7 calming tips for nervous flyers

I’m a nervous flyer who loves travelling. I know, quite the paradox. Especially when travelling is also such a large part of my job as a travel blogger. So how do I cope with it? Well over the years, I’ve developed quite a few tekkers that allow me to get through.

1. Be organised

My first tip is to triple check you have everything you need and get yourself to the airport in plenty of time. The last you need is to forget something or be in a mad dash. You’ll be stressed before you even step foot on the plane.

2. Stay entertained

Make sure you keep your mind busy during the flight. The worst thing for overthinking and anxiety is boredom. So think about the length of the flight and plan accordingly with books, films, podcasts etc. I sometimes even plan this by the hour.

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3. Rationalise it

You are far more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the airport than as a result of a plane crash. Statistically, flying is just about the safest mode of transportation going. Aviation engineering simply does not allow for turbulence to pull a wing off mid flight.

Aeroplanes are designed to still fly even in the extremely unlikely event of engine failure. They don’t simply drop out of the sky. And whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT google plane tragedies. That will guarantee maximum freak out.

4. What exactly is it?

Find out what you’re actually afraid of. For me, it’s especially take off and landing. So I know if I can get through those 10 minutes at either end I’ll be right. I also hate turbulence, but try to remember that although it’s unpleasant, it’s not dangerous and is a perfectly normal part of flying.

5. Make a panic plan

Have this well thought out before you board. I use breathing techniques and positive visualisation, e.g. stepping off the plane into the sunshine in my new exciting destination. I also get up and move around if I can, go to the bathroom and wash my face. Strangely I find looking out of the window quite comforting as well.

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6. Get yourself a drink

Now I’m not talking about getting off your face drunk, that amount of alcohol will make you anxious. But one of my favourite coping techniques is to enjoy a nice wee dram of good ol’ whisky during the flight. It’s just a little ritual I have and gives me something that I can look forward to.

7. Embrace being afraid

Recognise you’re not a fan of flying and do it anyway. Because, as with many things worth doing in life, sometimes no matter what steps you take, the fear won’t ever fully go away and you may just have to do it afraid. So step on that plane and own that shit.

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