Flying Tips for Non Flyers

Visiting unbelievably beautiful places is a privilege that’s often hard to trade or resist; but to some of us, the ‘getting there’ part isn’t quite as enjoyable. If you’re a non-flyer like me—and by that I mean someone who isn’t comfortable with the act in general—flying to your vacation destination may just be the most irksome part of your holiday.

Flying is, however, an eventuality you can’t avoid if you want to see the world. There are, however, a few things you can do to make the experience as pleasant for you as possible.


Choose a Seat You’re Most Comfortable With

The window seat isn’t necessarily the best seat on an airplane. I find that while I do enjoy sitting next to the window for the view, the makeshift headrest and the control of the window shade, there are days when I prefer sitting in an aisle seat for several reasons including having access to the aisle if I need to stretch my legs or use the toilet and being able to easily get to my carry-on in the overhead bin. Decide whether it’s the aisle, middle or window seat that would fit your needs the most and reserve that seat, as sitting in one you’re most comfortable with will make that flight a lot less painful.

Wear Comfortable Clothes

Sure, it’s a good idea to dress up and look good for a flight, but in the end all that matters is your comfort. As long as you don’t look like you just crawled out of bed or haven’t showered in days, nobody will care how fashionable your in-flight outfit is. Besides, you can look good while still being comfortable. Loose-fitting pants, a pair of shoes that’s easy to slip off and on, and even underwear that won’t ride up are the way to go when you’re stuck in a tight space for a couple of hours or more. Plus, they’re good for your circulation.

Use an Eye Mask

One of several ways you can endure a flight is to actually sleep through it. But it’s not exactly easy, not when there’s always light coming from different sources—whether it’s your seatmate choosing to turn his reading light on when practically the whole cabin is dark or it’s that unshaded window across the aisle from you—keeping you awake. Try an eye mask instead. It doesn’t have to be Breakfast at Tiffany’s fancy, it just has to be effective. You can even purchase one at one of the stores at the airport.

Bring a Security Blanket or Pillow

To some of us, sleeping on a plane—unless of course you’re sitting in first class—can be challenging and frustrating. You can only put your seat back so far and the headrest isn’t exactly nice and fluffy. Some flights do offer complimentary blankets and pillows, but they’re not always available so bring your own just in case. Don’t lug a massive pillow or blanket around, however. A travel pillow or a small blanket will do, something good enough to help you sleep.

Flying over California (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Skip the Nonstop Flights

A two-hour flight isn’t so bad. But if you can’t stand being on a plane for hours at a time, a six-hour flight might be too long for you. I know it is for me, as I start to get antsy after four hours. Opt for a connecting flight instead, if you don’t mind extending your total travel time for a few more hours. Not only are they generally cheaper, they’ll also give you a chance to breathe, stretch your legs and maybe even grab a proper lunch at the airport.

Revel in Your Travel Quirk

We all have our little quirks that we cling on to like a security blanket. If you have a travel quirk—whether it’s tapping the side of the plane three times with your right hand before you board or falling asleep during turbulence because it rocks you to sleep (like me)—don’t hesitate to do it if it helps you feel at ease. Just make sure it doesn’t bother the other passengers.

Download Your Favorite Movies

Watch the free movie or movies the airline offers on your flight. Or if you have extra cash to spend, by all means purchase that in-flight movie you’ve been meaning to watch. Watching a movie is one of the best ways to distract yourself from the tediousness of a flight. Do remember though that some flights, especially the budget ones, do not offer in-flight entertainment so make sure you have your favorite flicks handy on your computer or mobile device. And bring a book or two with you to read as well.

Travel Light

I find that traveling light takes the pressure off a little. Not having bulky and heavy luggage to carry around with you allows you to relax a little and focus on yourself a little more. Plus you won’t have to worry about overhead bin space or having to wait forever for your checked in luggage at the airport.

Drink Plenty of Water

The super low humidity in an airplane cabin can be very dehydrating, and the longer your flight is, the more chance you have of getting dehydrated. If you’re already feeling uncomfortable or apprehensive about flying, being dehydrated can make you feel even worse. Make sure to drink plenty of water and leave the alcohol for when you’re back on land.

Chat with Your Seatmate

It may seem like an awkward situation at first being stuck in the same row as two or three other strangers for a few hours, but you’d be surprised how many people are more than happy to chat with their seatmates. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you. You’ll know immediately if they’re interested or not. If they aren’t, then you can go back to reading your book or watching a movie. If they are, then you’ll have another way of distracting yourself and you’ve also made a connection with someone.


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