I grew up thinking that vacations started at dawn – whether you wanted it that way or not. On the mornings of our family road trip, the alarm clocks sounded before the sun rose, and we’d wake bleary eyed to the smell of brewing coffee, the sound of my dad loading the car and sight of my exhausted mother (who usually stayed up all night packing).
Old habits die hard and now I usually book the first flight out of town for North American trips. There’s a method to my madness: the planes for 6 a.m. flights are already at the airport, which means less chance of delays. You get to your destination early, allowing more time to sightsee or relax. There’s also a better chance you can score an extra row seat, increasing the likelihood of an in-flight nap.
Not to mention there’s something cool about an airport in the early hours. TSA workers seem more mellow, gate attendants more chipper as the first wave of caffeine flows through their veins. Fellow passengers tend to be sleepy, not angry. The anticipatory hum of traveling hasn’t been eradicated yet by the hassles of the day – and to me, that’s worth the 4:30 a.m. wakeup call.