I have this problem with anxiety. It makes me overthink and do certain things I wouldn’t normally do, just to calm my brain. One of the main problems I have when traveling is the anxiety that comes with trying to make a plane, train or other mode of transportation on time. This issue wreaks havoc on my brain in the weeks before I travel. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve woken up in a panic from a bad travel dream. Past nightmares have included: Getting to the airport too late and missing my flight or getting to the airport on time but forgetting something critical (like my passport), etc.
The result is usually me arriving at the airport or station obscenely early. This is not a horrible problem to have (especially because in the best-case scenario) as you usually have time for a meal and to read a book, and if the airport is crowded (in the worst-case scenario), you have extra time to get through long lines at security.
Early airport arrival has been my consistent practice ever since I started traveling on my own. I’ve made a habit of wandering around the airport, getting a coffee or a mimosa (depending on my mood) and finding a good place to read.
Recently, I was at O’Hare (ridiculously early as per usual) and visited the National Emerald Club Lounge. This lovely oasis in the sea of suitcase-wielding travelers is equipped with TVs, lounge chairs, free Wi-Fi and tablets to check your flight status. It’s a great place to recharge, both literally and figuratively, since the lounge has charging stations, too. For this particular visit to O’Hare, it was the perfect place to drink my coffee (there’s a Starbucks right next door) and wait for Mike to get to the airport to pick me up.
For someone who is through security two hours before boarding time, it’s a luxury to have these amenities readily available. The comfy lounge chairs are a great place to relax and read or check the news if you didn’t bring a book. And, if you’re not already a member, you can enroll in the Emerald Club loyalty program directly from the tablets. There’s a National staff member around on weekdays to help you if you have questions.
If O’Hare isn’t your home airport, you’re still in luck. National Emerald Club Lounges are located in each of the main airports with the highest volume of business travelers: Denver, St. Louis, Dallas/Fort Worth and Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.
So, if you’re an anxious traveler (like me) and you happen to be in one of these airports insanely early for your flight, check out the National Emerald Club Lounge for a comfy resting spot to relax before you board.
How do you fight pre-flight anxiety? What’s your go-to spot in the airport to relax before a flight?
Full Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with National Car Rental. All opinions are, of course, my own.