Air travel can be stressful. Jammed airports, crowded security lines, overbooked flights, misplaced luggage, no legroom on planes — the list of complications that travelers face can be never-ending. “It’s important to work through your travel anxiety in positive ways,” says Ingrid Nilsen, an experienced air traveler. She offers some helpful, practical advice in her video on “Working Through Travel Anxiety.”
We know that flying can be stressful. How do we prepare for that ahead of time? The internet is chock-full of travel “hacks” that promise to make your traveling easier and more stress-free. But do any of them actually work? And do people actually use them? Here are our favorites that we actually use ourselves:
1. Get a chiropractic adjustment before and after you fly
Traveling in cramped airplanes can cause serious irritation to your head, neck and spine. Dr. Brian Clark, a chiropractor at Discover Chiropractic in Austin, TX says, “I recommend an adjustment before and after flying to keep your spine properly aligned.” Doing this, he says, will save you from unnecessary headaches, a stiff neck, and back pain.
2. Strike up a conversation with a stranger
Your first reaction to reading this is probably, “what?!? No way!” But we live in an age dominated by screens and headphones where people don’t interact with each other face-to-face. We forget that there are interesting people all around us. Some won’t engage, but if you’re polite and inquisitive, you may be surprised at who you meet when you’re traveling.
3. A pouch for plugs and cables is a necessity
One downside of modern technology: a wealth of devices. If you’ve ever invested 20 minutes digging through your carry-on for a cell phone charger, earbuds, or USB cord, you know exactly how irritating (as well as elusive) these products can be. A handy pouch dedicated to these cables will save you serious frustrations and make operating your electronics much easier and stress-free.
Note: Some airlines hand out pouches with earplugs, an eye mask, and also socks to every guest. These baggies make excellent travel tech-cessory pouches. (I personally use the one I got from Qatar Airways.)
4. Curb your alcohol intake before and during flights
Downing four glasses of red wine to unwind may seem like a great idea during a long layover or before a red-eye flight. But it’s important to remember that being on an airplane triggers dehydration in your body. In addition, traveling across time zones will impact your body clock and your circadian rhythms. Consuming alcohol exacerbates both dehydration and your sleep cycle.
Our recommendation: if you consume alcohol, keep it to one beer or wine. After that, you should drink water for the rest of your flight to stay hydrated.
4. Bring a pen
Smartphones have replaced pen and paper in many aspects of our daily life, but there are still instances when we travel that a pen is needed. Customs forms need to be filled out prior to deboarding when traveling internationally. And you can’t finish that tantalizing crossword puzzle in the airline magazine with a smartphone. So before you leave the house, toss a pen in your carry-on. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Bring a keychain
Whether you’re staying in a hotel, bed-and-breakfast or an Airbnb rental, you’ll have keys to your residence to keep track of. Bringing along a keychain can help you stay organized and never misplace the key to your vacation rental again. Our favorite is a carabiner that you can clip several keys together (rental car key, vacation home key, etc.)
Remember these tips the next time you fly and watch your stress level disappear.