How to reduce stress when travelling? It’s an important question. Travel should be fun, inspiring, exciting and, to some degree, relaxing.
But for many people, including Linda, the airport is an incredibly stressful place.
So it was quite interesting to see Condé Nast Traveller publish a top 10 list of ‘Least Stressful Airports in Europe’. More interesting still is what their choices tell us about choosing less stressful destinations. Here are three factors which could help to reduce airport stress and anxiety:
1. How to reduce stress – Choose your destination
The first observation is choice of destination. Eight out of ten airports listed could be considered ‘regional’; they do not serve a capital city. So if you want a less stressful airport experience, don’t visit a capital.
2. Reducing travel stress – Choose a “small” country
The two capital cities which do make the ‘least stressful’ list are both situated in relatively small countries – Luxembourg and Lithuania. They boast small populations and geographical footprints – so think small for your next stress-free trip.
3. Stress-free airports – Choose unpopular
None of the ten airports listed serves more than 4.4 million passengers each year. Compare this to Luton Airport, London’s third, which had 13.3 million in 2022…
It seems that those airports which don’t have to handle tens of thousands of passengers every day tend to be more relaxed. Who would have thought it?
Are these three tips guaranteed to help reduce stress? Sadly not. We have visited plenty of smaller, unpopular, regional airports over the years with mixed results. Gdansk and Wrocław (Poland) and Karlsruhe-Baden (Germany) have all been excellent. Tuzla (Bosnia) was chaotic and quaint, queuing out onto the tarmac to go through immigration. Munich (Germany) is a total disaster and should be avoided by even the most laid back travellers.
And if you’re interested, the Top 10 Least Stressful Airports in Europe as identified by StressFreeCarRental.com and Condé Nast Traveller are:
- Billund Airport, Denmark
- Luxembourg Airport, Luxembourg
- Vilnius International Airport, Lithuania
- Menorca Airport, Spain
- Hannover Airport, Germany
- Newcastle Airport, UK
- Corfu International Airport, Greece
- Trondheim Airport, Norway
- Turin Airport, Italy
- Cagliari Elmas Airport, Italy
I should point out that we have visited none of these airports, so cannot personally verify whether they really are stress-free or not. It’s perhaps also worth noting that Ryanair fly to eight of the ten listed, so airline choice may have less to do with airport stress than people think.