6 Ways to Make Flying Less Hellish
Every year, flying becomes more and more nightmarish. Your personal space shrinks, your perfectly sized carry-on bag is taken as you board because the airline overbooked the flight, and basic things like choosing a seat are stripped for all but those who pay a hefty fee. It all makes for a rather unpleasant experience. But unless you can pay first or business class prices, it’s a necessarily evil if you want to travel.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to combat the abrasive nature of air travel at least a little bit. And most of them are fairly easy, too!
1. TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, or Clear
The stress of air travel doesn’t just start when you get on the plane. You also have to pack, get to the airport, get through security, and board. So it makes sense to simplify what’s arguably the most annoying step – security. TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry and Clear all make it fast and easy to do this. You’ll deal with shorter lines, and won’t have to remove your shoes/jacket or worry about things like pulling your laptop out of your bag.
And while these services are for sure a luxury, if you travel frequently, they may be worth it. TSA Pre-Check is $85 for 5 years, whereas Global Entry is $100 for the same amount of time. CLEAR is quite a bit more expensive, at $179 a year.
Alternately, you may be able to get one of these services for free through credit card benefits! Some of the more travel oriented credit cards (like American Express Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve) offer this as an incentive, so definitely check to see if this is an option for you.
2. Lose the Wheels
I hate having to gate check my bag. There’s a reason I bought an airline compliant carry-on, after all. But unfortunately, if you bought cheap seats odds are high that it’ll happen. One way to avoid this is to use a bag without wheels. I know that’s not always ideal. I mean, that shit gets heavy. But if you need to ensure that your bag doesn’t get lost (like if you’re going on safari or flying in for a special event), it’s a great way to avoid a forced checking situation.
3. Go to a Lounge
Sometimes you can pay to get into an airport lounge. Others, it’s based on membership of either specific airline programs or a service like Priority Pass. I’ve got a Priority Pass membership through one of my credit cards, and it’s dope. It gives me access to lounges all over the world, and when an airport doesn’t have a lounge, they’ll sometimes offer credit at restaurants. Of course, this information is all searchable through their app.
As for lounges themselves, each one is different. Usually, though, they’ll provide free wifi, comfortable seating, and food and drinks (some offer these for free, others don’t). Occasionally, they’ll even have showers or massage chairs! This can be a huge comfort when flying long distances or enduring lengthy layovers.
4. Stay Comfortable
Modern day air travel gets more and more demoralizing and uncomfortable by the second. There’s not much you can do about ever-shrinking seat space, but you can take other measures to stay comfortable.
Dressing appropriately is key. Though when I say appropriately, I don’t mean that you need to show up in your Sunday best. Instead, dress in layers. Cabin temperates are a total crapshoot, so you want to make sure that you have something to put on or take off if necessary.
A pillow can also be a godsend. I’m a big fan of Trtl Pillow, as it’s compact, machine washable, and keeps your neck in a somewhat normal position.
Think about your biggest pain points while flying, and then look up ways to address them. Trouble sleeping on planes? Get you some sleeping pills. Worried about blood clots? Compression socks! There are even portable foot rests you can buy, though I haven’t personally tried those.
5. In-Air Self Care
Self care is just as important while flying as it is at home. I’m a huge proponent for an in-flight sheet mask (…I’ve talked about this before). Staying hydrated is also important. It helps you bounce back from jet lag faster, and keeps your body and skin healthy. I like to bring a bottle of water onboard so that I don’t have to rely on flight attendants with tiny cups of water for hydration.
If you use Headspace or Spotify, you can also download meditation tracks to listen to while flying. I don’t personally suffer from travel anxiety, but I’d imagine this could be really helpful for those of you who do. I also love bringing a roll on essential oil blend on planes for some in-air aromatherapy.
6. Keep Yourself Entertained
This may seem like a no brainer, but bring lots of entertainment! A book or a movie can really help pass the time while flying. You can also download content off of Netflix and Amazon to watch in the air. I love binging TV shows while flying.
And that’s it! Obviously these tips aren’t going to keep the seat in front of you from digging into your knees, but hopefully they help make the experience of flying a little more tolerable. What’re your favorite tips for flying? Let me know on Instagram!
*Heads up! Any product links in this post are affiliate links. That simply means that if you click through and purchase any of those items, I’ll get a small percentage. Don’t worry, though – my opinions of them are all 100% honest!