By Joyce Livingston

Traveling these days can be a real pain, especially if you are flying. Crowded airports. Security checks. Wasted time. Late flights. Cancellations. Whatever happened to the joy we used to feel as we anticipated a wonderful, relaxing flight to our destination? And where are the snacks and soft drinks the airlines once lavished upon us? Face it, folks. Those days are gone forever.

Below are 7 ways to help keep your cool.

1. Plan to arrive at the airport early but make sure to take along something to read or maybe a small book of puzzles, to help pass the time as you wait in those long security check lanes.

2. Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on. It's no fun standing in a crowded line while trying to yank off tight-fitting boots or unknot tangled shoestrings.

3. Make sure your socks don't have holes in them. You wouldn't want to embarrass yourself.

4. They're going to ask you to remove your jacket so be sure you're wearing something presentable beneath. Many of us don't want our batwing arms exposed.

5. While it is tempting to board with a carryon that is larger than acceptable…DON'T! Overhead bins are usually bursting at the seams. They may make you check your bag and charge you extra for it.

6. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. While we can't see those hungry germs, we know they are there. A quick wipe of your hands after touching handrails and arm rests can prevent an illness that otherwise might not have happened.

7. If you take meds, carry an adequate supply in your carryon bag or purse in case you and your suitcase become separated, but make sure the size of those containers meet with security requirements.

YOU are the only person who can decide how you will react to a bad situation. Determine ahead of time that you absolutely refuse to let any silly inconveniences ruin your trip for you.

Once you are in your assigned seat and in the air, tilt that chair back and think happy thoughts. You've earned this trip,  enjoy it!

Joyce Livingston, Marketing Director, Arthritis Research Center Foundation. Email: joyce@IHateArthritis.com    www.IHateArthritis.com
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