Face masks. Everyone’s least favorite accessory two years running, right? I recently got a comment on my “Why It’s Okay to Mourn Your Cancelled Travel” blog post from the beginning of the pandemic. My heart is heavy that this post is still relevant, but I’m also thankful it’s still helping people. The guy had just cancelled a trip that involved a 9-hour flight because he was too anxious about wearing a mask during the flight, the time at the airport, the layover, etc. Then beat himself up about it.
The truth is, his experience is not just his. Anyone who travels and has anxiety, and especially those of us who travel to fight our anxiety, can relate to that. Masks are like panties and shoes. They’ll never be comfortable, but with the right fit and a little strategy, you can tolerate them. You know what I’m talking about. So, to help us all, here are a few tips for wearing a mask on long-haul flights, like it or not!
Find a Good Fit
As I said, face masks are like shoes and panties–never a perfect fit, but tolerable, right? My best advice is to find a mask you like with adjustable ear loops. It also helps if you actually kind of like your mask, or if it’s “fun.” Find a cute pattern or something that makes you smile behind that mask. Once you find a style or fit that you like, go ahead and order some extras. Some suggestions are below, and better yet, they were made in the USA!
Remember It’ll Be Over Soon
I don’t mean the pandemic, unfortunately. But really, you won’t be flying or walking around airports for the rest of your life, just the rest of your travel time. Remind yourself you only have to do this a few more hours. Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath (pull the mask inconspicuously away from your face if you need) and just remind yourself that this will end.
Take a Long Swig
You’re allowed to have your mask off to both sip your beverages and bite your food. And if you’re discreet, you can get away with a long sip or a long bite. Anything helps, right? So don’t cause a rukus, but do take advantage of this when you can!
Read next: The Best Snacks for the Flight
Everyone Else Has to Do It, Too
This is what I told myself when I started to doubt if I could actually live in Japan during college. And when I traveled alone in my early solo travel days. And occasionally what I tell myself now when I have to do something unpleasant, difficult, or something I otherwise don’t think I can do. If everyone else can do it, so can you. People do it every day. You can do it, too!
Keep reading: Surviving Long-haul Travels
Bring an Extra
If one of the things that causes your mask anxiety is wearing it a long time (either because you sneezed in it or because you got something on it or whatever reason), wear a few masks for a short time each. Bring a spare!
Read next: The Ultimate Pandemic Travel Essentials
Need more? Check out my Health and Wellness Page for everything you need about traveling in the age of COVID, staying healthy on travel, and practicing self care.
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