Travel Tips

How to deal with flight anxiety whilst travelling

I love travelling and exploring new destinations across the world and getting on a plane is part of the journey. I never really struggled with flight anxiety until I had a bad experience during my last trip through South America. It completely changed my mindset and it made me feel uneasy boarding a plane ever since.

But if you enjoy travelling as much as I do, it’s going to be difficult to avoid flying, so I’ve asked 3 travel bloggers to share their tips and tricks how to deal with flight anxiety.

Struggling with flight anxiety too? Find out how others deal with it below…

Ever since 2010, after a bad take-off experience, I have been afraid of flying. The anxiety has grown with every flight I had to board, getting to the point when I would start crying days before having to fly. I have tried a lot of remedies, I even ended up at the doctor who gave me anti-anxiety pills to overcome my fear of flying. It was a nightmare (it still is, considering I fly about once a month).

I wish to say that I have found a miracle solution to my flight anxiety. During the years I have developed a routine, a series of things that I have to do every time the plane takes off so that I calm down. The first step was to learn about flying, about the plane and about the weather. I can tell what every noise of the plane is and I can read a turbulence map (which I consult before the flight). I found that having a short conversation with the flight attendants about the weather conditions, while waiting in line for the passengers in front of me to move, calms me down. I let them know that I am afraid of flying and I try to be brave. Breathing exercises at take-off are always very important for me and help my heart beats under control.

On long haul flights I like to get myself as tired as possible and then drink 2 or 3 glasses of wine sort of fast, after dinner is served. This helps me fall asleep. I also like to have the map with the path of the flight on the screen, because even if sleeping, I still open my eyes from time to time to check where we are.

~ Joanna from The World In My Pocket

Plane view over Brazil

I’ve written about getting over flight anxiety at some length, and whilst I wouldn’t say I have a full-blown phobia of flying, I certainly don’t enjoy it very much. (Every time I get off a long-haul flight, I vow “never again”. Which obviously doesn’t last long). Most of my flight issues essentially stem from travel sickness, but as anyone who suffers from this knows, this is enough in itself to make you feel panicky!

My advice would be to have a little bag of supplies that’s small enough for you to keep by your feet or on your lap – things that will take your mind off the flight, or help to dispel any flight-induced nausea. For me, this means always having a bottle of water, chewing gum and salt and vinegar crisps (I can’t quite explain the last one – it just helps!). I’ll also try and listen to music as a further distraction, and my absolute top tip for anyone who gets a bit queasy is to sit by a window and look at the horizon. It works just as well in a plane as on a boat (provided it’s not pitch black!) and can really help with any feeling of sickness. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe!

The Travel Realist

View over South Coast of UK

Flying isn’t fun for anyone, it’s always freaked me out but for me, it’s all a mental game. I’m fortunate to have travelled since I was a child and can remember being nervous and anxious since then. It isn’t always easy now that I’ve grown up either. But I’ve been able to overcome the severe anxiety and relax by controlling my mental viewpoint of travel in general.

I’m a travel addict, I want to see the world and I want to experience as much as I can. This is only possible if I fly. As soon as I convinced myself that without that flight (as miserable as they can be) I couldn’t accomplish my travel goals, I began to set my mind right and view it more like a necessary evil that I could overcome.

Before a flight I have to give myself some positive reinforcement and tell myself “I got this”. I try not to think about being in the air enclosed in a flying tin can and think about the trip itself. The more excited about the journey ahead the less nervous I become. I also make sure I’m really sleepy before a flight. I usually pack last minute so this works particularly well for my early morning flights. In the airport I’ll have some decaf tea right before we board because that helps set me up for sleep as well. It’s never easy to sleep on a plane but I’ve developed a routine. Take off and landing are always the hardest parts though and that’s when I’m usually awake unfortunately. So those times are when I close my eyes, hold my husbands hand and visualize all of the amazing things I’m headed for that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without that miserable flight.

