I’ve been to Australia 3 times in the past 3 years. Each flight is roughly 12 hours. Add a layover and it can take up to 15. Many hours plus 35,000 feet extremely high above the Pacific, equal many minutes to panic and freak out over what could potentially happen before I’m on solid land again.
SEE ALSO: Why To Travel Is To Get Out Of Your Head
Prior to visiting Australia, I hadn’t been on a plane in nearly ten years. I know you’re judging me, but life got busy and I just didn’t have enough time to plan my next destination until I officially reached adulthood (not impressed so far).
A handful of trips abroad and thousands of miles later, I still hate flying and freak out on every single plane ride. Some people can tolerate flying, others find it exciting, and then there are people like me… Those who panic before even getting to the airport, calmly freak out through security, grip onto their arm rests for dear life when turbulence kicks in, and most importantly, count down the seconds until the wheels finally touch the runway.
It’s taken me some maturing and realistic thinking to slowly (but surely) warm up flying and its tedious process. If you have a fear of flying, trust me when I say you’re not alone. I’ve compiled a few tips to help put your mind at ease when flying.
1. PACK MELATONIN.
I can tell you first hand that if I ever took an anxiety pill on a plane, we would have to turn back around because it would make me panic even more. I’ve heard some weird horror stories about anxiety pills, and I would rather not take any sort of risk 7 miles above ground. This is why I always have melatonin handy. An all-natural alternative, this does the trick for me every single time I fly. I always buy the smallest milligram possible (1 mg), that way I can take a few throughout the ride if needed. It calms me down and puts me to sleep. Plus, melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally produce- so your body isn’t ingesting anything artificial or potentially addicting.
2. TALK TO THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS.
I have definitely been on some plane rides where the flight attendants aren’t the friendliest and are ready to get their shift over with. That being said, majority of the flight attendants are accommodating. Talk to them! It’s their job to ensure that you’re safe and well taken care of. On my most recent trip down under, I nervously chatted with one of the attendants, and she quickly reassured me she loved her job- then soon pointed to the “sick bag” incase I needed it. As embarrassed as I was, I knew she was doing her job well. A few hours into the flight, she asked if I was feeling better, as the sick bag was (thankfully) not put into use. She would smile at me periodically while passing down the aisles, and her warm grin made my flight so much smoother.
3. Remember how safe flying really is.
I know I know, this sounds totally contradictory since the whole reason why you’re scared of flying is because you’re up in the air with no turning back. As much as flying still remains a huge fear for many travelers, research some plane facts and you will be pleasantly surprised. Statistically, flying is the safest method of transportation. Yes, safer than driving, riding a bike with a helmet, and wearing kneepads while skateboarding. I can even verify this fact myself, considering I embarrassingly rear-ended a public bus yesterday. The turbulence and bumps are perfectly normal. This doesn’t mean something is wrong with the plane- I mean don’t forget you’re flying through clouds. Just compare it to driving over large bumps in the road; it’s inevitable, especially here in LA.
So, my fellow Jetsetters, if you’re soon traveling from state to state, or internationally, I hope these few pieces of advice will calm your nerves when it comes to flying. Just remember, right foot first once you get on the plane!
Photos: Blair Siegel
How do you get rid of your anxiety? Share with us in the comments.