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  • Writer's pictureMinna

Making Plane Travel Less Stressful: Part 1

Oh, the paradox of being AuDHD (Autistic + ADHD). I love novelty and adventure- but I struggle with all the changes and unknowns that come with it. Over the years, I've developed a system for making plane travel less stressful- my coaching clients have found it helpful, so now I am sharing it with you!

Part 1: Accommodating Yourself!

Get Packed, Stay Packed

Preparing for airline travel can be overwhelming before it's even time to head to the airport, so I use a "get packed, stay packed" process.

  • I have a master packing list on my computer, so I don't have to make a new list every trip. (I have one for my dogs, too!)

  • I always keep my toiletry bag packed, so I only have to check to ensure everything is fully stocked and not pack the entire bag from scratch each time. I also get my toiletry bag out at least a week before I travel and outsmart my executive dysfunction by refilling my travel items as I use them day-to-day.

  • Some items I keep packed in my carry-on or suitcase all the time. If I use them in between travel, I put them back in my travel bag when I'm done! (For instance, I keep my headphones in my travel backpack because I wouldn't be able to survive if I forgot them at home when I traveled!)

  • Pack comfort items. (headphones, phone loaded with music/movies, favorite snacks, etc.)

Fill in the blanks ahead of time

Dealing with unknowns can cause me a lot of anxiety. Here are ways I try to make the unknown more known:

  • Research the airport and terminal. I look at maps, food options, quiet places, etc. I also look up what disability/autism services they may have- like the sunflower lanyard or quiet rooms.

  • Research the airline. I look to see what type of seat I booked, what it comes with, and what baggage I'm allowed. Some airlines even have sites/apps that explain the flying process in detail!

  • Know what happens when I land. Do I need to get checked baggage? Who is picking me up? What will happen when I leave the airport and for the rest of the day?

Have you used any of these strategies before? What else do *you* do to make airline travel less stressful?

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