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8 Tips to Make Flying Less Miserable

Mike Grindle is a digital nomad and culture writer sharing insights from his travels.

8-tips-to-make-flying-less-miserable

As much fun as traveling can be, the actual act of traveling itself can make the whole thing feel like it's not worth the hassle. First, there are the long lines, crowds of people, hours of waiting, and the inevitable delays you have to get through at their airports. Then comes the several hours spent cooped up in an aluminum can, breathing in the recycled air of people you've never met while squishing yourself into a 17-inch seat that barely reclines. Then there's always that one screaming kid or obnoxious passenger making everyone else's life miserable. Flying is, in short, an ordeal.

But traveling doesn't have to be an experience you utterly dread. Prepping, planning, and getting into the right mindset can help the whole thing fly by (excuse the pun) and get you enjoying your holiday faster. The tips and tricks listed here may not be able to make the experience joyful, but they might make it a lot less miserable.

8 Tips to Make Flying Less Miserable

1. Prep Your Gadgets and Entertainment

2. Bring Your Own Headphones

3. Take Some Time to Stretch Out

4. Freshen Up

5. Bring a Travel Pillow

6. Check In Ahead of Time

7. Get Into Holiday Mode Early

8. Watch What You Eat and Drink Ahead of Time

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1. Prep Your Gadgets and Entertainment

Browsing in-flight entertainment can be interesting, no doubt, but it can also be a bit of a gamble. There's no assurance that it will work or that there will be something on you fancy watching. So, you're much better off prepping your own entertainment in advance, whether that means downloading some binge-worthy shows or your favorite music or just investing in a decent book. Whatever you do, make sure all your electronics and gadgets are fully charged and ready to go beforehand. After all, you don't want to spend the flight tethered to an outlet. So, make a checklist of all the stuff you'll need to stay entertained on the plane and check it twice before you head off.

2. Bring Your Own Headphones

Speaking of gadgets, the headphones you can buy on a flight are notorious for their poor quality. They also don't do a whole lot to drown out the noise around you. So, bring a decent set of your own (preferably a pair with a noise-cancellation feature), and escape into your own little world.

8-tips-to-make-flying-less-miserable

3. Take Some Time to Stretch Out

Being comfortable on a plane has as much to do with what you do before you board as what you do when you're inside. You might feel a little self-conscious and silly doing so, but a quick stretching routine can ensure you are not left feeling cramped up and horrible later. Also, don't spend too much time sitting around waiting to be called while at the airport. Instead, walk about and look around, even if there isn't all that much to see. After all, you'll have plenty of time to sit down later.

4. Freshen Up

Being stuffed in a metal tube with a bunch of strangers is hardly the most hygienic experience. Furthermore, the dry atmosphere created by the air filtration system can leave your skin feeling irritated and dehydrated. Inevitably then, you'll soon start to feel like you desperately need a shower. But while you'll have to wait to really clean up, there's no reason you can't bring some items to freshen up when things start to get a bit much. Roll-on deodorants, facial wipes and mists, and even a toothbrush can help boost your comfort levels, cleanse your skin and ensure you feel a bit more human.

5. Bring a Travel Pillow

Don't let the airlines fool you; airplane seats are not designed with back support in mind. And it doesn't matter how young and healthy you are; you're going to start to feel pretty terrible after a few hours. A good travel pillow can provide lumbar support or work as a much-needed headrest that will make your flight a little less unbearable.

6. Check In Ahead of Time

Checking in ahead of time is a relatively straightforward thing to do, yet many people forget to do it. If nothing else, it's one less thing to worry about at the airport and can save you a surprising amount of time.

8-tips-to-make-flying-less-miserable

7. Get Into Holiday Mode Early

Airports aren't exactly the most fun places in the world. But it could be argued that we dislike them so much because we've essentially trained ourselves to think that way. But, on the other hand, if we can learn to embrace them as part of the whole holiday experience, they may not seem torturous.

Okay, so this takes a little self-trickery and even a bit of make-believe, but try not to treat the airport (and the flight) as an obstacle to your holidays but the beginning of them. Instead, grab a couple of drinks (without going overboard), do a little window shopping, and perhaps even splash out on a treat. After all, it's always going to be an inevitable part of traveling, so you might as well embrace it as best you can. Many airports even have rotating museum-like exhibits, art displays, or historical timelines of the cities they're located in. These can help you appreciate where you're flying from and you'll be able to reflect on your time spent there.

8. Watch What You Eat and Drink Ahead of Time

Again, the plane's air filtration means you will inevitably feel dehydrated on the flight, so it makes sense to stay hydrated at the airport and on the flight. If you have an alcoholic beverage at the airport, be sure to follow up with some water. It's a good idea to watch what you eat beforehand too. For instance, bananas are a tremendous pre-flight snack because the magnesium will help relax your muscles and nerves. Also, food high in vitamin B6 and omega-3, such as salmon, will help you if you are planning to nap.

Use these tips to make your time spent in the airport another exciting aspect of your trip. They have a lot to offer, even if you dread the time you have to set aside to spend there. Now, as the saying goes, book the flight!

© 2022 Mike Grindle

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