A travel and style blog

How I Travel With A Fear of Flying


Sandy beach in summer

Disclosure: When I say fear of flying, for me personally, it's more a fear of being trapped in a large tube with a number of strangers, no fresh air and the inability to get out if I want to.

Flying never used to bother me. I used to find it exciting, part of the holiday in a way. I don't know why things changed along the way but, it's safe to say it bothers me now. 

Maybe it just came with getting (ahem a little bit) older, or maybe its the after effect of a lingering stressful situation, back in yonder year, that threw my fight and flight out of whack? Anyone else conduct their own psychoanalysis? 

Whatever the reason, when I've flown in recent years, I've found myself ruminating on the thought, "If I want to get out of this plane I can't!" Cue dry mouth, palpitations and my next thought, "Is it too late to get off?"
After becoming somewhat of a flight risk myself (pun intended), I accepted that nonchalantly swanning on to a plane with over sized sunglasses and an array of Louis Vuitton suitcases was never going to be my thing. Leggings, liquor and a well packed rucksack however and I'm in!

Other than vowing to vacay in Skegness from here on in, the tips below have helped me cope with my flying fears. I've found that it's the little things that really make a big difference.

Plan Ahead

This might sound obvious, but when the very thought of something brings you out in a cold sweat, it's easy to push it to the back of your mind and out of your thoughts until you really have to face it. 
I'll just ignore the upcoming flight until I'm strapped in my seat with the urge to cry, helped no one ever. Get the flight booked and get the action plan ready. The sooner you face the fear the better.

Reserve Your Preferred Seats

If you can, try to reserve your preferred seats in advance. Personally I prefer to sit at the back of the plane. It's close to the WC, close to the door and it's nice being tucked away at the back. If you're prone to feeling like you can't breath on a flight, there's nothing worse than being seated slap bang in the middle of everyone.

When we booked tickets for our last flight, the back seats had already been reserved so we took our chances with random seating and, worse luck, weren't even sat together. A stranger next to you is NOT prepared to fiddle with your hair while you try your best to relax. 

n.b less alarming of course than being seated next to a stranger who IS prepared to fiddle with your hair while you try to relax.

Kalms

Kalms tablets are a traditional herbal remedy that can help to temporarily reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress. I start popping them (in-line with the instructions that is) a week before I fly. There's no noticeable feeling after taking them, so you don't need to worry about feeling spaced out or out of character. In fact the jury's still out on whether the placebo effect comes into play a bit here, but, how they work isn't the biggie for me with this one. I tried them, made no dash for the nearest exit and so I'll be taking them again.

n.b naturally, read the label before you take any tablets, herbal or not!

I know that Bach's Rescue Remedy is another popular herbal remedy but, unlike Kalms, there's a taste to it which I found I began to associate with feelings of worry. For me, it didn't help.

Pack Your Carry On Wisely

Make sure your hand luggage is well organised and is packed neatly. It helps to be able to easily find whatever you need quickly. There's nothing worse than unnecessary faff when you're trying your absolute best to remain calm and smile for an air port selfie, because yo gal is having a great time jetting off on her holidays and is NOT wondering if that V I Poo actually works.

Pack your own refreshing towelette, moisturising face spritz and comfy socks. Take the basic out of  your flight and bring your own first class touches. I'd draw the line at asking the stewardess to hand you your own hot towel. Just the Pringles please dahhhhling.

Listen To A Guided Meditation

Thanks to the wonderful world of You Tube there are so many audio meditations that you can access for free. A basic search for 'Meditations For A Fear Of Flying' will bring you lots of options that will help to comfort and relax you. Try a few, well before you fly, and find one that you like.
Try to listen to it every day in the run up to your flight, and have it on hand at the airport if you feel like you need it. I used this one here and swear by it.

If you find the meditation useful then I'd recommend splashing out just a few pounds and buying one to keep handy on your phone. You can listen to it on repeat, with or without wifi.

Start A Good Book At Home 

I don't expect any prizes for suggesting that you should read a book during your flight, but here's the top tip, start reading it at home before you travel. Get one or two chapters into the book in the comfort of your own home, and then pick up where you left off once you're settled into your flight. By starting the book at home, you'll have something to look forward to and will associate reading the book with feeling safe and comfortable.

Music


A must if you find that your mind is too active to concentrate on a book. I always make sure that I have songs that I've loved for years, and something new that I've been meaning to get round to listening to. I'll download a couple of new albums before I travel but save them for the plane. Something to look forward to amidst the cold sweats.

Wear Something Comfy

I mean something really comfortable. I'm not big on leggings these days but I'm not afraid to whip them out for a flight. Find your most pyjama like outfit and stick to it.
I usually go for leggings, t.shirts and a snuggly over sized jumper. Hoodies are best if you want to curl up in your seat and be relatively unrecognisable while you start chanting ohmmmmm and popping Kalms.

Colouring Isn't Just For Kids

I turned my nose up when adult colouring books came out, but then Oliver bought me one, for flights, and I swear by it. It's a game changer. Completely distracting without being too taxing for a worried mind, and highly therapeutic. If I can feel the worry start to bubble I'll crack on with my "art" and know that by three pictures in, I'll be a lot calmer and ready to have my work valued. 

Colouring book out, head phones in and ... 

... G.I.N

If all else fails Gin. Raise a toast to your jet setting self, by this point you probably deserve it.




I'm aware that the blue skies and turquoise seas of last summer might be somewhat unseasonable, (it's snowing as I write this) but I vote that it's time to start prepping. We'll be out of hiding before we know it and ready for that flight.

If you worry about flying yourself I hope that this post has helped you, even in a tiny way.

Thanks so much for reading. 

Love Elaine xx

2 comments

  1. God, I HATE flying. Even reading posts about how to conquer a fear of flying make me anxious, because they make me think about flying!
    What I hate the most is the feeling of being out of control (I'm a bit of a control freak tbh). If the plane started falling there'd be LITERALLY NOTHING I could do about it. My life is in someone else's hands and that makes me really uncomfortable.
    Planes are such weird things - metal tubes speeding through the air 30,000 feet up! I'm always astonished when we land safely.
    Nicola x
    http://nicshealthylife.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we all could charter private jets we’d be fine wouldn’t we :)
      That feeling when you land, the utter relief! Thanks for reading, and sorry if it made you feel anxious at the thought! xx

      Delete

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig