For travelers with a fear of flying, getting to a destination can be the most nerve-wracking part of any trip, so I’ve come up with a list of my favorite products to combat flight anxiety. While none of these items can beat flight phobia or fear of a plane crash altogether, they can certainly help with any flying phobia a person may have. Deep breathing can only take you so far unless you want to avoid flying at all costs.
Rather than fight or flight, I’m here to talk about fighting flight anxiety by bringing some of these things along to make the journey more comfortable. If your flying anxiety is particularly bothersome to you, find support by letting the flight attendants know while boarding and they will do their best to help relieve your anxieties. By planning ahead, you can be ready to keep control of your phobia before the fear sets in. Nervous fliers, read on, for some of our favorite anxiety-fighting products to beat flight anxiety and panic attacks in the air.
Editor’s Tip: As an anxious flyer myself, I’ve often found that If I ask to pre-board most gate agents will accommodate. Getting settled into my seat before the jet bridge and aisles get crowded has been really helpful in keeping my anxiety to a minimum.
Essential Products to Beat Flight Anxiety
1. Stress Relief Gummies
One of the best ways to remain calm ahead of flying or any time you anticipate anxiety, stress relief gummies can make a world of difference for your fear of flying and your mental health. That’s especially true during turbulence when you may experience panic.
Unlike an anti-anxiety medication, these gummies can help you relax without relying on medication or prescriptions from a doctor. They are also travel-friendly since they don’t contain any controlled substances.
OLLY makes some very popular stress relief products as well as other gummies that can help you sleep while flying. Their Goodbye Stress gummies contain L-Theanine and Lemon Balm which can help relieve anxiety and reduce panic attack feelings whereas other calming gummies include Ashwagandha which also reduces feelings of anxiety.
A few years ago, I was rushing to BWI for a 4 a.m. flight when I realized that I forgot my prescription anti-anxiety medication. I had never flown without it, but I was two hours from home and I wouldn’t be able to turn around. The panic was setting in, but when I got the airport I picked up a small travel pack of these OLLY gummies from the newspaper stand, and I was able to make it through a short flight to Atlanta without completely losing my cool.Kim Magaraci, ViaTravelers Editor
- Helps over extended periods of time
- Can elevate your mood and reduce any anxiety/fear
- Typically easy to find in airport snack stands
- May interact with other drugs you may be taking
- Can make you drowsy
See Related: Best Tips for Flying with Vitamins
2. Vici Wellness Nervous Wreck Patches
An alternative to taking a stress-reducing gummy for a fear of flying is using a dermal patch like Vici Wellness. I swear by these.
These patches help deliver similar ingredients to your nervous system that combat anxiety via a patch on your skin. The company also sells other kinds of dermal patches as well like those for headaches, sleep, and nutrition when drinking alcohol (these are GREAT to stave off hangovers).
Vici patches are helpful because they can be placed and forgotten about. You also don’t have to worry about disliking the taste or encountering the kinds of side effects a gummy or oral anxiety supplement can include.
- Takes up less packing space
- Lasts longer than oral supplements
- Can possibly interact with any medication you’re taking
- Can potentially irritate the skin
3. Lavender Essential Oils
A tried and true way to combat a fear of flying or any worry is to rely on trusty lavender oil. Roll-on oils provide a great travel-sized option to keep in your carry on to help you relax on the go — especially during turbulence! You can also make your own roll-on oil with a generic roller and your favorite oil. Essential oils work well for exercises with deep breaths and positive affirmations too.
True Lavender from Guru Nanda is the best-smelling lavender essential oil I’ve found that’s anxiety-reducing and it’s less pungent than other oils on the market. With Guru Nanda at hand, you won’t have to worry that the scent will bother your fellow passengers.
- A non-medication or supplement method of reducing anxiety/fear
- Can be used anywhere anxiety is an issue
- Super travel-friendly in small quantities
- The scent might be bothersome if you’re particularly sensitive
See Related: How Much Liquid Can You Carry On An Airplane?
4. Travel-Friendly Fidget
Folks with anxiety disorders and attention disorders know how important fidgets are in managing their mental health and that applies to a fear of flying, too. If you aren’t familiar with fidgets, they’re handy little ways to keep your hands busy and decompress.
Utilizing a fidget can be an excellent way to manage flying anxiety by keeping your mind and hands too busy to worry in flight. They help keep negative thoughts at bay which can be a common cause of fear.
Fidgets like the PILPOC Fidget Cube are great tools to have, and their small size makes them travel friendly. Not only are they compact but they also come with a travel case to keep your fidget in top condition. The reason fidget cubes are so popular is that each side offers a different kind of support system whether it’s pressing buttons, moving a joystick, or flipping a switch.
