Over 200 million more passengers are forecast to fly on U.S. airlines this summer, a 1.5% boost over last summer according to the Air Transport Association of America. With an anticipated 34,000 more air travelers per day than in 2010, there’ll be longer lines at security, at the boarding gate and at your favorite latte place.

Crowding can lead to frayed nerves, longer lines and unexpected delays. Once you know what to expect it’s always easier to avoid travel stress.

Tips to help when you fly the crowded skies:

1. Don’t leave things to the last minute. Give yourself extra time to find parking, get through security and to your gate.

2. When traveling with your family through the airports this summer, pack their carry-on with whatever is lightweight and will hold their attention.

3. Make sure that basic needs are taken care of when you have the opportunity – don’t pass up a bathroom, my elderly mother would remind me!

4. Carry snacks: protein and not sugar packed goodies. Nuts and dried fruit are good travelers. A few cut carrots or celery makes satisfying healthy snacks that travel well. While you can’t bring water through the security gate, be sure to invest in a large bottle once inside. A large bottle can be used to refill sippy-cups and smaller water bottles at the greatest value.

5. With baggage fees skyrocketing, be sure to pack well and smartly – choosing easy to wash and lightweight materials. Don’t over-pack your carry on and risk straining your shoulder or hands. Avoidable injuries can impact the rest of your vacation. Rolling bags are terrific and when stacked well, will free your hands and shoulders. When your carry on is reasonably light it will also be easier to get into the overhead bins or slip in and out from under your seat.

6. Stretch whenever you get the chance! When standing in lines work your shoulders. Spiral your fingers out and rotate your wrists. Press the ball of your foot into the floor and rotate your ankles. These are small stretches that release tension and are nearly invisible. When you have back pain from sitting or standing – find a wall to lean against and roll down vertebrae by vertebrae till your hands are near your toes. This simple inversion helps to bathe your brain with oxygen which will boost your energy. The back bend will help your spine expand and relax. There are lots of simple stretches and other techniques in the Flytime Yoga tips booklet.

7. Breathe deeply whenever you think of it. On the airplane you can avoid flight fatigue by deeply inhaling often. In commercial cabins  the oxygen mix is thinner than on the ground. Deep, conscious breathing also lowers blood pressure, increases your metabolism, reduces airplane anxiety and when repeated slowly for several minutes can trigger your body’s natural relaxation response.

Enjoy your summer travel more than ever by taking care of yourself when you fly the crowded skies and arrive relaxed, rested and ready to play.

Copyright 2011, Elaine J. Masters,  award-winning author of Drivetime and Flytime Yoga: www.Drivetimeyoga.com. All rights reserved.