First was just waking up and getting going. I had asked my husband to set his alarm for 3:30 am, yes an ungodly hour at best, but it went off at 3:34 am and I immediately felt behind the ball. I struggled to get in the shower and blow out my hair while juggling a cup of coffee in my free hand. Getting to the airport should be an easy task, but that wasn’t meant to be. My husband offered to drive me and then go into work early and I’m so glad he did. Normally, the ride from my home to the airport is a quick 10-15 minutes at most. But on this morning a section of the Mass Turnpike was closed right before the tunnel to the airport. We followed the detour signs that took us around downtown Boston before we bailed and made our own way to the airport. With a six o’clock flight right around the corner, I was still in the car at 5:15 am and yes, by this point I was flipping out.
We arrived curbside at the USAirways doors and I practically ran inside. The employee who screens you before you go through TSA decided I had too many bags. I had my carry on suitcase, a shoulder bag with my cameras, my purse, and my computer sleeve that I had pulled out to make it easier to go through the screening process. In reality I had two bags (the suitcase and carry on bag), but wanting to cut the time down in line I thought I was being helpful. Instead, he insisted that I consolidate everything and in that moment I became the ugly, angry person in line that I usually make fun of for acting so irrationally. I needed four TSA bins to get through security before hustling through the line to get to my gate, which was already boarding when I arrived.
On my plane I was the window seat in my row and I learned something about early flights. They are usually chock full of business men who don’t like to talk, which is fine with me as I don’t either. They are, however, quite flatulent and unapologetic about it. I was dying on that plane and I couldn’t have landed quicker if I was flying the plane myself.
In Charlotte I needed to get from Gate B to Gate E and that required navigating the moving walkway and people who refuse to stand to the right when not walking. I stopped to get breakfast at Starbuck’s, but they choose for some reason not to add the water to the cup of oatmeal. So I was handed a bag with an empty cup for the oatmeal, an instant oatmeal pack and all the fixings, a plastic spoon, and a separate cup with hot water. The counter wasn’t big enough for more than two people to fix their coffees so I had to either wait or make room where the barista hands off the coffees. I chose the latter to the obvious dismay of other patrons. Why oh why couldn’t you just put the oatmeal in the cup and add the water?
My flight to Lynchburg had me walking onto the tarmac and checking my suitcase plane-side. The flight was less than full so I was able to sit in a row by myself. Now this flight wasn’t bad at all and I began to think my luck had changed. That is until I got up to get off the plane and the heel on one of my brand new shoes broke. Could it get any worse?
Instead of getting into a frame of mind of thinking that this always happens to me, this is so bad, could it get any worse, etc., I chose instead to force myself into some kind of positive thinking. Otherwise, I might end up feeling as life was happening to me and that I was an innocent victim in life’s senseless vendetta against me. Since I knew this was not the case, it meant pulling myself up by my bootstraps and well, just getting over it. When I got off the plane, I was greeted by Courtney from the Discover Lynchburg team and I could have been a grumpy, pitiful fool or my goofy, talkative self. I chose the latter and I think that was definitely the smartest decision I could have made.
How can you recover from a bad travel day?
- Try to relax, no matter where you are. Take a moment to breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. Getting yourself all worked up and stressed out isn’t good for you or those around you.
- At your final destination consider a spa treatment, be it a massage, facial, manicure, etc.
- Avoid the carbs and carb loading! In times of stress we tend to overeat and nothing can make you feel better in the moment than something really bad for you. Ponder your choices carefully and try to imagine what you will feel like after you eat that pizza, donut, chocolate, etc.
- Move, move, move! Sometimes walking around, going for a run, or exercise of any kind can instantly change your stress level. At the airport? Stroll around the terminal instead of staring at the gate agent. I promise you will feel better and less stressed!
- Be appreciative that you are, in fact, traveling. There are plenty of people who never get the chance to travel so a bad travel day is better than no travel day at all.
- Remember that somebody somewhere is having a worse day than you. After you remember that, smile to yourself and make an effort to change what’s left of the rest of your day.
- Make an effort to make someone else’s day better. If you’re at the airport, on a plane, at a hotel, or somewhere else far from home, try to connect with someone. Perhaps it’s that person behind the register ringing you up that no one else seems to notice. Make note of their name from their name tag and when they hand you your receipt and/or change, be sure to say, “Thank you Susie,” or whatever his or her name is and look at them directly in their face. Most people never notice or acknowledge service people at all. I’m sure you will definitely bring a smile to their face, which will make you smile as well.
- Everything is temporary. If you are in a bad mood, if you miss your flight, or if your travel plans simply go south, it will all be different soon enough. You are definitely not in a permanent state of misery so give it time and you will definitely feel differently about the situation.
What do you do to recover from a bad travel day?