You don’t have to be ‘scared of flying’ to be a nervous traveller. There are all sorts of different reasons why you might not particularly like flying: it might be a dislike of large crowds or being squished into places with lots of strangers (this is mine), meeting new people, the feeling of being trapped in an enclosed space, food allergies or preferences that can be difficult to manage when you’re away from home… it all adds up to feeling like you’re not in control of your own destiny, and that can feel unpleasant and make anyone feel anxious. I don’t actually mind flying at all – for me, it’s an opportunity to sit back, chill out, watch a film or two, read a big pile of magazines and not look at my phone for a few hours, but I do know that travelling can be a whole lot easier if you have a few simple techniques up your sleeve. Here are my top tips for nervous flyers:
Know the rules
There’s nothing worse that getting to the airport only to find that your stupid suitcase is too big, or that you can’t have your handbag as hand luggage or whatever. Make sure you take the time before your journey to read up on everything from your baggage allowance to check-in procedures (for example, some airlines, like EasyJet only allow you to check in online).
Plan out your route and timings
If you’ve got everything sorted in your mind well in advance, you’ll be a much more relaxed traveller, so book your airport parking (or research trains or coaches or whatever to the airport) nice and early. Give yourself plenty of time to get your baggage dropped and checked in so you’re not rushing and panicking at the last minute.
Upgrade your experience
And I don’t mean book yourself into upper class, although of course you can do that if you want to! If there are certain bits that you don’t like, make a calculated investment to make them a bit easier. Hate dropping your car at airport parking and then getting the bus to the terminal? Book an airport meet service and greet so your driver meets you right at the terminal drop off point. Find going through security stressful? Book yourself into premium security lanes – it’s usually only a few quid and a much more relaxed experience. Dislike the waity bit at the airport? Splash out on a lounge so you can chill out, and have a drink and a bite to eat in comfort.
Pack your hand luggage wisely
It really helps to spend a few hours during the few days before you fly sorting out your hand luggage. I have a list on my phone of items I like to bring: a transparent make up bag with toothbrush and toothpaste, a small roll-on antiperspirant, anti-bacterial spray, tissues, lovely scented hand cream, lip balm, etc; a refillable water bottle (take empty through security and then fill up at the water fountain); comfy socks; eye mask; a cereal bar or two (what? I get peckish); noise cancelling headphones; techy stuff like charger, iPad, adaptor; reading material; my notebook and pen; sunglasses for when we land; oh and PASSPORT (yep, done that before).
Before you leave: picture yourself sitting happily on the aircraft. What are you wearing? Are you reading a magazine? Listening to a podcast? Make sure you have all this sorted: plan your outfit (comfy is best and make sure you have something warm like a soft hoody or scarf, it always gets cold on planes at some point), buy the magazines or books, download some decent podcasts (I love Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place and a beauty podcast called Full Coverage) – or maybe you’d like some chill out/relax kind of apps? Whatever gets you through.
Next thing you know, you’ll be smoothly through security, stocked up on a couple of essentials in World Duty Free (just me?), and happily parked in your seat ready for your flight. Have a drink if you want (but don’t have ten), get your stuff sorted and mentally prepare yourself for the flight.
No plane ever crashed because of turbulence
If you don’t like the bumpy bits, repeat this to yourself like some kind of mantra. I’m married to a pilot, and if there’s a bit of turbulence, he always says look at the cabin crew. Not bothered at all. If it was something bad, they’d be looking concerned. Think of the aircraft like a boat on the sea: there can be calm water, and your boat will skim easily across the surface, or there can be waves, and the boat will bump along from wave to wave. Turbulence is caused by the plane being bumped about by swirly air. They’re built to withstand much greater forces than turbulence can throw at them, so do some deep breathing, listen to your relaxing app, and remember the mantra.
Try to enjoy the experience
Remember, you’re not silly, and you’re certainly not alone. I bet the majority of people feel some level of worry or anxiety before or during a flight. And finally, just try and enjoy it. Flying is a modern miracle, swooshing you off to your lovely holiday (or wherever you’re going). If you can look out the window, focus on the gorgeous, fluffy clouds or incredible scenery. Imagine yourself there and use that little trick of pretending to be confident, even if you’re really not. Just smile and wave, boys, smile and wave.
If you’ve got any fab tips or tricks, do let me know in the comments below, or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram 🙂