Growing up I was the child that wanted to go on holiday during every school holiday, like some of my friends. Except we were generally restricted to two holidays a year, once in summer and then again in Christmas. Jetting off to near by European cities and then on long haul flights to Africa every so often. Holidays always excited me, the feeling of escaping routine and finding myself in a different country surrounded sea, sand and sun. My three favourite S’s.
However, I had to experience something that I didn’t enjoy in order to get there. Yes… flying. Nobody could understand this fear of mine though, with my parents being avid travellers. I was on a plane whilst my mum was pregnant with me and I was next on a plane 6 months after being born. So why had I grown to have this fear of flying? My main issues were taking off, turbulence and landing which often meant that I was anxious and scared at at least three or four points during one flight. Not an ideal situation for myself or my parents.
I knew I had to get this fear out of me. If I was going to pursue all the travels I had dreamt of in my life, I had to make it an enjoyable experience. As a travel blogger and at the age of 22, I can definitely say I am now able to get on a flight without my parents and not have those moments of anxiousness I once did.
I’m going to help you do the same, sharing the tips that worked for me.
1. Do it often
I’m sure some of you are thinking…what? really? Yes. The more you fly, the more you get the used to the feeling that your stomach gives when you take off and land. Desensitisation at its best. Start with short haul flights first. Go to nearby European destinations that take an hour or less, so you don’t feel uncomfortable for too long.
2. Listen to music pre-flight
I used to work myself up in the airport lounges, when we were sitting waiting for our flight to be called for boarding. Feeling extremely unsettled, I couldn’t even sit still. Listening to my favourite music not only took my mind of it, it indirectly calmed my pre-flight nerves.
3. Suck on a hard boiled sweet
This is one of the tricks that helped me the most. My mum would always carry a packet of hard boiled sweets in her handbag because she would know I would need it. When planes landed, my ears used to pop like crazy. It not only caused me insane amounts of pain, it made me flying because of it. Sucking on a hard boiled sweet helps produce saliva and forces you to swallow. Thus, reducing the pressure on your ear drums.
4. Have a travel companion
My mum was mine, as I trusted her and she made me feel comfortable. My whole family knew I would need a seat next to my mum, as I would grab hold of her hand tightly with my eyes shut as we took off. The more I flew, the less I felt the need to hang on to her. However, it definitely helped the situation.
5. Pre-book an aisle seat
I used to always have to sit in the aisle, so I was able to get the attention of air hostess at all times. Also, the aisle seat allowed me to get up as often as I needed to walk up and down the plane without disturbing anyone. There is nothing worse than being confined between people when you’re already anxious about flying.
These are the five things that help me get over my fear of flying. I hope they can help you too.
Do you have any tips or stories about your fears of flying?
Until next time…