8 Top Travel Tips to Beat the Fear of Flying
According to Business Insider, about 40% of travelers do not enjoy flying, and around 3 percent refuse to fly altogether. Somewhere between those figures are lots of people who have an inherent fear of flying to some degree, and avoid it if they can. If you're one in that category, your anxiety about flying should not keep you grounded forever, as there are many things you can do both to prepare for your flight, as well as manage your fears in flight.
There may be a number of reasons which contribute to your fear of flying. It can be due to a sole inherent fear or a combination of various factors.
And while its true that buying traveler insurance might make you feel secure in case of a mishap, most travelers who fear some or all aspects of flying, simply knowing the basics of the workings of the airplane can alleviate their anxiety.
1. Know the Plane
Knowledge is king when it comes to reducing your fears of flying. Knowing the particulars of how an airplane works will help your mind process things like turbulence, noises in the cabin, or changes in pressure. For example, did you know that turbulence rarely moves a plane more than a few meters up or down? Or that the statistics gained over millions of hours of air travel have shown that flying is the safest mode of transportation, and that in fact, the most dangerous part of your journey is driving too or from the airport? Or that even though most airplane manufacturers today like Boeing or Airbus have moved to twin-engine aircraft, as engine and software technology has advanced so far as to allow even large wide-body jets to fly with only one engine should the other fail?
2. Know what causes Turbulence
Along the theme of knowledge is king, knowing what those bumps are while your flying will help lower your flying fears.
Did you know that during most encounters with turbulence the plane only shifts up or down a few meters? And whereas its true that planes rarely encounter severe turbulence, when it does happen you'll be safe in your seat - as long as your seat belt is fastened tight.
3. Pick the Right Seat
If you have fears of flying, ask yourself if you'd feel more comfortable looking out a window from a window seat, being snuggled by two other passengers in a middle seat, or if an aisle seat appeals more to you.
Also keep in mind that seats in the middle of the plane tend to feel the effects of turbulence less than the back.
Take the extra time, or even spend a little more at the time of booking, to secure a seat that will help calm you during your flight.
4. Meet the Crew
If there is some time before your flight takes off, you can ask to meet the pilot or first officer of your plane. You can also spend a minute interacting with your flight attendant, who has seen it all and is trained to help you thru the process.
Meeting with the folks who have your safety in their hands can make your journey on the plane smooth and comfortable.
5. Practice Relaxation Exercises
Do you know that relaxation and meditation exercises play a very important role in reducing the fear of flying. You can imagine a beautiful and safe place by closing your eyes and focusing on this place.
On the other side, if allow yourself to keep thinking about what can go wrong with the plane, your mind will follow that track unless there is a distraction.
Read up on some meditative and breathing techniques you can practice while on your flight. These exercises also help you to imagine that the plane is landing safely every time you think of a disaster.
READ MORE: Tips to pack for your flight like a pro
6. Play Music
You can also listen to the music of your choice through headphones and closing your eyes. This practice helps you to calm your mind by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. You might also try listening to an audio book you like, as it will engage your mind and distract you during your flight.
7. Get help from a Professional
Fear of flying therapy sessions and workshops can also help you deal with the problem of anxiety with a professional. There are professionals specially trained to help you overcome your flying fears.
8. Focus on your Destination
Think of the wonderful spots that you are going to discover after you reach your destination (like Washington DCA, New York LGA, San Diego, or Seattle SEA just to name a few), or the time you will spend with friends or loved ones. This practice will increase your excitement and distract your mind with positive thoughts.
These are a few tricks to get you on the flight and to reach your destination comfortably. But the best remedy to get through the fear of flying is to expose it.