Emirates flight attendant standing outside of an airplane at the airport
Credit: Getty Images

The holiday travel season is here. Though it will undoubtedly bring you plenty of joy, it could come with just a dash of stress too. After all, millions of people are about to hit the friendly skies, making airports around the world a pretty crowded place to be. But, fear not, as Santa’s helpers are here to ensure you have a smooth holiday ride. And those helpers include people like Emirates Cabin Crew member Lauren Guilfoyle, who gave us a few tips and tricks to ensure you have a smooth holiday ride.

1. Download entertainment ahead of time

Heading into the travel scenario that is the holiday season can be tough. So it’s key to be prepared.

“Before heading to the airport, I like to download a few hours of shows, movies, and podcasts to take my mind off the airport chaos,” Guilfoyle said. “Emirates actually allows passengers to create their in-flight playlist before heading onboard. All they have to do is log in to The Emirates App and create a playlist from Emirates’ 4,500 channels of movies, shows, podcasts, and music. Once onboard, simply sync the playlist to the seatback TV and enjoy hours of non-stop entertainment.”

Make sure to check your airline’s website before heading to the airport to see what entertainment options are available to you.

2. Pack an Extra Charger

This may be the most important travel tip of all: Always be charging.

“What’s worse than losing luggage? A dead phone. I recommend packing a portable charger to avoid drained batteries or wandering through the airport searching for an outlet,” Guilfoyle said.

3. Try to exercise or at least stretch before departure

“Long haul flights can mean fatigue, grogginess, and poor blood circulation,” she said. “If possible, try to exercise before a flight.” If you don’t have time you could always try doing a few pushups in the air too.

4. Leave earlier than you think you need to

We get it, sitting at the airport isn’t super fun. However, the holidays mean more travelers, which means it’s crucial to get to the airport early for once.

“Time is a major stress factor for travelers. Do what you can to get ahead — whether it’s packing the day before, leaving your office early, or getting a head start on traffic,” Guilfoyle explained. “If you’re traveling with other people, don’t be afraid to tell them to show up earlier than you plan on leaving to give yourselves a cushion.”

5. Make some time for yourself

The holidays may be all about spending time with your friends and family, however, a major key to keeping your stress levels down is to find a little alone time.

“In between the chaos of a crowded airport during the holidays, be sure to take some time for yourself,” Guilfoyle astutely noted. “Whether its meditation, putting on a facemask or treating yourself to a nice dinner, give yourself time to take a breath and recalibrate your emotions.”

6. Dress for Comfort

It’s okay to be comfortable while traveling. In fact, Guilfoyle, who flies thousands of miles a year, highly recommends it.

“Over the years, I’ve come to realize how important it is to dress for comfort when traveling. I recommend wearing comfortable shoes for rushing through the airport or walking to and from your car, wear layers to prepare for any temperature, and making sure your outfit is one you can relax in for a 16-plus hour flight,” she said. “When you’re rushing to catch a flight, the last thing you want to worry about is a broken heel or itchy top.”

7. Catch up on sleep

There’s no better time to catch up on your rest than up in the air. Because really, what else do you need to be doing? As Guilfoyle explained, “My top recommendation? Snag noise-cancelling headphones and flip up your ‘do not disturb’ sign to make sure your zzz’s are uninterrupted.”