Flight Attendants Reveal the Secret to a Stress-Free Flight

Are you preparing for a long trip that requires air travel? Getting from home to your final destination can seem like a difficult and stressful process — but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips from flight attendants to have a more relaxing flight and stay happy as you travel.

Before you fly

Book a direct flight, if possible

Airplane wing in sky & clouds

Avoid the stress of a connecting flight if possible. | WeatherlyHammond/iStocik/Getty Images

Booking a direct flight from destination to destination will cost you more money upfront. However, connecting flights with layovers could lead to unwanted stress if you miss your connecting flight due to delays or cancellations. Avoid that possibility, even if it costs a little bit more.

Next: These are the best days to travel if airports stress you out.

Try not to fly over a weekend

Businessman receiving airplane boarding pass

Go for a mid-week flight to avoid crowded airports. | iStock.com

Book a flight in the middle of the week if you can — either on Tuesday or Wednesday. Saturdays tend to be cheaper, but if an extremely busy airport stresses you out, midweek flights are your best option. Fewer people come back from trips on these days, leaving more room for you to take your time and avoid unbearably long security lines.

Next: Here’s how you should dress to avoid unwanted stress while traveling.

Dress comfortably

Couple asleep on a plane

Make sure you dress appropriately so you can stay comfortable the entire flight. | iStock.com

A long day at the airport and crammed inside a plane isn’t the time to dress up or “look your best.” Everything from standing in line to getting through security to getting comfortable in your seat becomes far less stressful when you’re wearing comfortable clothes.

Next: This is why packing light may be in your best interest.

Limit yourself to only one suitcase

Woman at airport watching planes land and take off

Always pack light when possible. | iStock.com

The more luggage you have to check when you arrive at the airport, the longer it’s going to take to get to your gate. More than one suitcase also increases the chance that your bags will get lost or left behind. Pack as light as possible, or avoid checking any luggage at all if possible to save time and money.

Next: Don’t leave for the airport without doing this first.

Charge your electronics

Airplane passenger using smart phone

The last thing you want is for your phone to die. | michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you’re using an app to track your flight status or you need to keep yourself occupied throughout your day, don’t leave for your flight without fully charging your electronics first. You don’t want to lose access to any information you might need on your phone just because you forgot to charge it before you left the house.

Next: This is what you should eat before you head to the airport.

 Eat a decent meal

Miami International Airport

Have a bite to eat before you take off. | typhoonski/iStock/Getty Images

Even if you can find healthy options at the airport, it’s almost always overpriced and never as satisfying as you hope for. Whether it’s the night before or the morning of, eat a balanced meal that will give you the energy you need to get through a stressful day. Never travel on an empty stomach!

Next: Don’t leave this stressful task until the last minute.

 Check in online

Young female traveler in international airport

It’s a lot easier to check in online. | encrier/iStock/Getty Images

Waiting until you get to the airport to check in takes time — and it can be stressful. The more time you can save before you head to the airport, the better. Your airline should allow you to check in and access your boarding pass so you’re all ready to go as soon as you get to the airport.

Next: Once you’re at the airport, your time is critical. Here’s how to survive.

At the airport

Arrive with time to spare

father and daughter at airport

Being able to take your time getting to your gate will make your trip a lot less stressful. | iStock.com/michaeljung

Getting there early makes your travel day longer, but there’s nothing more stressful than running through an airport to get to your gate on time. Give yourself plenty of time to check your luggage (if you have any), get through security, locate your gate — and relax. This is just one of many things you can do to make the most of your time at the airport.

Next: This may be the most time-consuming part of your experience — here’s how to make it go smoothly.

Follow all security protocols

Woman going past TSA

You don’t want to get on their bad side. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Getting through airport security is probably the most time-consuming part of the air travel process. The more prepared you are before you get in line, the better. Have your identification ready. Pack only the minimum allowed volume of liquids in clear plastic bags. Know the hacks that will get you through faster.

Is this part of your travel day the most stressful for you? You might be able to skip it.

Next: Keep this near you at all times to avoid unwanted stressors at the airport.

Keep your carry-on bags with you at all times

Young female passenger at the airport

Make sure your bags are with you at all times. | ViktorCap/iStock/Getty Images

You never know what might become of unattended luggage, even if you’re not carrying too many valuables in your bag. Also, if you’re keeping your boarding pass or other identifications in your carry-on, you don’t want to lose access to the only materials that can successfully get you on the plane at this point.

Next: This might be your last chance to de-stress before you get on a plane.

Use the lounge

Man working on a tablet

Hangout in the lounge if you can. | iStock.com

If you can score access to an airport lounge, you have one more opportunity to relax before you board your flight and head toward your destination. Lounges offer you a more comfortable and accommodating place to mentally prepare for the next stage of your journey.

Next: It’s time to board your flight — here’s how to make this part of your trip stress-free.

On your flight

Read, watch a movie, or play a game

Casually dressed middle aged man working on laptop in aircraft cabin

Bring something to keep you busy. | Kasto80/iStock/Getty Images

Does sitting on a plane bore you? Does boredom stress you out? Decide on an activity that normally relaxes you, especially if you’re naturally a nervous flyer. Some of these travel items can help improve your experience whether you’re looking to relax and enjoy the ride or slumber through the trip.

Next: Getting plenty of rest on a plane isn’t easy, but it will help you de-stress.

Get some sleep

Toddler boy sleeping on father's laps while traveling in airplane

There’s nothing wrong with being like this guy during your flight. | Yaoinlove/iStock/Getty Images

Sleep is an excellent stress reliever, helping your body wind down and recharge before the next portion of your journey. If you usually have trouble sleeping on planes, flight attendants recommend dressing comfortably, choosing the right seat, and utilizing headphones to drown out distracting noise. Avoid caffeine before you fly to ensure you can get some quality rest.

Next: A little bit of this can improve your mood and decrease stress almost instantly.

Listen to calming music

Man looking at airplane window

Your favorite song will keep your mind at ease. | LiudmylaSupynska/iSock/Getty Images

Need a private way to calm down while crammed between two strangers? A little soothing music can calm feelings of stress and significantly improve your flight. You can even listen to music you like to decrease your heart rate and increase feelings of relaxation before, during, and even after takeoff.

Next: This simple action can improve the in-flight experience for you and everyone around you.

Be polite

Women sitting on an airplane

Keep your language PG. | iStock/Getty Images

You’re much more likely to have a stress-free flight experience if you’re polite — not just to your fellow passengers, but to your flight attendants as well. Believe it or not, they’re there to make your experience as bearable as possible. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.

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