Tips for Stress-Free Travel This Summer from Irish Airports

Tips for stress-free travel from someone who travels for a living.

Travelling this summer can be a wonderful experience if you take a few proactive steps to ensure a smooth journey. Whether you’re flying from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, or any other Irish airport, these detailed tips will help you travel stress-free.

1. Book with ATOL-Protected Travel Agents

Booking through ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) protected travel agents is essential for peace of mind. This protection ensures that if your travel company fails, you won’t lose money or be stranded abroad. Look for the ATOL logo when booking your holiday packages. Always confirm your booking is ATOL-protected by asking your travel agent or checking on the ATOL website.

2. Pre-Book Airport Parking

Avoid the last-minute scramble for parking by pre-booking your spot. Most Irish airports offer discounts for online bookings, and you can choose from various options like short-term, long-term, or valet parking. Pre-booking not only saves money but also ensures you have a guaranteed space, allowing you to arrive at the airport with one less thing to worry about.

3. Plan Your Route to the Airport

Whether you’re driving, taking public transport, or using a ride-share service, plan your route in advance. Check for any roadworks, public transport strikes, or events that might cause delays. Using apps like Google Maps or Waze can provide real-time traffic updates and alternative routes.

4. Tips For Stress-Free Travel: Arrive Early

Arriving at the airport early can significantly reduce travel stress. Aim to be at the airport at least two to three hours before your flight. This buffer time allows you to navigate through check-in, security, and any potential issues without the added pressure of a ticking clock.

5. Use Online Check-In

Most airlines offer online check-in, which can be done 24-48 hours before your flight. This service allows you to choose your seat, print your boarding pass, or download it to your smartphone. Online check-in saves time at the airport and can often help you secure a better seat.

6. Book Flights with the Same Airline for Layovers

If your journey involves layovers, try to book connecting flights with the same airline. This strategy reduces the risk of missed connections and ensures that the airline is responsible for re-booking you in case of delays. Additionally, your luggage is more likely to be transferred seamlessly between flights, reducing the risk of lost baggage.

7. Travel Light with Hand Luggage Only

If possible, travel with just hand luggage. This approach has several benefits:

  • Faster Check-In and Security: Skip the queues for baggage drop-off and head straight to security.
  • No Waiting at Baggage Claim: Avoid waiting for your luggage to arrive at your destination.
  • Reduced Risk of Lost Luggage: Keeping your belongings with you reduces the chances of losing them.

Make sure to check your airline’s hand luggage size and weight restrictions to avoid any issues at the gate.

8. Pack Smart

Ensure your hand luggage is well-organised. Keep travel essentials like passports, boarding passes, and any required visas or documents easily accessible. Pack liquids in a clear, resealable bag and ensure they adhere to the 100ml limit to breeze through security.

9. Keep Important Documents Handy

Store your passport, boarding pass, travel insurance documents, and any other essential paperwork in an easily accessible part of your bag. Consider using a travel wallet or organiser to keep everything in one place.

10. Prepare for Security Screening

Wear easily removable shoes and avoid wearing too much jewellery. Laptops and large electronics need to be placed in separate bins, so pack these items where they can be easily accessed. Familiarise yourself with prohibited items to ensure a smooth passage through security.

11. Stay Informed

Sign up for flight status alerts from your airline. These notifications can inform you of any delays, gate changes, or cancellations, allowing you to adjust your plans accordingly. Additionally, follow your airline and airport on social media for real-time updates.

12. Stay Hydrated and Bring Snacks

Air travel can be dehydrating, so bring an empty water bottle to fill once you pass security. Pack some healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, or granola bars to keep you energised during your journey.

13. Download Entertainment

Ensure your devices are loaded with entertainment options such as movies, books, podcasts, or music. This can help pass the time during your flight and layovers. Don’t forget to pack headphones and any necessary chargers.

14. Take Advantage of Airport Amenities

Irish airports offer a variety of amenities that can make your wait more comfortable:

  • Lounges: Many airports have lounges that provide a quiet space, free Wi-Fi, snacks, and drinks. Some lounges are accessible with a day pass, regardless of your ticket class.
  • Shopping and Dining: Explore the shops and restaurants in the terminal to pass the time. Dublin Airport has some of the best prices in its Duty Free shops than many other airports.
  • Platinum Services: Platinum Services at Dublin Airport offers a luxurious, seamless travel experience with features such as private check-in and fast-track security, private suites, gourmet catering, and dedicated concierge and chauffeur services. Travellers can enjoy the comfort of private lounges and meeting rooms, ensuring both relaxation and productivity. Ideal for business executives, VIPs, families, and special occasions, this service provides maximum privacy and convenience.

15. Dress Comfortably

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to move in. Consider dressing in layers to adjust to varying temperatures in the airport and on the plane.

16. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Travel can be stressful, so practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or listening to calming music. These can help reduce anxiety and make your journey more pleasant.

17. Consider Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential for covering unexpected events that could disrupt your travel plans. 

Consider policies that include:

  • Medical Emergencies: Coverage for medical costs incurred abroad.
  • Travel Disruption: Compensation for delays, cancellations, or missed connections.
  • Baggage: Coverage for lost, stolen, or delayed luggage.
  • Cruise Cover: If your trip includes a cruise, ensure your policy covers cruise-specific risks.

If you are worried about strike action affecting your travel arrangements, travel disruption cover can be added retrospectively to a policy. However, you cannot claim on an event that has already happened (or been forecast).

There can also be a moratorium on travel disruption from the time you take out the policy to the time you will be covered.

18. Check Your Travel Documents in Advance

Ensure all your travel documents, including your passport, visa, and any required health certifications, are up to date well before your departure date. Verify the expiration dates and any specific entry requirements for your destination country. This proactive step can prevent last-minute stress and potential travel disruptions.

Example: Imagine you arrive at the airport ready for your summer vacation, only to be denied boarding because your passport is set to expire within three months, and your destination country requires a longer validity period. By checking your documents well in advance, you can renew any that are close to expiring and avoid this stressful and potentially trip-ruining situation.

Countries Requiring Six Months Passport Validity

Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. This requirement helps ensure travellers have a sufficient margin in case of unforeseen delays. Here are some countries that typically enforce this six-month validity rule:

  1. China: Requires six months of passport validity from the date of entry.
  2. Thailand: Enforces a six-month validity period for passports from the date of entry.
  3. Indonesia: Requires passports to be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival.
  4. Vietnam: Enforces a six-month passport validity rule from the date of entry.
  5. Malaysia: Requires six months of passport validity beyond the date of entry.
  6. Singapore: Enforces a six-month validity period for passports from the date of entry.
  7. India: Typically requires six months of validity on passports from the date of visa application.
  8. Brazil: Requires passports to be valid for six months beyond the date of entry.
  9. Russia: Enforces a six-month passport validity rule from the date of visa issuance.
  10. United Arab Emirates (UAE): Requires six months of passport validity from the date of entry.
  11. Saudi Arabia: Requires six months of passport validity beyond the date of entry.
  12. Ecuador: Enforces a six-month passport validity rule from the date of entry.
  13. Israel: Requires six months of passport validity from the date of entry.

Always check the specific entry requirements for your destination country well in advance of your trip, as rules can change and may vary depending on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for. Checking these details early ensures that you have ample time to renew your passport if necessary and avoid any travel disruptions.

19. Use SeatGuru or Plane Layout Apps to Choose the Best Seat

Use websites like SeatGuru to select the best seats on your flight. These apps provide detailed aeroplane seat maps, along with reviews and advice on the best and worst seats based on factors such as legroom, proximity to restrooms, and window alignment. This helps ensure a more comfortable and pleasant flight experience, especially on long-haul trips.

Here are some websites and apps that help you choose the best seat on your flight:

  1. SeatGuru (
  2. SeatMaestro (
  3. ExpertFlyer (
  4. SeatLink (
  5. Routehappy (
  6. SeatPlans (

20. Pack a Portable Charger in Your Hand Luggage

One of my top tips for stress-free travel is to bring a portable charger and pack it in your hand luggage to ensure your devices stay powered throughout your journey. This is especially useful for long flights, layovers, or when outlets are hard to find. Keeping your phone, tablet, or e-reader charged ensures you stay connected and entertained and can access important travel information when needed.

21. Use an eSIM for Seamless Connectivity

Another one of my top tips for stress-free travel is to use an eSIM, like those offered by Airalo. eSims help you to stay connected without the hassle of swapping physical SIM cards. An eSIM allows you to download a local data plan directly to your phone, providing immediate internet access upon arrival. This can be especially beneficial for navigating new destinations, accessing maps, and staying in touch with family and friends without incurring hefty roaming charges.

Finally, if you are hungry for more blog posts about Ireland, here you go…

Firstly, read what to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

Then read my post answering do I need travel insurance?

In addition, here is my foolproof recipe for traditional Irish scones.

You might also like my list of the  7 restaurants worth the drive from Belfast.

Similarly, you might also like my blog post entitled Discover Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden.

If you are visiting Ireland, take a look at my many blog posts, for example things to do in Ireland.

In addition, here is my ultimate Cork City guide for culture, cuisine, and craic, for those planning to visit Rebel County.

Furthermore, if you are looking for a place to stay in Ireland, I highly recommend Glenlo Abbey and Longueville House.

Additionally, click here to learn about the traditional Irish foods we use to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Finally, click here to learn about Easter in Ireland: Traditions, food, and festivities.

Lastly, do you like this blog post on tips for stress-free travel? If so, please share it with others.

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