Flying for the first time can be daunting and quite nerve-wracking especially if it’s your first time. Even though statistics prove that flying is much safer than driving, it can still be stressful. Whether it be because of anxiety, a fear of heights, or claustrophobia, flying can be scary for just about anyone. Here are some tips and tricks to help ease your mind for your next flight!
In order to allow yourself enough time to get familiar with the airport and a chance to figure things out, it is best to arrive early. Since there is quite a process to go through before you are ready to board the plane, try to arrive at least three hours early for an international flight and two hours for domestic flights.
Customize Your Luggage
If your luggage happens to be a generic color such as black or brown, consider adding things onto your suitcase such as ribbons, stickers, and bright colored luggage tags to make it easier to spot on the luggage carousel. Luggage tags are also a great thing to have in case your luggage is lost. You can write down all your personal information on it such as your full name, address, and phone number which will make it easier for airline staff to track you down if your luggage is lost.
To ensure that you do not miss your flight, aim to go directly to your gate and sit and wait there. If you must, try going to any restaurants, shops, bathrooms, etc that are close to your boarding gate. This will keep you from wandering too far from your gate and getting lost, especially if it’s a bigger airport. Be sure to also pay close attention to the screens that are typically found near each gate as they will display gate numbers that are closing within 20-30 minutes.
Once all the passengers have boarded the plane and are seated, the cabin crew will proceed to go through a safety briefing. Listen carefully to what is being said as there is lots of useful information that is given to you. The flight attendants will inform you on what to do in an emergency and the location of the safety exit which will help ease your mind a bit.
Taking off can be quite scary especially for your first time, as it was for me. When the plane starts taxiing down the runway in preparation for take off, consider distracting yourself by pulling out a magazine or having a conversation with the people seated near you. If heights scare you, you can also close the little curtain on the window to avoid seeing the ground get further and further away.
Don’t Be Scared Of Turbulence
Though experiencing turbulence can be quite nerve-wracking, try to remember that there really isn’t anything there. Turbulence is only caused by the plane flying over pockets of air and it’s a normal part of flying. While flying try to treat turbulence as if you’re going over a bump in the road with a car. Don’t fight it or tense up and just let your body sway with the movements.
Bring Chewing Gum
When flying, the cabin of the plane will become pressurized, causing your ears to pop. Though this doesn’t hurt your ears, it can be quite uncomfortable. Bring some gum with you in your carry-on bag and be sure to chew a piece to help alleviate the discomfort.
Wear Sensible Shoes
Comfortable, sensible shoes are not only a good idea for running through the airport to your gate but it also helps save time at security. All passengers are required to remove their shoes when going through security. Consider wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off to avoid holding up the line.
Keep Your Essentials Close
Most airlines will allow passengers to bring two bags onto the plane, a carry on suitcase as well as a smaller personal item such as a purse or a book bag. At times it may be more difficult for you to be able to remove items from your carry on stored in the overhead bin so make sure to pack your essentials such as cosmetics, headphones, snacks, magazines, and whatever else you may need into your personal bag that you can store under your seat for easier access.
Pack Extra Clothes
Always try to pack an extra outfit into your carry on bag especially if you are checking in a bigger bag. This will allow you to freshen up if need be when you land and it will also be a lifesaver if your luggage is lost. It could take up to a few days to get your luggage back if it is lost so having a change of clothes will ensure that you won’t need to wear the same dirty clothes for beginning of your vacation.
Always make copies of all your important travel documents such as boarding passes and your passport and pack them in different bags. This will help you recover your items and still be able to fly if ever your bags are lost or stolen. When you arrive at your hotel or wherever you are staying at, make sure to leave copies of those documents in your hotel room as well.
Brace For Landing
Landing can be one of the scariest parts of flying for the first time and depending on many factors such as weather, it will either be a smooth or rough landing. Noises such as grinding or thudding are to be expected the closer you get to landing. The noises aren’t anything to be alarmed about though and are just the sounds of the plane’s wheels getting into position for landing.
Book Daytime Flights ( when possible )
When possible, try booking flights during the day. The feeling of being closed into a tiny space tends to be worse in the darkness of the night. Flying during the day can help lessen this fear and calm your anxiety.
Make Friends With The Flight Attendants
If you’re a nervous flyer, don’t be scared to let the flight attendant know how you’re feeling. Since they are so accustomed to flying, they will be able to help calm your nerves and reassure you if need be.
For nervous flyers, avoid coffee and any other overly caffeinated drinks, as they only help to increase your anxiety. It is a good idea, however, to drink lots of water on the plane as dehydration helps contribute to your feeling of fear.
What are some of your tips and tricks to help first time flyers or nervous flyers in general? Leave them in the comments below.