The 10 Best Products for Flight Anxiety of 2023, According to a Mental Health Professional

Shop weighted blankets, supplements, and other items to tackle in-flight anxiety.

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Curb Flight Anxiety Products

Travel and Leisure / Kevin Liang

Nervous flier? It’s perfectly normal to get a bit anxious, even in the friendly skies. But to help you combat it, we spoke to Jules Jean-Pierre, a licensed marriage and family therapist at telehealth company Grow Therapy, to find out the best products for reducing and relieving in-air nerves. From a therapist standpoint, Jean-Pierre says that the first step is to acknowledge that you have flight anxiety, and then decide to do something constructive about it.

Not all reasons behind flight anxiety stem from the same triggers, and Jean-Pierre recognizes that no one solution will be a catch-all. So, we’ve used her expert suggestions to round up the best travel products to help stall flight anxiety before and during a flight, whether it’s the state-of-the-art Bose Noise-canceling Headphones 700, a portable Bearaby weighted travel blanket, or the Sunday Scaries’ fast-acting CBD tincture we stand by. Want more? We’ve also got the best picks for meditation apps, essential oils, and more. 

Best Travel Pillow

Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow

5
Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s made of comfy memory foam and has a washable cover.  

What to Consider: It doesn’t come with a carrying case. 

Ah, memory foam: soft, yet sturdy and supportive. The Cabeau Evolution Class Travel Pillow is made from 100 percent memory foam and provides near-360-degree support, even if you bob your head while asleep. There’s even a built-in slip pocket to stash small items like those easy-to-lose wireless earbuds. 

The pillow can be adjusted via plastic drawstring clasps under the chin. Covers are made from a soft, non-abrasive material that are ideal for sensitive skin (though not makeup-resistant). We love that it comes with a removable and washable cover — which is key after being on a plane — but we wish it came in its own slip-on carrying bag so it didn’t feel so exposed while in transit between flights.  

Price at time of publishing: $30

Best Travel Weighted Blanket

Bearaby Travel Napper

Bearaby Travel Napper

Courtesy of Bearaby

Why We Love It: It’s made from organic cotton and comes with its own duffel. 

What to Consider: You’ll have to carry around 10 pounds of extra weight on your travels.

If you’re the type of person who responds strongly to tactile experiences, Jean-Pierre says a weighted blanket may be able to ground you when you feel anxious. The Bearaby Travel Napper measures 40 inches by 64 inches, and we love that it already comes with its own duffel. This blanket has 10 pounds of comforting snugness but, just remember you’ll have to carry that extra weight with you to and from the plane.  

Price at time of publishing: $209

Best Meditation App

Calm

Calm Application

Apple

Why We Love It: It features several ways to find your calm from guided meditations to breathing exercises. 

What to Consider: You’ll need a subscription for access to everything. 

There are heaps of meditation apps out there, but we’re big fans of Calm since it has the most variety. Jean-Pierre points out that we’re all unique and a type of meditation that works for some may not work for others. Calm offers guided meditation, soundscapes (like nature noises or types of ambient noise), breathing exercises, music, spoken word, story-telling, and guided movement exercises, so there’s a lot of room to find what works for you — and to switch it up when you need. Pro tip: If you do the free trial, you’ll still have access to all the programs you tried once your trial is up, but the rest can only be unlocked with a subscription. 

Price at time of publishing: Free initial trial, then $15/month, $70/year, or $400 for life.

Best Essential Oil

doTerra Lavender Touch Essential Oil Roll-on

doTERRA - Lavender Touch Essential Oil

Amazon

Why We Love It: It can be inhaled or applied topically. 

What to Consider: The people around you may not like the smell. 

For some travelers, essential oils are must-haves for a variety of purposes including sleep, energy, and even anxiety. Lavender essential oil is often used by people looking to relax, and this doTerra Lavender Touch Roll-on makes for an ideal travel companion. The 10-milliliter volume is well within TSA liquid limits, and the slim profile (about the size of a Chapstick) makes it easy to toss in your purse or pocket for easy access. We love that this essential oil doesn’t need to be diluted before rolling on, and that it can be used as aromatherapy or applied directly on the skin. However, before using essential oil in a tight space, it’s worth considering, or asking, your fellow passengers within sniffing distance if they mind. 

Price at time of publishing: $23

Best Calming Gummies

Wild & Organic Calm and Mood Support Gummies

Wild & Organic Calm and Mood Support Gummies

Amazon

Why We Love It: There’s a good combination of herbal supplements that work against anxiety.

What to Consider: Some ingredients may interact with certain medications. 

These anti-anxiety gummies pack a potent combination when it comes to natural de-stressing herbs. You’ll get the sweet calming action of Ashwagandha, St. John’s wort, lemon balm, thyme, holy basil, magnesium, and rhodiola in each serving — all used frequently to combat anxiety and stress and increase mood. It’s worth noting that some of the herbal ingredients in these gummies (like St. John’s wort) should not be ingested regularly if you’re taking certain medications (like anti-depressants). Check all ingredients against any current medications before tossing these in your chomper. And, for those following certain diets, note that these gummies are vegan, but not gluten-free. 

Price at time of publishing: $18

Best Noise-canceling Headphones

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

5
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose

Why We Love Them:  They’re comfy and cord-free — plus, a fully-charged battery will last throughout most long-haul flights. 

What to Consider: These top-notch headphones are an investment and may not be comfortable for sleep.  

