it for free)
You still can’t rely on free Wi-Fi in airports, but subscriptions to Boingo are affordable—as little as $5 a month—and will have you covered almost anywhere you’re traveling. Plus, a partnership between American Express and the Wi-Fi provider provide free access to more than a million hotspots for anyone with a Platinum, Centurion, or Corporate Gold card.