~ Alison from Travel Tribe Worldwide

Did you ever had a bad experience whilst on a plane? How are you dealing with flight anxiety? Tell us in the comments section below!​

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Struggling with flight anxiety? Find out how other travel addicts deal with flight anxiety in this post.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Trippin' Turpins (kelly)
    18. March 2018 at 9:59 am

    I use to love flying! I probably went on a trip less than once a year. I flew alone as a child. I wanted to be a fighter pilot LOL. My favourite part was take off. In the last four years my flying has quadrupled – no even more! And all of a sudden I find that the take offs scare the absolute sh*t out of me. I feel sick and my hands sweat. I have this feeling like the tail of the plane will hit the ground when it takes off. I had an air force pilot assure me that can’t happen. I’m still trying to overcome this. Thank you for this post!

  • Reply
    Tracy
    15. March 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I had a very scary experience on a flight over 30 years ago and there have been times since when I have simply refused to fly. I tend to get through those periods somehow probably due to my overwhelming need to travel.

    When we fly now I avoid anything over 6/7 hours and try to break up longer journeys.

    I have tried pills and potions and find that they can help with the anxiety. I find out what I can about the weather before I fly. I fly for work now too so I just have to suck it up and do it. I have to have a watch on me then I count down the time…. I have 6 flights in the next 3 weeks so it’s going be a stressy time!

  • Reply
    Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)
    14. March 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Fear of flying is a real thing. Glad you put this out there to help people with this collaboration on good tips that help. I do not experience this but being a pilot myself I understand more about the weather, the way plane moves, and noises one hears while flying. Great article. #feetdotravel

    • Reply
      Sina
      17. March 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks Stephanie! I wish I had all the insider knowledge of a pilot. I think this would calm me down a lot 🙂

  • Reply
    California Globetrotter
    11. March 2018 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve never had flight anxiety as I practically grew up flying to and fro back and forth between parents, but my last few flights have been rather bumpy and scared me a bit. I really shouldn’t have read this post this week as I’m flying to England on Saturday! eeck! #FeetDoTravel

    • Reply
      Sina
      13. March 2018 at 9:25 pm

      I was the same, I never really felt anxious on the plane but after having a bad experience it changed my mindset. Luckily, it gets better with every flight. It really helps me to think about what is ahead of me once I get off the plane. Have a safe trip and enjoy your time in England 🙂

  • Reply
    Travel Lexx
    11. March 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I am really not a fan of flying – I love going to the airport, being at the airport and the whole excitement of going somewhere. But I do get pretty anxious on the plane – I don’t mind the landing too much but taking off is the worst and any turbulence still worries me. It’s weird because I’ve travelled so much and flying isn’t something that I think about when I book my trips but when I am in the air, I certainly am not at my most comfortable! Great tips and interesting read. I am not alone!!

    • Reply
      Sina
      17. March 2018 at 11:18 pm

      I’m the same – I love booking flights and the whole experience before boarding the plane but starting to feel anxious at take off. Luckily, it has never kept me off going somewhere. Glad you enjoyed the post and hope it will help you to feel more comfortable on planes!

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    11. March 2018 at 3:47 pm

    I thankfully don’t have flight anxiety, but I do have a crazy fear of heights. I hate that it controls me and I refuse to let it. I force myself out of my comfort zone and the more I push myself, the easier it gets. I can sympathize with phobia. These are great suggestions to over come or at least make it easier. #FeetDoTravel

    • Reply
      Sina
      12. March 2018 at 9:24 pm

      I agree, I think that’s the best thing you can do otherwise that fear will take over and you will miss out on things you actually enjoy. I’ve been one a plane quite a few times since I have had that bad experience and it definitely got better. Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenn
    10. March 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I also get flight anxiety. I once read something I found very helpful… That when you experience turbulence on an airplane, it is no different than a car going over bumps on a dirt road. I always try to keep that in mind when traveling by plane and it has been very helpful to ease my nerves!

    • Reply
      Sina
      12. March 2018 at 9:16 pm

      That’s a good way to see it – thanks for sharing Jenn 🙂

  • Reply
    Shona
    10. March 2018 at 8:47 am

    I do feel for people with flight anxiety, I’m fortunate not to experience it. I have sat next to people who have a fear of flying though so understand but I always consider it to be safer than driving a car. Having a pilot for a husband helps too for the inside info. 🙂

    • Reply
      Sina
      12. March 2018 at 9:31 pm

      That’s true, when I feel anxious I keep reminding myself that it’s actually safer than driving a car but I think it’s that feeling of helplessness which sometimes makes it hard. Haha, I wish I had the inside info of a pilot 😀

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