Psychological Airport Struggles

Okay, so I am flying out to Colorado for Christmas in a little over 3 weeks, and this will be my first time navigating the airport and flying all by myself. I have flown when I was a baby, and when I was a teen, but I had a parent with me each time to guide me through the airports. Well, lets just say I am feeling a little freaked out about flying alone and navigating two airports. Well basically I am feeling a little bit terrified, yes I will be honest. So here I will outline my ever so long list of fears, as irrational as they may be…

1. My flight leaves at 7:35 a.m. from the Sioux Falls, SD airport. Sioux Falls is about an hour and a half from where I live. So to get to the airport on time that means I have to get my butt out of bed by 2 or 2:30 a.m. So that is my first fear, getting out of bed. I have the day before the flight off from work, and I plan on trying to go to bed at around 3, 4 or 5 p.m. that day. So I can at least get some shut eye in. The fact is I can hopefully channel my excitement into energy to get up. I am planning on some Starbucks double (or is it triple?) shot espresso drinks, or some other sort of energy product to get me going. I don’t want to drink a lot though because that means frequent restroom stops, that’s not an option.

2. Next I am worried about driving in the dark at 5 a.m. to get to the airport. I am not really the best nighttime driver, nor do I have the best sense of direction during the day, never mind in the dark. I get lost easy. I can get to Sioux Falls fine in the dark, but I have never gone as far down the freeway that you have to go to get to the airport exit. So basically I am afraid of missing the exit. I plan on leaving a little early just in case I get lost. If I don’t miss the exit, I hope there are prominent signs to guide me down the roads to the airport.

3. I plan on parking my car in long-term parking since I will only be gone a week, and I don’t want to have to dig up rides. I fear my car still being in one piece when I get back, still physically being there, not being covered in impenetrable ice and snow, or a flat tire etc.

4. Getting my ticket is a fear. I plan on printing off my confirmation 3 times; one for my purse, one for my carry on bag, and one to keep in my glove box just in case. A  little overkill yes, but it makes me feel better.

5. One word, security. I already have my outfit planned (partially for practicality, and partly for chicness.) I want to wear my BEARPAW boots, but they aren’t the easiest to take on and off, but I am still wearing them. I plan on keeping all my jewelry in my purse in a baggie, and I will put it on once I pass security. But will I be one of those random people that they check? Will I know what all to take out of my bags and put in the bins for them to inspect? Will the jeans that I plan to wear that have studded rhinestones on the pockets cause any problems because they are metal? My mom said to just follow whatever the person in front of me does, but what if there is no one??? Arghhh!!!

6. Finding my gate in Sioux Falls shouldn’t be a problem because it is such a small airport, but Denver International Airport (DIA) is a GIANT airport. They have trams that take you under the airport to the different concourses. Arriving at DIA is not too much of a worry (oh, but don’t forget, I hope to god they don’t lose my luggage.) I do hear flying in and out of DIA can be turbulent, a little scary since I don’t have much experience flying. I leave at 7:35 from SD but because of the time change, get into CO at 7:35 as well. I lose no time, ha ha!

But okay, flying out of DIA back to Iowa I find TERRIFYING! I am told that it is very well labeled airport and there are many signs telling you where to go (is this a lie? The skeptic in me,) I plan on getting there really early so I can get through security, find my gate, and then just stick close by until my flight. I guess I can always ask for help if I get lost, but if you knew me this sort of stuff sets off high levels of anxiety in me. I can still picture just the certain parts of the airport I have been in, but I am a little scared because I know there is WAY more  to it.

7. Lastly, I will be taking a shuttle to get to Fort Collins once I land in Denver, and from Fort Collins to Denver when I leave. So Again, I fear finding where the shuttles are, and making sure I get my baggage and everything on time to make the shuttle. But believe me on my way to Fort Collins this will be the huge relief part because my big travel time is almost over and I can just ride and enjoy, but once I get to DIA to depart to Iowa it will be an anxiety roller coaster. Once I make it through security and find my gate I will feel a little relieved. And once I land in SD, I will be happy all the airport drama is behind me, and feel good knowing I could do it all over again.

So call me irrational, paranoid, crazy, fearful, a basket case, terrified, or nuts but these are all TRULY fears and paranoia running through my head. I can’t wait to see my family, and be home, but I can’t help but feel like there is a huge mountain to climb to get there. I just keep reminding myself that I am a very capable person. I need to just let go, and trust that it will all work out great. So, if anyone has some travel advice to calm my fears it’s greatly appreciated. If you have horror stories, please for my sake keep them to yourself so I can keep my sanity!

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6 thoughts on “Psychological Airport Struggles

  1. 🙂 I’ve traveled a lot and caught planes at the most awful times,so let me tell you that you will be able to get up.If you are scared of not,spend the all night watching movies:I did last time, when I had to leave from home at 3am. Security..here’s a trick:pretend you are mute.Nod your head, don’t smile or cry: pretend you are mental ill!..that’s what I did when I moved in the US: watched what the other people were doing and following the gestures of the policewoman.You will be able to take off and land and to have a great holiday! 😉

    • Thanks so much! I thought of just pulling an all nighter, but I may try and see if I can sleep. I figured if I followed other people’s movements through security I would be fine. That’s what others have told me so that seems to be good advice. Thanks again! 🙂

  2. I think that you will be amazed at how well you will manage the complexities of air travel. I personally think that if we were meant to fly, we would have wings. But then our best adventures start in airports!!! Have fun…

  3. I’m so much like you, I have every detail worked out and it is one stressful event to the next for me, I’m not a good traveler. I worry and worry. Everything is always fine, so I end up wondering what I was worrying about. Plan a lot and you’ll be OK.

    • Oh my goodness you sound so like me! I worry, and worry too, but when all is said and done, and it turns out fine, I feel stupid that I had myself in such a tizzy. My mom is great and putting my worries in perspective and she is usually ALWAYS right. She told me everything will be fine, and not to worry, so that is what I will try and do!

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