Image: Jonathan Case

Between finding a pet-sitter and inching through slow security lines, the stress of airport travel can undermine whatever destressing the trip was supposed to accomplish. Reset the balance with a pre-flight vacation at PDX. Just get to the airport with lots of time to spare, and follow these steps.

Outside security, stop at Powell’s to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, maybe a fun Maria Semple paperback from the Pacific Northwest authors display. (There’s also a Powell’s kiosk and a magazine-packed Rich’s Cigar Store past security.) Stop in the Kiehl’s shop at the start of Concourse C for an overnight hydrating face mask to combat that dry, recycled air on your flight. Then take a seat in the Hollywood Theatre for a local documentary or an animated short until it’s time for the 90-minute full-body massage you scheduled in a private room just down the concourse at the Dragontree Spa, a sister location to the one in Northwest Portland (also a good pre-red-eye stop on Thursdays or Fridays, when it’s open until 10 p.m.). For walk-ins, there’s usually a therapist available for a shorter hand, scalp, or foot massage, or to pummel your back in one of the spa’s massage chairs; snag the one in the back for less noise and foot traffic.    

Learned folk might caution that alcohol is the last thing you want after a massage or before a long flight (sleep psychologists say booze can worsen jet lag), but those people haven’t sunk into the butter-smooth armchairs at Vino Volo and ordered a “mimosa medley” or a glass of Leah Jørgenson’s malbec from Southern Oregon. The wine bar is just one moving walkway length from the Dragontree. Now the real vacation starts.

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