Sunday, 17 July 2016

Tips for Nervous Flyers.

I'm actually writing this while sat some 30,000ft in the air, on my way from Perth to Singapore. For someone that does a heck of a lot of travelling, you'd think I'd find flying a lot easier than I do. It never used to bother me, it would play on my mind a bit before the flight, but I'd soon be over it and be asleep before the plane even took off, only to wake up to someone prodding me, telling me we'd landed and that it was time to pack up my stuff. Now that I'm older and my anxiety has gotten worse, I find flying just that little bit more scary. I think it's the build up of it and generally over-thinking things. It's not the turbulence that bothers me, or being with strangers (I'm that annoying person that'll spend the whole flight talking to you, if you let me), I think it's the thought of being trapped, being in an accident and just the fact that planes are weird. Metal cylinders that somehow stay up in the air? Okay. Totally normal. But with the amount of flights I've been on in my life, especially in the last year (flying from London to Australia takes a bloody long time), I've slowly been finding ways to cope with it, so thought I'd share some of them with you...

  • Travel Sickness Pills: Preferably the non-drowsy kind, unless you struggle to sleep on planes, in which case, knock yourself out (both metaphorically and literally). I don't actually get travel sick but, because I'm not a massive fan of sick, I think these just make put me that little bit more at ease. It's become more of a ritual than anything else. 
  • Water and Snacks: I cannot get on a plane without a bottle of water. Like the travel sickness tablets, buying a bottle as soon as I'm through security has become a bit like a ritual to me. I always buy sweets to suck on, like Fruit Pastels or Polos, as they give me something to concentrate on (just try not to choke on them when your journey gets a little bumpy... Been there, done that, got the t-shirt). Buying your own means you're also less likely to spend the entire journey staring lustfully at the pack of maltesers the person next to you brought along with them too. 
  • Travel with someone you trust: There are two sides to me when I get nervous: there's the one that just rambles on about anything and everything when I get nervous, and the other which just wants to sit in silence and have the comforting presense of someone I know well. Sometimes someone just being there is enough.
  • Headphones, headphones, headphones (and Spotify): The main reason I purchased Spotify premium is because of all the time I spend on flights. My headphones are in my ears the minute I reach my gate, and don't come out until we land on the tarmac at the other end. They take me to a safe place when we hit turbulence as they help me zone out and keep my mind on other things. Keeping noisy passangers and screaming babies out is another obvious bonus. 
  • Download movies or tv shows and make sure everything is charged:  If I know there aren't going to be any power sockets on a flight, I make sure to also sit myself near one in the airport so that everything is fully charged, especially when travelling on short haul flights, where there are no power sockets, ready for the flight ahead. If you're on a flight where you know there aren't going to be any movies or tv shows available, then I'd recommend downloading one to your laptop or tablet. Make sure it's something that you wouldn't mind the person sat next to you seeing! I tend to keep my phone charging via the USB port on my laptop throughout the flight so that I have enough battery on the other side. Something else I do on flights is write blog posts (like right now!). You obviously more often than not don't have access to internet, so I save all my blog ideas into a word document and then start writing once up in the air. It makes time go so much quicker, especially when everyone else is fast asleep beside you and there's no one to talk to. (Note: On the flight to Singapore, I wrote ten or eleven posts. Everyone complained about how long the flight took, whereas I thought it whizzed by!)
  • Wear comfy clothes and your favourite perfume: I always make sure to lather myself in my favourite perfume at Duty Free, just to give me that sense of added comfort. I'll never be caught looking as glamorous as Blake Lively on a plane (though I did recently find out through someone that was on a plane with her that she gets on in comfy clothes and then changes in the airport toilets once she's landed). You'll find me in my cosiest, over-sized jumper (I get very cold on planes. Can't there be a heating option instead of air-conditioning?), tracksuit bottoms, a huge scarf to wrap myself up in and fluffy socks so that I can take my shoes off as soon as I'm on the plane. 
  • Prebook your seat: No one wants to sit in the middle, everyone wants the window or aisle. Take your pick, even if it means paying that little bit extra!
  • TALK: if you're feeling particularly nervous, talk to the crew. They're used to flights and have probably been in a few sticky situations, so they should be able to calm your nerves. Don't be upset or annoyed at yourself for being scared, it's only natural!

What are your tips for nervous fliers?
Let me know in the comments below!

*As you know, I'm now back from Singapore.
This post was written a few weeks ago!*