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jan 15 2013

Share Your Best Ear Popping Tips!

Baby with a sore ear

What's your secret to preventing painful ear pops when you fly?

(Courtesy cscott2006/Flickr)

We recently asked you whether jetlag is worse on the way to your destination or on the trip home. Now we've got another air travel question for you: What's your secret to preventing painful ear pops when you fly?

On a recent family vacation to Venice, Rome, and Cinque Terre, I suffered the worst ear pain of my life while decending into Dublin for a layover. I pulled out my trusty pack of chewing gum, offering some to the folks around us, but my left ear continued to be stubbornly blocked no matter how hard I chewed or how much water I swallowed. As everyone else looked down at the green scenery below us, I held my left ear in total agony. Luckily, after several cups of hot tea and a few more pieces of gum, I was able to get through the next take off and landing and arrived in Venice feeling much better.

If only I had come across this tip from Budget Travel reader (and pilot!) Mike Filippell. "To avoid ear pain during flights, bring along an apple. When you feel the plane begin to descend (about 25 minutes before arrival), start snacking. The chewing and swallowing will keep ears in good shape." So that's where I went wrong. I should have started chewing earlier (before I started feeling the pressure), plus the combination of chewing and swallowing would have made the whole experience so much better.

This made me wonder if there were other little-known, tried-and-true methods that would have helped me at the time. What are your best tips? Let us know in the comments!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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