- Non-medication anxiety reducer
- Easy to travel with
- Can improve dexterity
- Many fidgets are easily breakable, check out product reviews before you buy
See Related: Best Travel Board Games: Travel-Sized Options
5. Noise-Canceling Headphones
One way to ignore the all-too-familiar sense of feeling trapped in the enclosed space in an airplane cabin is to turn on noise-canceling headphones and zone out. Especially for long-haul flights, these headphones are an excellent way to combat a fear of flying.
The whirring of the plane, general noise around the cabin — and the realization that you’re flying thousands of feet in the air, at speeds in the hundreds of miles per hour, in a thin metal tube, can be hard to ignore when you’re anxious.
Higher-cost noise-canceling headphones like those made by Beats will last longer and provide more canceling capabilities than their less expensive counterparts, but don’t let budget stop you from trying out headphones, and get the cheaper ones if that’s best for you. Focusing on a favorite film, soundtrack, podcast, or playlist will certainly help your brain ignore the worst-case scenarios that would rather be playing in your head.
- Can help you sleep better on the plane
- Wireless options make it easy to get comfortable
- Easily portable in a carrying case or around your neck
- Makes it more difficult to communicate with family members or staff
- Good ones cost more
See Related: Essential Solo Travel Luggage & Accessories
6. Travel-Friendly Weighted Blanket
If your dog has a Thundershirt, why shouldn’t you? Weighted blankets might be considered a trendy lifestyle piece of the last few years, but anxious people swear by them to be a way to overcome triggers and settle discomfort. These blankets help calm the body and mind of those with a fear of flying by providing comforting pressure that can simulate the hug of a loved one – truly, your nervous system has a hard time telling the difference in moments of stress!
Obviously large traditional weighted blankets can weigh tens of pounds and are not travel friendly. Luckily Nodpod and Kivik both introduced travel-friendly sized weighted blankets to give comfort even on the go. These circular weighted blankets aren’t going to cover your entire body, but they provide that same comforting feeling.
- Helps with sleeping on and off a plane
- Adds what feels like several pounds to the weight of your luggage
See Related: Best Beach Blankets | Sand-Free Portable Options
7. A Good Travel Pillow
While I don’t have particularly bad flying anxiety, I do often struggle with anticipatory anxiety around traveling — especially when it comes to sleeping on the go, and I can personally attest that it’s good to know your anxiety triggers. One of the best ways to fight a fear of flying is to invest in a good travel pillow and not rely on the cheap ones you can buy at the airport.
Trtl Pillows are a great choice for folks who sleep sitting up, whereas moldable pillows are great for leaning sleepers and the somewhat silly inflatable body pillows are great for forward sleepers. There really is a pillow for every kind of airplane sleeper. So shop around!
- Helps you sleep better on the go
- Provides more comfort for your airplane chair/window/bulkhead/seat-neighbor
- Also great for backpacking and camping
- One of the most easily lost items
- Can be hard to clean
See Related: Best Carry-On Essentials for Travel
Anxious fliers frequently struggle to sleep while on an airplane due to fear. One of the best ways to overcome that is to take some melatonin.
Taking melatonin during take-off can help you snooze for hours, particularly for late flights. It’s hard to be afraid of turbulence if you’re sleeping through it!
Natrol Melatonin is a tried and true supplement to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Be sure to try it before you fly to see the right dose for you. Too much can leave you groggy the next day or lead you to have bizarre dreams. It also can have an energizing effect on some people, so test it before you rely on it.
- Helps travelers sleep through the flight
- Can help folks wake up more rested
- Natrol’s supplement contains no medication
- Can cause grogginess and bizarre dreams
- May interact with medications
See Related: Airplane Jokes for Travelers
Like a pair of noise-canceling headphones, earplugs are another way for travelers to block out the sound in confined spaces. This can be huge for those with a fear of flying.
Products like EarPlanes provide that noise-canceling while also alleviating ear discomfort from changes in cabin pressure. You can check out our Earplanes review for more information on them: TL;DR they’ve been around a while and they really do what they say they will on the pack.
Loop Quiet Ear Plugs are also highly recommended for reducing bothersome noises around the cabin during the flight.
Aside from blocking noise, different aspects of packing earplugs include helping make the whole experience more comfortable. Particularly if you have to sleep or try to get work done, earplugs can be the best way to do both without having to lug expensive headphones around. They’re helpful for noise cancelling without the risk of overstimulation from headphones, too.
