Flying off to foreign lands and exploring faraway places can be an incredibly enriching experience at any age – but many of us avoid booking a holiday because we’re held back by fear.
If you’re fearful of flying or anxious about exploring a country where you don’t speak the language, you’re not alone; it’s perfectly natural to have some apprehension before you head off, but with a few tips and tricks you can conquer your fears and enjoy the adventures that await beyond them.
- Get there early – Feeling rushed is the last thing you want on a busy day of travel. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport or to complete your journey and allow for mishaps like traffic, long lines as well as time to get some food and drink and find your departure gate.
- Organise your travel – Even experienced travellers sometimes forget to consider how to get from the airport or train station to the hotel. Take some time to work out the details of your travel – what terminal you need to check in at and how to get from the airport to the city you’re visiting. Booking a car or taxi in advance to pick you up from the arrivals gate can help make the transition from the airport to your hotel as smooth as possible – larger hotels and resorts often offer a complementary shuttle service as part of your stay.
- Book assistance – If mobility is a concern for you, consider booking special assistance to help you get through the airport. This is also a good idea if you’re travelling alone and are nervous about finding your way around once you’re in the airport. You can book special assistance through your airline or with the airport you’re travelling from; larger airports like London Heathrow also offer an Airport Concierge service where someone will meet you at the check in desk and guide you through security and boarding.
- Break up the journey – Long travel days can be exhausting, and if you’re travelling far from home it might be worthwhile breaking up the journey over several days or into smaller chunks throughout one day, for example taking two shorter flights instead of a longer one. You’ll be able to stretch, have a break and rest so you don’t feel too exhausted when you reach your final destination.
- Choose a trusted companion – Travelling with someone you trust can make the experience a lot more enjoyable for you. Bringing along a friend or family member to help you complete the journey and navigate the destination when you get there can help you make the most of your holiday. If you don’t have anyone to travel with, you could also look into hiring a professional travel companion. Your companion will arrange all your travel details, keep you company on board, and help get you to your final destination, whether it’s a hotel or a family member’s home overseas.
- Get your bearings – Taking the time to get your bearings when you arrive in a new place will help you feel more comfortable. Take some time to speak to a hotel concierge in the mornings or look over a map before you leave to go exploring for the day.
- Try noise cancelling headphones – The noise from the airplane can be disruptive to our sense of calm when we travel. A pair of noise cancelling headphones can help drown out the noise around you and listening to familiar music can also help keep you calm.
- Make an airplane itinerary – Having something to do is essential to keep calm if you are an anxious flyer. Consider the length of the journey and how you’d like to fill the time – almost all major airlines make it easy to find out what in-flight entertainment will be available on the day of your flight. Make sure your electronics are charged and that you have plenty of reading material and other puzzles and games to keep you busy while in the air.
- Choose your seat wisely – The right seat can make all the difference when on board. If turbulence bothers you, choose a seat near the wings of the plane; sitting near the centre of gravity helps minimise the feeling of being jostled around. If you find you get stiff on a long flight, consider paying a little more for a seat with extra legroom. Large aircrafts often have a level-up from cabin class with more leg room for much less than the cost of a first-class or business-class ticket. If you want to know the best seats on your particular aircraft, services like seat guru will show you the best seats as rated by other passengers.
Do you have any tips for nervous travellers?