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Health Advice

Fear of Flying

Fear of flying is a common psychological problem among travellers; recent estimates suggest that between 10-40% of all travellers experience some kind of phobia. It helps to realise you are certainly not alone in this! All types of people, all ages, races and sexes, can develop a fear of flying, or this can be along standing fear that has been with them for some time. The good news is, there are small steps you can take to keep your fear under control.

Good planning is essential with any trip away, and not only will it help to keep you on top of things generally, it can also help with overcoming travel fears. Make sure you visit your doctor or nurse several weeks in advance before you travel. They should be able to give you handy tricks and tips on coping when you start to feel the fear setting in. And remember, a fear of flying is very common so don’t be embarrassed about seeking advice! Aside from the fear itself, make sure you are on top of everything else as stress will undoubtedly make you feel even more anxious. Make sure your passport is valid, you are aware of any vaccinations you may needs, and you have adequate insurance. All this will help to give you peace of mind.

Think about the day of departure itself. Do you know how long it will take to get to the airport? If not, try a trial run, and then pre book a taxi or other form of transport to the airport well in advance so this is something else you don’t need to worry about. Contact your airline is you require any special meals, if you have any allergies or if you are travelling with a wheelchair user. All this will help you to be as organised as possible for when the day of departure arrives, so you wont need to worry about anything else, and can instead think solely about keeping yourself calm and relaxed throughout your journey.

When you get to the airport, keep yourself as calm as possible. A good idea is to carry a book with you, so you can take your mind off the impending flight. You may want to write a letter, or in your diary; anything to keep you occupied before your flight arrives. You will find if you are waiting around with nothing to occupy yourself, you will become more and more anxious. Another idea is to take a portable CD or cassette with calming music to listen to while you are waiting.

Try to avoid excessive alcohol or drugs as a way of helping you to cope. Alcohol will not rid you of your fears and often exacerbates them. Alcohol and drugs may make you edgy and fidgety, thus making the trip uncomfortable and seem longer than it is. Also try to avoid excessive caffeine in tea, coffee or cola, as these can leave you irritable and unable to sleep. Stick to water. Of course, if you can calm yourself enough to sleep through your journey, this would benefit you the most.