Let’s be real, flying is flying. It’s literally some people’s worst nightmare and greatest fear (quite conveniently usually the person sitting next to me), and it’s some people’s biggest high. I happen to be the later. I am a freak of nature who loves flying and is always super prepared. I’m talking rose water misting on my face the moment my flight lands and my next layover tickets organized by city, kind of prepared. Need wet wipes? I have those too. So here are my best tips on how to get through the mildly dreaded (or sometimes very dreaded) airplane experience.
Bring a Buddy
If you have a serious fear of flying, then you need something to keep you distracted. Planning a trip with someone can be a lifesaver when it comes to flying. When I recently went to LA for work, I sat next to my coworker and from takeoff to landing we never stopped talking. The flight went by so fast!
Know Your Statistics
Okay, I am a total statistics nerd and can ramble them off all the time. Statistically, you are safest in the back of the plane, within five rows of an exit, and sitting in a middle seat. Also know that your plane is built to withstand A LOT. No amount of turbulence will take your plane down. And lightning? Well your plane is built to withstand that as well. Back up engines? Your plane has those too. See, so safe!
Keep Yourself Busy
Pack a book or update your music on your iPhone. Luckily for long international flights there are movie options. If none of these work to ease your mind, think about things you do at home that calm you. Does a morning cup of coffee and a good Sudoku put you at ease? Maybe reading the news does, or even opening an adult coloring book. Chances are, what eases you at home can easily be prepared in a way so you can rely on it when you fly. Ask for a cup of joe (or wine which I also recommend) and bust out that coloring book! I’ve seen people knitting a damn sweater on a plane. Seriously. Whatever works!
Story time: Last month before boarding my 16 hour flight to Poland, panic set in when I realized I forgot my camera on the kitchen table. My group was literally being called to board when I realized this. I mean, my freaking camera!!! The camera I asked for for Christmas to document my trip to Poland. The camera that I specifically got for its special selfie video mode. At that point I could have really panicked, but there was nothing I could do. I calmed myself and mentally prepared for the long flight ahead. Stuff happens, but remember to always remain calm. Also, do remember to make a checklist of important items you absolutely cannot forget, like your freaking camera. No, I’m not bitter at all still…
So you have your buddy and you’re getting comfy in your pre-chosen seats in the back of the plane. Always carry a jacket on the flight with you because planes tend to get very cold after you’ve reached cruising altitude. This tactic will also save you some room in your carry on! I also like to throw a scarf in my carry on so I can use it to drape over my legs if I get really cold.
Always have a snack or two handy. I even like to tuck a snack in the mesh compartment where the instructions and such are usually located. That way I don’t have to go in to my bag when I am hungry. Sometimes cart services can get held up, or maybe you won’t even like what they are serving. So always have a back up! Nothing is worse than being ‘hangry’ on a place. The one time I thought I wouldn’t need a snack, I ended up really needing one and it made for a slightly nauseating flight. If you’re prone to motion sickness you’ll definitely want a snack.
Portable Battery (Check!)
Bringing a portable battery or charger is a lifesaver. You can never find outlets at the airport when you need them, and good luck getting one of the newer planes with USB ports. You probably don’t want to rely on those things, especially if you have an international destination with multiple layovers. For travel I use the Anker Portable Charger. Charge it before you leave and then plug in your phone when necessary. This gives you one full charge to 100% from 0, and then a second charge of about 50%!
Story time: The last flight I was on hit so much turbulence that we were unable to have a cart service. I was so glad I packed a snack just in case even though the flight was decently short. You just never know. Then there was my latest flight back from London where I went on a snacking binge. I bought an entire pack of Sainsbury’s Custard Creams just before my flight and determined that because I was in another country the kcal’s must be like ten times lower and not accurate (literally I rationalized that thought). I ate the entire pack. The male flight attendant sitting across from me looked at me and said, “did you just finish a whole pack of custard creams on this flight?” My proudest moment yet.
Save Time Wherever You Can
In the year 2016 I am still surprised at those people who make travel ridiculously complicated for themselves. Utilize modern technology whenever possible. Things like signing up for TSA Pre-Check, checking in to your flight 24 hours before, and having your boarding pass sent to your phone will save you a world of inconveniences.
Organize & Prioritize
I like to keep organized with a passport wallet. I put my passport, my ID, my most used credit cards, and my boarding passes (if for whatever reason they didn’t send to my phone which sometimes happens) in to the wallet. Keep everything in a secure place that’s also easily accessible. I prefer traveling with a large leather tote that’s easy to throw things in to so I don’t have to worry about zippers. Instead, a magnet closes the tote. You’ll also want to prioritize your off flight plans of action. If running to the restroom to freshen up is high on the list before you catch your next flight, be sure to have those items ready! If grabbing a meal before you have to jet off again is a high priority, make sure you’ve looked up what gate you’re flying in to and have your money ready.
Never Check a Bag Again
Would you believe me if I told you I only took a carry on to Europe for two weeks? I have major anxiety about airlines losing my luggage. If you do too, taking a carry on may put you at ease for the long flight ahead. Wear all your heaviest items to the airport including heaviest shoes, denim jeans, and that jacket for the cold flight. Check out My Smart Guide to Packing For Big Cities for more tips! These tips should ensure your carry on meets weight requirements. Lastly, make sure you always check in to your flight online 24 hours in advance. This will get you the best boarding group possible so you have compartment space for your carry on and don’t end up having to check your bag.
I find that these tips really help to keep yourself sane while flying. From the time you board, to your next layover and your final destination, don’t panic, be prepared, and fly smart. These will ensure the best possible experience from the flight lover to the ‘I’d literally rather be doing anything else but’ flier. Hopefully my own stories put you a little more at ease too.
Where are you off to next, and what’s one thing you have to do before you fly? Leave a comment below! Also please leave me a comment if you could finish a whole pack of custard creams as well. I can’t be the only one!