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Flying can be a stressful experience for anyone, nervous flyer or not. If the thought of getting on an airplane and spending hours trapped inside a metal tube high up above the clouds makes you nervous, you’ll want to put some additional effort into planning your journey. How can you make your flight more comfortable, and how can you get rid of your anxiety?
Here are five things every nervous flyer should pack in their carry-on, no matter how short or long the flight:
1 Noise canceling headphones
One of the worst things that can happen to an already nervous flyer is being allocated a seat near a crying baby. Listening to a crying toddler doesn’t help making you feel less anxious, which is why having a pair of noise canceling headphones is absolutely crucial – especially for long flights. Being able to block out the noise around you will make it easier for you to get through the flight, and to focus on an interesting audio book or podcast to help distract you. I also recommend downloading a meditation app like Headspace or the Calm app, which also has stories to fall asleep to. Relax Melodies is another app that offers sleep sounds, and the White Noise app helps you doze off if you’re used to falling asleep to white noise. While these apps aren’t things nervous flyers can pack, they should be downloaded and set up before you board the plane.
Did you know…? There’s an app called SkyGuru which helps nervous flyers by explaining all the processes that happen during a flight, including unfamiliar sounds and the different stages of a flight. The app works in flight mode, and having someone walking you through all the details of your aircraft and the flight itself can be reassuring that nothing bad will happen, and that even if turbulence happens, the plane is not going to crash.
2 CBD Oil or Softgels
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years as a remedy to all sorts of different symptoms. One of the most popular usages is to treat anxiety, which is why CBD products are perfect for nervous flyers. CBP products – no matter if that’s oil, softgels or gummies – only contain diminutive amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, which is why they don’t make you feel high, but relieve your tension and anxiety. For flights, I recommend CBD softgels, since it is the most accurate way to maintain a consistent dose of CBD, and it is the safest way to transport CBD.
Did you know…? Nervous flyers often try to calm their nerves with alcohol, but alcohol as a stimulating beverage will only increase your anxiety. Consider CBD instead.
3 A tablet / laptop with your favorite shows
Have you ever found yourself on a 10-hour flight with a broken screen in front of you? This is unpleasant for everybody, no matter if you’re a nervous flyer or not. I learned the hard way that a long flight without being able to watch anything isn’t much fun, and ever since I spent hours staring at a dark screen I’ve been downloading some of my favorite TV shows to my laptop every time I get ready for a long flight. Netflix’s download feature is great for this, and I recommend downloading a few things that help you ease your anxiety about flying. This can be your favorite TV show, or a TV series you’ve been meaning to binge, or simply some stand-up comedy to make you laugh. And needless to say that double checking you’ve charged all your devices before your flight is key.
Did you know…? You can also download TV shows and movies on Hulu. Click the “Search” icon, and select “downloadable” from the browse menu to see all the shows that are available for download.
4 Your favorite snacks
Airplane have improved notably over the last decade or so, but it can still happen that you do not like anything that’s served on your flight, or that you are still hungry after a meal. Prepare by packing your favorite snacks, so that you won’t go hungry, and to ensure you have something to eat during your flight that you know you like. Packing snacks is also a good idea in case there are delays – nothing worse than being stuck at an airport with mediocre (or overpriced) food options for several hours. And since this flight is something that you’re dreading: treat yourself to something that you don’t allow yourself often – your favorite chocolate bar, pistachios, or any treat that you consider decadent.
Did you know..? You can create an epic cheese plate ordering from the in-flight menu on some airlines, like this woman did on her JetBlue flight. Your flight includes meals? Fear not: Pack some cheese cubes and brie, grapes, almonds, cashews, and dried fruits and you can create a delicious cheese board without much effort. I did it on my 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne!
5 Comfy clothes
Nothing worse than being uncomfortable on a long flight in jeans that are too tight or shoes that feel like they are suffocating your feet. Especially on longer flights you want to make sure to wear comfy clothes, but also pack an additional item that will help you feel more comfortable on the plane. Some people pack a cozy sweater, other travelers need a pair of warm fleece socks to be able to fall asleep. A sarong is always a good idea, since you can wrap yourself in it, use it as an oversized scarf, or fold it into a pillow to lean your head against. Comfy clothes are some the most important things nervous flyers need to pack to have an enjoyable flight experience.
Did you know…? A travel pillow is the best way to ensure you get some sleep on a long flight. They are inexpensive and small, but an investment that you won’t regret. Not sure which one to pick? Check out the NYT’s pick for the best travel pillow.
Having things with you that comfort you – especially on long-haul flights – (and if you need a massive pillow, don’t be afraid to pack it: this is about you having an enjoyable journey, so don’t worry about what other people might think) will make it easier for you to make it through that dreaded flight, but also consider other factors to make the flight as little stressful as possible: pay a little more to get the seat of your choice, inform the flight crew that you’re a nervous flyer so that they can give you some extra attention, and tell the passenger in the seat next to you that you are anxious and may grab their arm if you get scared.