Traveling, in general, can be stressful, even if it's for pleasure, but traveling by air can be especially challenging for some. Whatever the reason, if you get stressed while flying, there are ways to help reduce, or possibly eliminate that stress. In this article, Michael Wiener of Albuquerque - a world-renowned license plate collector and travel enthusiast - shares eight ways to reduce the stress of air travel. 

1. Arrive Prepared
One of the most significant sources of tension at airports comes from waiting in line. While you can't avoid all of them, you can skip some by printing off your ticket ahead of time at home. Most airlines will send you an email 24 hours before your flight with a link that allows you to print off your boarding pass. Have your confirmation number handy so you can quickly enter it at the kiosk.

2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
You don't want to rush through the airport or deal with the anxiety of potentially missing your flight. So, plan ahead and give yourself time to get through TSA, print your boarding pass, and find the right gate. A good rule of thumb is to be at the airport at least two hours ahead for domestic flights and three hours for international. Bring something to do while you wait, otherwise, grab a bite to eat or shop.

3. Stay Positive
This is easier said than done, but staying positive is a crucial part of staying stress-free on a flight. Firstly, block out any negative thoughts. If you're traveling for fun, stay focused on the destination. Then, choose your distraction of choice, such as meditation or watching a movie.

4. Eat Healthy
If flying is stressful enough, you don't want to feel the effects of a sugar crash thanks to sweets or feel uncomfortable because you accidentally skipped a meal. Eating healthy meals on the day of air travel helps to keep your mood balanced, which means you're more likely to have a nice flight. 

5. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can contribute to stress, as well as cause headaches, which can put a damper on things. Furthermore, a dry mouth and feeling thirsty is just plain uncomfortable. Make sure you bring a water bottle or ask the flight attendant for some to drink plenty of water when traveling to avoid dehydration.

6. Be as Comfortable as Possible
Airplane seats can be uncomfortable, especially if you're sitting next to someone you don't know. Fortunately, bringing a few items from home can make the whole situation more comfortable.

A travel pillow, compression socks, headphones, and a sleeping mask can all help ease the situation. Bringing someone with you can also offer extra support. Dress in layers and be sure to carry a sweater as aircraft cabins can be chilly.

7. Avoid Alcohol
While many people tend to grab a drink before or on a flight to alleviate some anxiety, alcohol can make you feel sick or drunk, which can contribute to feeling stressed. Instead, stick to something like a calming herbal tea. 

8. Talk to Your Doctor
If you feel like your stress exceeds normal levels, talking to your doctor might be best. They can aid you in techniques to relieve stress and anxiety, or they may be able to prescribe you a medication to help control it.

About Michael Wiener:

Michael C. Wiener of Albuquerque New Mexico is a world-renowned license plate collector, researcher, and consultant. He is considered to be America's leading authority regarding automobile license plates and motor vehicle licensing systems. By the time he was 23, he had visited all 50 states and has now explored over 100 countries across the globe. Mr. Wiener was elected as an Albuquerque City Councilor, a New Mexico State Senator, and a Bernalillo County Commissioner. He was elected twice as International President of the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA), and has been featured on HGTV's Offbeat America," CNBC News with Brian Williams, and appeared in an episode of AMC's Breaking Bad and was featured in New Mexico Magazine. Michael Wiener serves as a consultant for motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, and television and motion picture producers on subjects related to motor vehicles and automobile plate history. He has been nominated twice, by his peers, to the ALPCA Hall of Fame and was given the "Outstanding Leadership" Award by the Mid Region Council of Governments in 2013.