In four weeks time I will be heading to Medina Sidonia in Spain for four days of peace and sun, but being a nervous flyer I wanted to share with you my best advice to avoid the stress that triggers the flying anxieties.
I love travelling, exploring new places, new adventures, that’s what life’s about but when you suffer terrible travel sickness and are a nervous flyer you tend to hold yourself back and ultimately miss out.
I was 18 when I got on my very first flight, I was so excited, it was my first holiday with friends and abroad, we were heading for the beautifully sunny Portugal. Everything so was so exciting heading towards the airport, when we got to the airport going through security can be a nervy experience but it didn’t dampen my mood, it wasn’t until I was on the plane watching the safety routine that I switched. It’s like someone or something had taken control of my body, my lungs tightened up restricting my breathing, my temperature soared, I felt like I was in a sauna, I had become overwhelmed with the fear that I was going to die and I sobbed my heart out. My friends didn’t know what to do, everyone was freaked, my ex had got the attention of an air stewardess for a sick bag and he told me to use the bag to help me breath , put earphones with music top volume in my ears and positioned my head between my knees. Once the plane was in the air, I calmed down and had what I can only describe as an emotional hangover, I was completely fine for the rest of the journey.
Two years after I decided to take a leap and head to Portugal again, this time I prepared myself with mints, an iPod and a book, except this time it hit me whilst we were queuing to board the plane except the dramatics wasn’t as intense, I switched, without actually realising what I was doing I had dropped all of my possessions and just ran, next thing I knew I was vomiting in the airport toilets.
I had an intense fear of take off, that is the only part of the journey that triggers me so I had to find myself a routine to avoid the dramatics of a public meltdown. So here are my tips on how to keep calm and relaxed prior to flying.
1. List and pack days before.
Sounds excessive but try to pack a week beforehand, list everything that you will need. I always start with toiletries, I have a beauty box were I store all of the bathroom and toiletries gifted to me at Christmas, they are always travel size so perfect for travelling, I always have duplicates of my toiletries so I don’t have to worry about packing last minute bits such as toothbrushes and deodorants. Only thing that needs to be packed on travel day is my make up. Plan your outfits, being a indecisiveness female this is so HARD but has to be done, I plan my outfits to avoid un-necessary stress and it allows me to pack smartly so I have plenty of room to bring back new clothes and duty free bargains.
2. Morning flights
When I get to the airport I need to plan it out so all stress is avoided so I always aim to book morning flights and stay in a hotel by the airport the night before. This avoids the stress of travelling and ensuring you get to the airport on time, you can just wake up, have that most important coffee of the day, stroll out of the hotel and into the airport all calm and ready for check in and security. Don’t leave it too late to get to the airport, give yourself time to grab something to eat and drink so when you get onto the plane you’re hydrated and have a happy belly!
3. Be open with your travel companions.
If you’re travelling with family or friends make them aware of your anxieties, when I’m on the plane, actually thinking about it I’m the same in any form of transport, I’m not a chatter, I keep to myself, listen to music and/or read a book. I’m not being intentionally anti-social, I need to be this way to avoid the anxiety and sickness but I always inform anyone I travel with so they can be understanding. I often find being open and honest with your travel anxieties and what works for you, you will find most of the time they will understand and compromise with you in terms of arrangements and expenses.
4. Travel in comfort
Lately there has been a lot of hype online about fashion sites now having ‘airport’ inspiration, everyone has been ‘YAAASSS we need this’…..no, we don’t. Flying is not a fashion show, do not feel pressured that you have to look your finest, go for comfort. I always opt for a casual look, I either opt for a tracksuit or the jeans and jumper combo with converse.
5. Check in online.
Avoid the queues of snotty people who have packed their entire house and the demon children by checking in online, this saves so much time and hassle, print your paperwork off anyway to avoid the annoying mobile scanner “please zoom in ….oooh thats to big now, oh can you pop your password in again…” and finally be prepared for security. Have your liquids in the clear bag ready when you pack and avoid wearing any jewellery or belts with metal buckles so you can breeze through security. This is a super odd one but avoid clothing with the foil glitter, this triggers the scanners, a old friend of mine got pulled into a security room for extra checks as her jumper kept setting the scanner off.
Don’t let your fears control your life, I hope you find this advice helpful.