Overcoming Flight Anxiety

A travel blogger/enthusiast with flight anxiety is a bit of a paradox. Yet, I am that person. I love traveling to new cities and new countries. However, I loathe flying. I’ve truly never liked it, but about 4 years ago, I was on an absolutely terrible flight back from Las Vegas. It was so bad that people on the flight were screaming and praying. I did both #NOSHAME. After that, I always get anxious the night before a flight and the anxiety does no subside until we’ve landed safely in our destination city.

I travel about once a month via plane. Last year alone, I took over 26 flights. You would think my anxiety would be gone or I would even love flying by now, but I don’t. I really don’t lol. That’s anxiety for you. My hope is by writing about it, being open and addressing it this year, I will get over it. At the very least, I want to better manage it. I already have 7 trips planned that require me to get into a big metal tube and soar through the sky. Not going is not an option and I  know I will have more trips by the end of 2018.

Confession, I like many people with flight anxiety have a prescription for my flights. Yup, my flight anxiety is real sweaty palms, racing heart, bad thoughts, knot in my stomach, all of that. Once again, I have #NOSHAME I think most people were inspired by Oprah’s amazing Golden Globes speech on Sunday. She said speak your truth and this is my truth. It’s truth for a lot of people about 1/3 of Americans to be exact.

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There are a few things I have found that really help me. Everyone’s anxiety and experience with it is different. If you too have this issue, I hope some of the below is helpful to you. If you know someone with flight anxiety, be kind, they can’t help it. Be comforting and maybe tell them to try one of the below suggestions. Yes, we know flight fear is irrational and we don’t need you to tell us statistics. Stats don’t matter when you’re in a storm in the sky.  I will never let my flight anxiety keep me grounded and you shouldn’t either.

The first thing I do, is ensure I have nothing else to be anxious about. I pack well in advance, ensure my alarm is set and give myself enough time to get to the airport. I essentially try to create a stress free traveling experience based on everything that is in my control before and after getting on the plane. After I’m on the plane, here are a few things I do to help soothe my anxiety.

FLIGHT BUDDY

Having someone I know on the same flight as me really comforts me. When that person is next to me my anxiety almost completely goes away. If you’re flying with someone that has anxiety, talk to them (normally) during the flight about your activities when you land. Thinking about the destination is what always gets me through. I tell myself 2-5 hours of being uncomfortable is worth a few days with friends and fun.

PROJECTS

I usually have less anxiety on work trips. This is because I have plenty of projects on my laptop to keep me occupied. I throw myself into my work and almost forget that I’m on the plane. For personal trips, I try to bring a journal with me. I work on personal business items or do any last minute excursion planning before we land.

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MOVIES/TV

I always try to see if my plane will have WiFi and free shows before my flight. It’s 2018 and every flight should have WiFi (but that’s another blog post). If you have flight anxiety, it might be worth purchasing a GoGo pass to ensure you can always watch movies or TV. You can also download one before your departure on your laptop or iPad. Personally, I like to choose comedy. I like to be completely distracted and get relaxed by laughing.

MUSIC

Music serves two purposes for me on flights. Firstly, I don’t like small talk. There have been few instances I have truly enjoyed my plane conversations with strangers. Secondly, I have a flight playlist with music that calms me and puts me into a good mood. I suggest you create a playlist for yourself. It’s my go to and has enough songs for an international flight on it.

SLEEP

Last suggestion, just go to sleep. Sometimes, I strap in, cover my head and try to fall asleep. Yeah, it’s kinda like avoiding the situation lol. But I usually go full steam ahead once I stop off the plane so I need to rest up. Dream happy thoughts and then wake up in your destination.

Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let me know what works to calm your nerves during flights. Leave your tips in the comments below. I wish each of you safe and happy travels in 2018. Go out, explore and enjoy.

love,

Leigh

8 thoughts on “Overcoming Flight Anxiety

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  1. Cool tips here. Good for you for overcoming this, I’m sure it’s really difficult. I have a similar thing with travel sickness – it’s particularly bad on buses but sometimes it’s all our budget will allow. Using noice cancelling headphones really helped me to sleep and zone out – I loved them so much so I actually started selling them on my new site 😂 If you don’t have any, I’d consider it 😊

  2. Great advice and I can totally relate. I wrote about this a few years ago. I have been flying since I was a baby and didn’t have an issue until two bad flights in my adult years. I didn’t fly for 2 years after that. I fly frequently as well and I have realized the more I fly the less anxious I have become especially after doing several long haul flights. All your tips are great. Flying with someone also relaxes me. Listening to music and watching movies does also. I also try to talk to myself in terms of the safety and statistics during take off and turbulence. Be safe and I hope things improve for you this year.

  3. Ironically enough, I’ve been gathering my thoughts together for some time about my anxiety. I’m with you. Sometimes it just sucks. Since I typically travel solo, I have to put myself into my own world with music and other substances, lol.

  4. I felt this post on another level. I love travelling but the flight part is the worst part. Coming back from my honeymoon I was on a horrible flight coming from Jamaica with rain/lightning…all the above. When I feel like my love of travel exceeds everything else. Those movies are one of the biggest thing that keeps me distracted, crossword puzzles and talking to my husband on the flight.

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