Last Updated on 28th June 2017 by Sophie Nadeau
When stepping aboard the plane, do your palms get sweaty? Are you anxious at the thought of a flight? I feel you. I’m a nervous flyer too. And apparently, we’re not alone. Studies suggest that up to 25% of Americans are nervous about flying to some degree. But… there are ways to combat the nervousness. Here are my ten best tips for nervous flyers; tricks and practical advice that will help calm your nerves for that flight!
Allow yourself enough time to get to the airport
Learning to manage your stress starts well before you even get to the airport. Ensure that you leave enough time to pack well in advance and reach the airport with lots of time to spare so that you’re not rushing through security. Prepare all of the liquids you’ll be carrying with you onboard the flight in a small, see-through bag beforehand, and wear shoes that are easy to remove.
Avoid the alcohol
Drinking any alcohol on a flight (even a tiny glass of wine or small beer) can make you feel much worse. Flying is very dehydrating, as is alcohol. Instead, opt to drink soft drinks or water.
Cut the caffeine
Don’t reach for the coffee or even the tea. Instead, opt for soft drinks. Or, better still, plain old water! It’s proven that the consumption of caffeine can lead to even more stress and nervousness on your body… and that’s not what you want when you’re already nervous about flying!
Drink ALL of the water
As I’ve mentioned, flying is extremely dehydrating for your body. Ensure that you keep sipping on soft drinks and water throughout the flights. Water is better than many soft drinks as it contains no sugar (sugar in large quantities can put a lot of stress on your body and increase your nervousness during flight).
Talk to the Flight Attendants
Make yourself known to the flight attendants. Most times, they’re happy to chat to you about your concerns, as well as reassure you that you’re in safe hands. After all, they’re used to flying on a regular basis, as well as reassuring other nervous flyers!
Keep yourself busy during the flight
Make sure to keep yourself busy by reading a book, or filling in some crosswords. Make sure that the time passes faster by keeping your mind occupied with small tasks and activities. If you’re flying far and also want to try and avoid jetlag, then try and rest/ sleep. This way, the time will pass much faster.
Bring your own music AND your own headphones!
If you’re unable to read during the flight due to motion sickness, then make sure to bring something to occupy your mind with. Bring your own relaxing music (or an audio book if you prefer) and your own noise-cancelling headphones! That way, you’ll be able to enjoy listening to something you know you like and that you find relaxing.
Practice breathing exercises
I’m naturally worried about everything (so I guess it doesn’t come at all as a surprise that I’m also a nervous flyer!). As a result, I find a great way to calm myself down during exams/ on flights/ before an important interview is to focus on breathing properly. This guide by the NHS is a helpful place to start.
Remind yourself of the statistics
I know that thinking of the negatives isn’t the most helpful of tips for nervous flyers… And although the thought of doing some arithmetic in the air may leave you feeling even more stressed, it’s always worth remembering that travelling by air is one of the safest modes of transport (second only to travelling by escalator!)
Focus on the positives
One of my best tips for nervous flyers is to focus on the positives. After all, if you’re on a plane, chances are you’re going somewhere new and exciting. Think of where you’ve been or where you’re headed to. Why not use the flight time to do a little preparation if you’re off to something new. Pick up a phrase book if you’re going somewhere where you can’t speak the language, or spend the time editing travel photos (I edit all of my Instagram photos on my phone- here’s how I do it!)