Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Sat April 11 2015

Hints for How to Have a Happier Flight

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | April 11, 2015

Hints for How to Have a Happier Flight

One of the most often asked questions of me as a travel writer is, “I hate flying. How do you tolerate it?” The simple answer is I try to set myself up for success as much as possible. Here is how you can set yourself up for success on your next flight.

Pre-Planning: Know Your Limitations

There is only so much of anything that you can take before you have a meltdown, even if you do have the patience of a monk. If you don’t like to fly, choose the shortest flight time. If you get cramped in those airplane seats, plan a trip with multiple legs so that you get a chance to get out and walk around a little bit. If you are always worried about being late, plan a flight super early or super late when there is less traffic on the way to the airport. Once you figure out what it is that makes you say that you hate flying, plan to put all the things in place to minimize those traumas.

Planning: Set For Success, Prepare For Problems

Ok, so you have booked a flight that minimizes the stress. How well do you know your departure airport? Obviously, you need to know your layover and destination airports, but it also helps to know your home base. If you should be grounded for a couple of hours, do you know where you can get yourself a beer or grab a bite to eat? Remember, this is the beginning of your vacation. You want it to start off right. 

Figure out a backup plan so if you are delayed at your departure point, you can know exactly what you are doing. Same thing goes for your layover stops. You should take a look ahead of time and know roughly where you would eat/drink/recharge your phone when you get off the plane. Make sure you pack all of your contact numbers for the airline and have them accessible. While everyone is struggling to find out who they are supposed to call or what line they are supposed to stand in, you are going to be 10 minutes ahead of them. 

That extra time is the difference between getting the last seat on the next flight and staying over in a hotel. Speaking of which, make sure you know where the closest and easiest hotels to travel to are and have their numbers in your phone. Pick hotels with free shuttles so that is one less expense you will have to incur. Plan as if your luggage is going to get lost and you have to survive without it. What would you pack in your carryon? Where would you go once you get to your destination to replace what you had or at least until it finally does arrive?

Investments Worth Their Weight in Gold

Does plane noise or screaming children drive you up a wall and prevent you from having a great flight? Well invest in a great pair of noise canceling headphones. They aren’t half as expensive as you would think.

If you are worried about being super bored because the flight is long, make sure you load up with videos or audio books. Pay for the Wi-Fi ahead of time to save money and to make sure that you can Facebook/chat/email the whole time you are up in the air. 

If all else fails and you just need to sleep through it, talk to your doctor about a prescription anti-anxiety pill or take a sleeping pill before you board. If you typically feel dried out after a flight, make sure you bring some sort of rehydration therapy with you (I recommend Drip Drop).

Well, we can’t take away all of the anxieties, fears, problems, and complaints about flying, but hopefully the tips above have helped. What do you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.


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