Top tips for nervous flyers

If flights make your nervous, here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to go on that trip

Woman leaning on her suitcase at the airport \ Nervous flyers concept

Now that travel is happening more often as the world opens up as COVID-19 vaccinations give us some protection, you may be thinking about taking a trip.

Whether it’s for work or pleasure, though, you may find your enthusiasm is dimmed substantially if you have a fear of flying or feel anxious onboard a plane. It helps to know some steps you can follow to make your time in the air go more smoothly.

Top tips for nervous flyers

1. Familiarise yourself

For starters, you should feel less stressed about being up in the air if you take the time to get familiar with the plane you’re going to be in and its safety record, layout, and more. If you learn about all the routines involved in flying, such as the check-in and boarding procedures, safety information, the reality of turbulence, and so on, this should help quell your fears on the day.

As with anything, the more you do something, the more you understand it and can feel comfortable. As such, don’t keep yourself in a state of denial about having to fly. Instead, do your research and arm yourself with the knowledge to feel calmer.

2. Give yourself plenty of time

Another tip is to avoid rushing to the airport. Give yourself plenty of time to finish packing, travel to the airport, check-in, and find your gate on the day of departure, so you don’t have to stress even more. If you’re running late, your body will spike with adrenaline and cortisol, making you so much more on edge and making flying more challenging.

Allow much more time to get to the airport and get settled than you think you will need, so if any issues crop up along the way, you won’t have to panic about missing your flight. Also read » 18 travel mistakes that can ruin your foreign holiday.

3. Book or request an aisle seat

Depending on the airline you’re travelling with and the type of ticket you purchased, you may be able to pick or at least request a seat type of your choosing. If so, it’s wise to go for an aisle seat if you’re a nervous flyer. The reason for this is that if you find yourself struggling during the flight and need to have some quiet time to yourself in the bathroom or take a walk to get out some nerves, it’s much easier to do so when you’re already sitting on the aisle and don’t need to disturb anyone to get up.

4. Bring helpful distractions on board with you

Next, since one of the best ways to get through something difficult is to distract your mind, be sure to plan ahead and bring handy supplies onboard the plane. For instance, try to travel with a good friend or family member whom you can chat to during the flight, or bring a good book or magazine with you that you can immerse yourself in. You could spend time listening to relaxing music on your phone, listen to a favoured podcast, do some puzzles or colouring in, or even get some work done while the plane is in the air.

5. Get as much rest as possible

Another great way to make the time pass and have fewer issues with flying is to get as much rest as possible during the trip. If you can fall asleep, you’ll have less time to countdown for the plane’s arrival back on the ground. You can spray or dab some lavender on your neck pillow or body to help you relax as much as possible. Also, don’t forget to pack an eye mask so you can block out the light and distractions of other people when you’re trying to fall asleep on the plane. You may like to bring your own earbuds for noise-blocking purposes, too.

Other techniques to sooth nervous flyers

Looking for some other techniques to make flying less of an ordeal? Why not try some deep breathing and meditation out while waiting for the plane to take off and land and during the flight? You might also like to bring a comfort item that will make you feel more secure, and pay close attention to the flight attendants to remind yourself of how calm and unworried they are about being in the sky.

Also, avoid stimulants such as caffeine and having too much alcohol, as these substances can amp you up when you need to calm down instead. Lastly, it pays to invest in some counselling sessions with a paid professional so you can discuss where your fear of flying stems from and come up with some mental strategies for coping more effectively each time you need to get on a plane.

Flying may not be something you love to do anytime soon, but if you implement some of these tips, you should find that the experience becomes easier over time.

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