Flying Tips for When You Hate to Fly

By Hannah Alvarado
Blog Content Contributor

Travel is one of my favorite things about adult life– getting to pack up and go away on an adventure, experience new things and places. One thing that I find absolutely horrible about it, though, is having to fly. Maybe it’s just me, but I absolutely detest flying. The creepy TA screenings with their weird rules, the cramped, claustrophobia-inducing plane, the social anxiety of being trapped in a literal tube filled with strangers– not to mention all the horror movies that flash through my mind each time we are about to take off, or have a small bit of turbulence. Like I said, I love to travel but hate to fly. Recently I was faced with the challenge of multiple flights and layovers, within a small given time span and found these tips quite helpful for anyone like me.

Mentally and Physically Prepare for Flight

Make a list of all items needed and be sure to pack early. Waiting until last minute to pack can cause unnecessary stress when you’re already anxious to fly. Just be sure to double check your bags the night before and make sure you remembered all your chargers and extra pieces. Make sure to do your best to get rest. Even if you can sleep on the plane, you may be too uncomfortable or freaked out to (like I was) to take advantage of sleeping in your familiar bedroom. Lastly, as a mental preparation, remind yourself people do this every day, and even if it may not seem like it you are safe.

Research

Make sure to also do your research ahead of time and see if you could electronically check in early. (Not all airlines offer this option but if available, I highly recommend to do so if possible). Also, figure out exactly how long the air time is as well as your scheduled departure/landing times. The reassurance may help ease your nerves (just take this with a grain of salt as you could be late or early a few minutes either way). Lastly, plan ahead for when you should arrive by having transportation for afterwards already settled or at least in mind. The last thing someone who hates to fly is going to want to do is sit around a terminal trying to get an Uber.

Wear Comfortable Clothes

Airline seats
Flying can be stressful, so take measures to make yourself as comfortable as you can in the ways you can. Photo by Hannah Alvarado.

I know this tip may be obvious, but you would be surprised at how some people forget to dress for comfort when flying. Keep in mind that you may be aware of the weather of wherever you are flying to, but the airplane temperature itself can fluctuate between cold or hot very quickly, so I’d suggest to dress in layered loose fitting clothes, and possibly a small blanket to keep you cozy. Also go ahead and ditch the makeup if you usually wear it. I know everyone wants to look their best, but not only is in-flight-air + makeup bad for skin but trying to keep your contour perfect while flying is really annoying if you do decide you’re comfortable enough to sleep.

Travel Buddies

Unless you have really unique taste where you love to travel, hate to fly, but really like traveling alone for some strange reason (not here to judge, everyone has their own taste) do your best to travel with someone you trust. Having a travel buddy along for the bag check, boarding and ride can really be reassuring. If your buddy happens to also be nervous, it could either make you feel less alone in your anxiety or even may make you focus on comforting them. If they are confident, they’re a shoulder to lean on.

Distract Yourself

Use music, in-flight movies (may have awful selection or not exist so don’t depend on it being there), small snacks offered or purchasable in terminal (I know it’s expensive but not every flight offers snacks), books, or sleep (if you’re calm enough). Whatever form it takes, distraction for us flight-haters is an absolute must! So don’t forget to give your brain the break it needs from all your anxiety ridden thoughts.

Life is short, and travel is an experience, so don’t let your hatred of flight keep you from flying. Take the advice of someone equally anxious in the sky, you can do this. Always remember, you can’t road trip everywhere!

Featured image by Hannah Alvarado.

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