How to Travel with a Partner Who Doesn’t Like to Fly

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Illustration of woman dragging man through airport because the man is afraid of flying

Some people are torn between loving to travel and loving their partner who can’t stand getting on an airplane. Whatever their reasons for disliking it, you try and try to encourage them that the juice is worth the squeeze, that getting on a plane is worth seeing somewhere new.

While you may not get them to love flying, there are some practical steps you can take toward helping them have a more positive attitude about altitude. With your help, your partner can stop dreading travel, and maybe even start enjoying it.

Use the following five tips to help them get excited with you about your upcoming trip.

Help Them Prepare

Flying will be much easier on your partner if they arrive at the airport prepared. One reason many people dislike flying so much is because it’s such a hassle going through airport security.

If you help your loved one make sure they have all their liquids bagged up, their ID and boarding passes ready, and their favorite sweater within easy reach, going through the airport will be much smoother and less stressful.

If they like lists, try writing out a list for them to help them stay organized as they pack. If they can complete everything on the list, it can also give them a sense of being in control, which can help them feel less anxious.

Remind Them of the Facts

Many times our fears are caused by irrational beliefs. Sometimes something as simple as reminding your partner that turbulence is just changes in airflow, or car accidents are much more common than plane crashes can help them calm down.

Even some well-traveled people hate flying, but reminding yourself about the truth and science behind airplanes can help you relax enough to enjoy the flight much more. Even something as simple as looking up statistics to tell your other half that they are safe can help them relax enough to enjoy a movie or two before you land.

Make it Worth It

If you give your partner an exciting goal you’re going toward, it’ll make it easier for them to be convinced to get on the plane and make it through the ride. If they know they’re headed toward an all-inclusive resort or another exciting destination they’ll be more inclined to make it through the trip there peacefully.

Beautiful beach with blue skies and palm trees at a Sandals Resort

If on the other hand, you ask them to get on a plane to go to a high school reunion or to visit a great Uncle they rarely ever see, that will be a harder sell.

If you want to convince them to do something they’re either frightened of or just strongly dislike, you’ll need a strong enough motivator to get them to want to go and to be glad they went. You don’t want this issue to damage your relationship with each other.

Keep Them Distracted

Distractions can be a very powerful tool when it comes to getting over fear of flying. Our biggest enemy usually isn’t what’s actually happening to us, it’s what we’re imagining could happen. Keeping the mind occupied helps the person flying not focus on scary possibilities.

If your partner enjoys movies, set up a movie for them as soon as you can. To be extra prepared, it’s a good idea to download his or her favorite movie or TV show on your phone. That way, whether the TV is working on the plane or not, there will always have a backup plan.

If your partner doesn’t enjoy movies, help them plan out things they do enjoy to bring such as a book or a crossword puzzle. Even something like bringing along some of their favorite snacks can help distract them from thinking too hard about being so high up in the sky.

Give Them a Sleeping Pill

If nothing else works, another option is to ask your partner if they’d like a sleeping pill. If the flight is long enough, it can be helpful if they’re able to just sleep through it. Since you’re traveling together, they can just drift off without worrying about anything else.

Plan to give them the pill a bit before taking off. If you time it right, they’ll be ready to fall asleep right around the time the plane is ready to start up into the sky.

Sleeping pills usually are completely harmless, but they can affect people differently. If your partner chooses to do this, it could be helpful for them to try the sleeping pill out at home first just to be sure it doesn’t affect them in a negative way.

Be Supportive and Communicate

With your help, your partner has a good chance of getting over their fears and dislike of flying. The combination of good planning and right thinking can make your trip in the sky much smoother than it could be. Above everything else, communicate well with each other about the difficulty. If you’re both working together on it, finding a solution can happen faster than you might have thought.

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