mental health, travel

Preparing For Travel When You Have Anxiety


Anxiety can make travel seem so ridiculously scary. Even for someone who doesn’t normally have anxiety. But, you can also feel this anxiousness even if you’re excited. I’m counting down the days until I’m in Florida but, the anxiety of flying is creeping up on me. So, I did my flying research, and even have a few tips of my own for being away. 

Know the facts about flying

1. The dangerous taxi

I’ll get this part out of the way right now. When the plane is driving around on the ground, that’s the most dangerous part. This comforts me because we’re still on the ground. 

2. Dang, it’s windy

Ever fly and feel so certain that the turbulence is going to knock you right out of the air? Well, don’t be so scared anymore! I had a flight attendant tell me once that turbulence is just like your car being pushed around by wind on a freeway. It’s totally cool. It’s completely normal, no matter how many ups and downs there are. 

3. Sit with the cool kids 

The back of the plane is where you’ll find the most noise because of the engines. But, if you feel like being social will distract you enough, sit here. In my experience it’s where all the cool people sit and I love it. 

4. Smooth ride

If turbulence is something you just can not handle (I’ve been there) then sit on the wing of the plane. Not literally, that’d be kinda difficult. Bad joke. Anyway! You’ll have a much smoother ride sitting on the wing, a plane is like a see-saw, the middle kinda stays calm. 

5. Safe

Airplanes are actually the safest way to travel. Ignore the news stories, they go all out when something happens to a plane. But, it’s all okay. 

6. That plane has gone through some shit

That plane has been tested and retested. Here are some of the tests: 

  • Wing flexibility 
  • Ingestion testing (birds and stuff)
  • Temperature and altitude testing
  • Velocity minimum unstick testing (test pilot drags plane tail along runway to find minimum speed for take off)
  • Obviously, brake testing
  • Lightning strike testing
  • Low fuel testing 

7. Breathe 

Those oxygen masks, they actually do work. That’s all I got on that, but remember, put yours on first and then help anyone who needs it. 

8. One

Commercial planes can fly with only one engine, and can land safely with no engines. So, you’re all good. 

My personal tips for being away from home

1. Find things to keep you busy 

You’re out of town! There’s so much to do! Find a cool place to get coffee, go be a tourist, enjoy your time. Explore!

 2. Look up cool restaurants

Every town and city is unique. Find a cool place to eat. My favorite place where I’m going (Longboat Key, Florida) is the Dry Dock Grill. They have outdoor seating, bar seating, and upstairs seating. I always sit upstairs by the window and while I’m waiting for my food I always get to see dolphins, sometimes even manatees! My favorite!

3. