Now that Covid restrictions have finally lifted, you might be starting to think about your next trip abroad.
But after two years of lockdowns and uncertainty, the thought of jumping on a plane and jetting off to a new city might feel more nerve-wracking than it used to.
The pandemic has, understandably, made more of us anxious about travelling. In fact, a recent survey even found that 28% of Brits are now nervous about boarding a plane – when they weren’t before.
Given that we spent the best part of two years stuck at home – it isn’t a surprise that the thought of going further afield is making us nervous. And travel has got a bit more complicated, what with fit-to-fly certificates, vaccine passes and the different Covid tests you need depending on where you’re going.
But we don’t want to miss out on our new-found freedom because of fear.
Thankfully, the travel experts at ParkSleepFly have compiled five useful tips, with the help of psychologist and wellbeing consultant Lee Chambers, to help ease your nerves when flying and to help you cope with pre-holiday anxieties.
Prepare distractions for the flight
If you’re nervous about flying, then before boarding your flight, practice breathing exercises and mindful physical activities – as these are simple yet powerful ways to reduce anxiety.
‘It can also be useful to utilise healthy distractions, especially things that help you get into the flow, whether it be games, music or creative activities’, says psychologist Lee Chambers.
Confront your surroundings
A great starting point for tackling your nerves is to confront your surroundings. Reducing plane noises can be beneficial for some people and moving your body allows you to release any built-up tension.
‘Positive, realistic thoughts can also help,’ says Lee. ‘Perhaps think of the hundreds of safe flights that take off and land every minute, and believe in the fact that you can handle your nerves with techniques and support.’
Talk to the flight attendants
Communicating with those around you may also relieve some anxiety. As the old adage goes – a problem shared is a problem halved.
‘Sharing your feelings with those you are sitting near or staff can feel a little scary,’ says Lee, ‘but it ensures you have support on hand and you are not worrying about what others may think.’
Make a realistic plan
Holidays are expensive and we tend to set high expectations as we want to make the most of our time away.
You won’t be able to control every aspect of your holiday and acknowledging that things are uncertain can sometimes allow you to manage the stresses of travelling.
Lee suggests we should set realistic expectations, get organised, and manage your safety to keep stress levels down.
‘We all know the feeling of the stress when going on holiday, before finally arriving and just letting it flow away,’ says Lee. ‘It is often a disruption to our routine, and knowing this can help us to feel less stressed about the unknown.’
Visualise yourself on holiday
‘If you do start to get anxious about your holiday going ahead, seek calming activities, and visualise yourself enjoying your break,’ says Lee.
He adds that it’s also important to ensure you make the preparations to keep yourself safe and have your important items and documents to hand. This will make you feel like you are doing everything in your power to limit and risks.
‘Finally, have some compassion for yourself,’ adds Lee. ‘It has been a very challenging two years and the reward of travelling is something we should cherish.’