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Now that you have purchased your airline ticket, you need to begin considering what to pack and take with you. Similar to a pilot planning his or her flight, you must also prepare and plan for yours. This will help to ensure your success in any situation and will help you to feel in control during the flight planning process. So to help, we have created a top 10 list of carry-on essentials for nervous flyers.
#1: Important Travel Documents
Before you head to the airport, ensure that all of your required travel documents are organized. Make sure your passport is up-to-date, and if you are staying at a hotel at the arriving destination, be sure to print off hotel confirmations, phone numbers and organize airport shuttles in advance. Be sure to print off your boarding pass 24 hours before your flight or upload it onto your smart phone device. If it helps, buy a small travel folder to help keep your important documents organized and with you at all times.
Depending on the length of your flight, most flights don’t always offer meals as part of their service. In some instances, you may be able to purchase a snack box or you may get a complimentary cookie or pretzel snack, but don’t assume this is always the case. Instead, pack some snacks in your carry-on bag so that you are prepared, or pick up something to eat in the airport terminal before boarding. Grabbing a bottle of water before you board the plane is a great idea so that you don’t have to wait for the in-flight service to get a drink. Remember to make this purchase inside the terminal, after you have already cleared security. Staying hydrated is key when flying, so be sure to drink lots of water and avoid alcohol or coffee if possible.
Be sure to pack any medicines that you may need in your carry-on. This ensures that you always have them with you should your checked bag get lost or delayed. Also consider packing some travel size decongestant nasal spray should you feel like you are getting congested. It is recommended that you avoid sinus pills with pseudoephedrine in it, as it may increase your heart rate and nervousness during flight.
Nowadays, not all airplanes have in-flight entertainment so be prepared for that. A lot of airlines have made a shift from the traditional TV screens in the back of a seat headrest, to in-flight entertainment being provided via the Wi-Fi. This means that you will need your own small tablet device, such as an iPhone or iPad to watch a show. In these instances, be sure to download the airlines app prior to departure so that you can access the in-flight entertainment once airborne. You may also want to pack other forms of entertainment, such as books, magazines, crossword puzzles, deck of cards, and so on. Anything that helps to make your flight more enjoyable and helps to pass the time is a great planning strategy.
If you are like most passengers, you will probably enjoy listening to music during flight, especially during moments of turbulence. Music is a great way to help you relax and zone out, therefore be sure to plan ahead by downloading a music list in advance on your smart phone device. Don’t forget to also pack your headphones, and if you can afford it, purchasing a pair of noise canceling headsets like Bose, is a great way to tune out the noise around you and better unwind.
#6: Extra Clothing
Even though it may be extremely hot outside, don’t assume this will be the case on your flight. Always layer your clothes and pack a warm sweater, light scarf or jacket to put on during flight. Try to avoid wearing shorts or a short skirt when flying, as the plane tends to be much cooler then outside. If the Captain does decide to turn on the air conditioning, you will be prepared and comfortable in any situation.
#7: Chewing gum
Throwing a pack of chewing gum into your carry-on is highly recommended, as it can help to alleviate the tension in your ears during takeoff and landing. Chewing gum can help you to swallow more, which in turn helps to equalize the internal and external pressure that passengers can experience in a pressurized cabin.
#8: Contact Solution
If you wear contacts, be sure to pack some travel size solution incase your eyes begin to feel dry during flight. You may even want to pack a pair of reading glasses if your traveling overnight and want to take your contacts out at any point.
#9: Baby Wipes, Tissues or Hand Sanitizer
If you prefer to remain in your seat during flight, be sure to pack some extra tissues or travel size sanitizer in your bag. This way you won’t have to get up during flight to blow your nose or wash your hands, and you can simply remain relaxed in your seat.
#10: Extras (For 6+ hour Flights)
On any long haul flight, you are likely going to want to get some rest. Even though many nervous flyers struggle to sleep while in the air, packing some comfort essentials may help you to relax better. We suggest packing a sleep mask, neck pillow, ear plugs, and a small blanket or scarf. All of these items can help you to zone out from your surroundings and will hopefully help provide you with some well needed zzz’s during flight.
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