You CAN Travel in Spite of Your Fear of Flying

Did your significant other take a job across country? Is there a job event in a different city? Or are you invited on a stunning holiday you would love to join in on? Sometimes you really need to be somewhere, and flying is faster, yet terrifying.

The fear of flying is a real phobia that affects almost 25 percent of Americans, who are afraid to fly. Fortunately, there are ways to squash your fear of flying and travel to see the world, your friends, or your significant other.

Traveling in spite of fear of flying

Accept Your Anxiety and Get Support

Accept your anxiety, rather than feeling ashamed or embarrassed about it. Talk with those who are experiencing similar fears.

There are many fear-of-flying forums on the internet to form a peer support group with others who truly understand what you’re going through. They are able to help you better discover your triggers and learn the source of your anxiety.

Many people are afraid to seek help for fear of flying, because it feels embarrassing, or it’s thought that there are people out there with worse fears and traumas. Many are able to overcome their fear of flying with help from a therapist. It’s okay to seek help.

Learn About How Planes Work

Ease your anxiety by learning about planes. By doing so you address your worries with compassion and rationalization.

If your anxiety trigger is turbulence, download the SOAR app, which measures G-forces to track turbulence. From .8 to 1.2 G’s is similar to that of a moving elevator. If it’s an issue of control, if you release your need for control to the pilot, your fear may decrease.

Many airlines have programs to help their patrons overcome flying fears by teaching them about the mechanics of flight and how planes stay in the air. You can also take flight instruction courses to learn more, or pick up a book at a local bookstore.

Make the Process of Flying Easier

Booking your tickets, being on time and dealing with security lines is more to think about and worry about, when you’re already afraid. Lower the effects of your fear by taking care of these things ahead of time, to make the process of flying easier:

  • It’s easier and more affordable to book tickets one to four months in advance, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, specifically. Look for flights between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Fewer people onboard will help you feel more relaxed, too.
  • If possible, pack everything in a carry on. That way you can be on and off the plane quickly. The bonus is that you also move more quickly through security lines.
  • Arrive at least two hours early before your flight, to adjust to any changes and take time to breathe before you take off.

These are things you are able to control and be prepared for in advance of the flight. Following this advice will also help to ease your fears of flying, by showing your commitment to overcoming your anxiety.

Avoid Coffee and Alcohol

If you’re already a little nervous, both coffee and alcohol amplify your anxiety because they are stimulants. They raise your heart rate, and make the body work harder to circulate your blood. Lower your levels of anxiety by avoiding caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants.

Use Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques work to shift your focus away from your worries and also calm your heart rate. They may be practiced while waiting to board or on the flight itself. Try the following tips to overcome flying fears by therapists:

  • Try the Over Energy Correction technique: Cross your left ankle over your right. Extend your arms, the back of your hands facing each other. Place your right hand over your left. Clasp your fingers. Fold your arms and hands in to your body to rest on your chest, beneath your chin. Place your tongue behind your teeth against the roof of your mouth, and breathe deeply for at least a full minute.
  • While in flight, consider lowering the shade. It may make you feel more connected to the plane, but some need to look out the window to not lose their sense of equilibrium and see the plane is still in the air. The shade will hide the height of the plane, or show you the reality that you’re okay.

Breathing and visualization exercises are great to lower anxiety. Consider bringing an adult coloring book to also redirect your focus.

Fear of flying is aviophobia, which includes fear of heights and not being in control. Sitting in a chair in the sky is not an exaggerated fear, but it is a fear that can be squashed with acceptance, learning and determination.

Kacey Mya HeadshotAbout the author: Kacey Mya Bradley is a regular contributor to and a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Find & Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

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  • Thanks for including information about SOAR. I’m very proud to have developed the most advanced treatment for flight phobia. In doing so, noting and understanding the limitations of the pre existing method was a first step. So I would caution readers to have prudent expectations about relaxation, breathing, and distraction as a method for controlling anxiety. These may work if the flight is smooth but when turbulence starts stress hormones are released as a knee-jerk response which these measures cannot prevent. To deal with turbulence the mind needs to be trained to inhibit the release of stress hormones.

  • This is a great article for those that are fearful of flying!

    Check out the latest post l xoxo, Redhura

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Anneliese! 🙂