- Cheaper than headphones
- Good ones can help with pressure discomfort
- Gives you a quiet space for in-flight sleep
- Can be difficult to keep in the ear
- ALL earplugs can fall out
- Makes it more difficult to communicate with fellow travelers or staff
10. Acupressure Clip
One way to naturally overcome a fear of flying is with the help of acupressure. While you could memorize the pressure points on your hand to help alleviate that anxiety, acupressure clips are also a good way to keep fears at bay. These clips provide consistent pressure on a pressure point to relieve not just anxiety but headaches too.
Utilizing these clips along with breathing exercises is one of the best ways to combat a fear of flying. A meditation app on your phone or even on the plane’s entertainment system used in conjunction with the clips is also a great way to improve its functionality.
One of the main reasons I love these clips is that they can also relieve headaches and even migraines. Any time my head is throbbing, these are now my go-to before the Tylenol.
- Non-medication anxiety/fear relief
- Easy to pack
- Can be used on either hand or both at the same time — if you have 2 clips, obviously
- Easily lost
- Won’t work for everyone — but when they work they WORK
It can be hard to take a deep breath on a plane when you’re worried about the air around you. Anytime you fly you’re essentially traveling in a tube full of germy air which gives a lot of travelers anxiety, especially those with a fear of flying.
Luckily PlaneAire has a line of products to help alleviate those air concerns with their sanitizing mists. Their mists can be used to clean the air around you, your hands, surfaces, or anything else you come in contact with when you fly.
PlaneAire is always in my bag when I fly because germs on planes are one of my biggest travel anxieties. There’s truly little worse than being miserably sick on vacation.
- Can keep you sanitized on the go
- Easy to pack and discreet
- Has a mild scent
- Uses aloe, which is great for the skin
- Not all travelers are comfortable with mists in their vicinity, so check with your seatmate!
See Related: How to Pack Formula for Air Travel
12. A Comfy Sleep Mask
Unless you’re flying in lie-flat seats, getting decent sleep while flying is difficult. One way to make it easier to sleep is by using a comfortable eye mask. Silk masks are excellent for in-flight sleeping because they keep your face cool and don’t put too much pressure on your eye area.
Some travelers prefer contoured eye masks over flat ones, but both will keep the light out on even the brightest of planes. It’s perfectly normal for long-haul flights to include amenity kits that come with eye masks, though bringing one of your own will ensure it’s the right amount of support you need to sleep.
- Better sleep in-flight
- Potentially better sleep when on the ground
- Come in a variety of shapes, sizes, weights, and materials
- Easy to lose
- Difficult to clean
13. A Mindfulness Journal
Some folks, whether at home or abroad, find mindfulness journals to be helpful resources for controlling anxiety and promoting positive thought. Whether using a guided journal with provided exercises or not, journaling can keep your mind busy when you’re feeling anxious.
Rather than rely on the guidance of a structured journal, you may prefer to use a blank one. Just jotting down how you’re feeling or what you’re looking forward to during your trip can help keep you busy. Spilling your heart out on the page combined with practicing deep breathing exercises may help control your flight anxiety.
- A natural way to control anxiety
- May inspire creativity
- Easy to lose — and potentially full of your deepest, darkest secrets…
- Requires remembering or attaching a writing utensil
- Requires commitment
See Related: Best Travel Quotes for Inspiring Your Next Trip
14. Wearable Cooling Device
Because of security rules for carry-on items, in order to carry a freezable product through security it has to be completely frozen. That said, something like an ice therapy neck wrap can help redirect anxious thoughts on the go – just as long as it goes through TSA as solid as a rock.
Supposedly stemming from an ancient form of physical therapy, these simple wraps can also be beneficial for headaches or neckaches as well. Similarly, ice caps can work wonders for reducing anxiety.
They can kick headaches or reduce migraines if that is an issue for you as well. If for whatever reason you decide not to carry these items onto the plane with you, they do not need to be frozen to go in your checked baggage.
- Easy to clean
- Can be hard to freeze on the go
- May be difficult to take through airport security if they’re not completely frozen
- The “cap” is more of a mask
See Related: Best TSA-Approved Locks for Travel
15. CalmiGo Breathing Device
A more expensive anxiety-reducing option, a CalmiGo breathing device can help regulate your breathing to calm you down. This non-medicated option promotes steady breathing while using calming scents to decrease the user’s anxiety, and potentially stop a panic attack in its tracks.
It only takes three minutes to work through the breathing exercises with CalmiGo. The device is like an inhaler and helps to control your exhalations. Using it on a regular basis can help keep a user calm on or off the plane.
- Non-medication anxiety aid
- Usable by people of all ages
- Needs to be charged
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