Sometimes a sensory escape from your surroundings can help ease anxiety or control triggers. Jean-Pierre says some nervous fliers may benefit from using noise-canceling headphones to “ease any tension from noise on the plane” which can be distracting or triggering. Bose has long been at the top of the sound game, and it turns out the brand is also great at blocking it out entirely. 

These comfy, noise-canceling headphones plop right over your ears and are Bluetooth-enabled. You’ll get 20 hours of continuous playback off a single full charge (great for long-haul flights), and sleek button controls on each ear cuff give you a convenient hands-free experience. The price is high, but consider these an investment that you can use on and off the plane. 

Price at time of publishing: $379

Best Attention Diversion

MAGTIMES Rainbow Fidget Spinner

Magtimes Rainbow Anti-anxiety Fidget Spinner

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s inexpensive and can work for kids.  

What to Consider: It generates a slight hum that may be annoying for neighbors. 

Fidget spinners were all the rage when they came out in the 2010s, but they’re actually great at keeping your hands and mind busy. The required repetitive motion and motor coordination are ideal for diverting anxious attention, and may work to distract some mildly nervous flyers. The Magtimes Rainbow Anti-anxiety Fidget Spinner is lightweight, colorful, and easy to pop into your purse, pocket, or carry-on for easy access during a flight. Just keep in mind that there's a slight whirring noise that may bother anyone sitting right next to you. 

Price at time of publishing: $20

Best Tincture

Sunday Scaries CBD Oil

Sunday Scaries CBD Oil

Sunday Scaries

Why We Love It: You can add it to your beverage or drop it under your tongue.

What to Consider: A little goes a long way, so be careful not to overdo it.

CBD has risen in popularity and acceptance over the last decade or so as an answer to anxiety. We like the Sunday Scaries fast absorbing CBD oil tincture because it’s also infused with stress-reducing vitamins B3 and D3 and comes in a convenient, one-ounce bottle that falls within the TSA carry-on liquid allowance. Each dose (about a third of a dropper full) contains approximately 15 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD derived from hemp, not marijuana, so you won’t get into any sticky situations at security. Just a quick few drops under your tongue or a sneaky pinch into a beverage and it gets to work. This is strong stuff so don’t play the hero; do a few trial runs before a flight to get your dosage right.

Price at time of publishing: $49

Best Tech Device

Calmi Go

CalmiGo

CalmiGo

Why We Love It: It combines three proven anti-stress methods, all drug-free. 

What to Consider: Using the device is not as discreet as other options. 

The Calmigo exhaling device combines breathing, sensory grounding techniques, and essential oil aromatherapy to battle your flight anxiety as it is happening. Unlike most of the picks on the list which work in advance to prevent nervousness and panic, you can reach for the device for immediate relief when you feel it creeping in. 

Calmigo works by guiding your breathing to help relax your nervous system, by providing a lighted visual focus point for distraction, and by using essential oil scents such as lavender or peppermint. Not sure if you believe the hype? There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. But keep in mind that whipping this out on a flight may draw some attention.  

Price at time of publishing: $229

Best Earplugs

Loop Quiet Earplugs

4.9
Loop Quiet Noise Reduction Earplugs

Loop Earplugs

Why We Love It: They are reusable and come in four sizes for a better personalized fit. 

What to Consider: These are earplugs, not earbuds. 

These little earplugs have a 27 decibel rating, and popping them in when things start feeling overwhelming can help you to blissfully dissolve into your own onboard bubble. If you’re tempted to buy a bottle of those standard foam earplugs, know that they aren’t as comfortable or eco-friendly. 

Loop Quiet earplugs are made from silicone, have an ergonomic shape for a more comfy fit, and are reusable. You’ll get four different silicone tips ranging from extra-small to large, so you can find the best fit for your ears. The comfortable design doesn’t stick out of your ear but there’s an added loop to grab onto that makes them easier to take out (and harder to misplace). Just remember that these are earplugs, not earbuds, so don’t expect them to connect to any audio devices. 

Price at time of publishing: $20

Tips for Dealing with Flight Anxiety

Give supplements time to kick in

If you go the supplement route, be sure to time it just right. Different types of supplement forms (pills, capsules, options that dissolve under your tongue) will all take varying amounts of time to be absorbed by your body and kick in. Unless you have sublingual supplements, don’t wait to take them until you’re on the plane. Also, taking supplements on a full stomach may cause a delay in their effect. 

Practice breath control

Mindful breathing practices may help some people to mitigate their anxiety, though Jules Jean-Pierre cautions that it’s a skill that needs to be practiced — and it may not work for everyone. “There are many types of breathing exercises that can be found online so it’s important to choose something that is easy to recall during times of stress,” she says.

Distract yourself with a good book or movie

Engrossing yourself in a good book, movie, or TV show may be an effective way to escape your own mind. Download something to watch before your flight, check the in-flight entertainment, or bring along something interesting to read.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Does alcohol affect anxiety?

    Ordering a few drinks from the bar cart to calm your nerves can actually serve to heighten your anxiety. As the relaxed feeling that can come with drinking alcohol wears off (or builds to intoxicated levels), you may find yourself even more nervous or paranoid. 

  • Why do people get flight anxiety?

    Common reasons for flight anxiety, according to Jules Jean-Pierre, are fear of contracting COVID-19, the possibility of turbulence, claustrophobia, feeling unsafe around other passengers (for both discriminatory and non-discriminatory reasons), and concern about being judged by other passengers (i.e., vomiting from motion sickness or having a crying baby). 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Katherine Alex Beaven is a writer covering travel, food and drink, and culture. Her work often finds her in the friendly skies. To help uncover the best products for relieving flight anxiety, Alex relied on her personal fixes, expert input, and research.

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