Preparing for travel can be nerve-wracking, no matter how seasoned a traveler you are (that's why we put together this list of airports to avoid if you hate flying.) There are logistics to cover, plans to make, and responsibilities to handle before taking off. Combine that with the fear of flying or worrying about safety in a new place, and it’s no wonder why most travelers experience amped up stress levels before taking off.
It is common to have pre-flight jitters, especially when traveling on your own or for an extended period of time. Whatever the reason, you can combat anxiety with these 8 tips for keeping calm when traveling.
8 Easy Tips For Staying Calm During Travel
1. Combat Fear With The Facts
It’s important to remember that statistically speaking, air travel remains an extremely safe way to travel. Brush up on the reasons why turbulence is nothing to be afraid of. With this in mind, redirect your attention towards what you are excited to do and see on your trip!
2. Try an App
These days, there’s an app for everything, and that includes anti-anxiety. There are several apps available on iPhone and Android, including Virgin Atlantic Airline’s Flying Without Fear. They help by diverting your focus and help you practice soothing breathing.
3. Get Distracted
Do a Sudoku puzzle, peruse pictures in a trashy magazine, or reminisce about the crazy things you never wished you had from the now-defunct SkyMall. Anything to get your mind off the fact that you’re flying through the air in a metal vehicle weighing a few hundred tons. Not helping? Remember how safe airplanes are!
4. Breathing Techniques
Controlled breathing may seem like an obvious solution, but it remains the quickest way to cut through in the moment panic is happening. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. It’s a soothing practice that doctors even recommend to resolve full-blown panic attacks.
5. Avoid Stimulants
Leading up to your flight, avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks. This can over-stimulate your already nervous state. Make sure to drink plenty of water to counter the dehydrating effect of the pressurized cabin on the plane (dehydration can exacerbate stress levels).
6. Hone In On Your Fear
Find out what you are specifically afraid of when it comes to traveling. Is it the flight? The unknown? Or something you read about travel in general? If you can identify what makes you nervous, you are better equipped to deduce whether your fears are justified or not. That way, you will either take necessary precautions to stay safe, or you can shine a light on the more irrational worries.
7. Remember It Will Pass
Dr. Wehrenberg, a licensed clinical psychologist and author, has worked with plenty of patients who suffer anxiety about flying. She told SmarterTravel that it’s important to “recognize that panic will pass. A panic attack (usually) doesn’t last for more than a few minutes. Then it wanes.” Bringing this realization to the forefront of your mind will help put what you’re feeling in perspective.
8. Get Comfortable
Create a playlist ahead of time with music that calms you down. The headphones will block out your surroundings and the music will help take you to another place in your mind. Bring a neck pillow, blanket, eye shades, or anything else that relaxes you personally and makes you feel at home. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you will be. Now look at all that uninterrupted time for resting you have to look forward to!
This article was written by Lauren Riley.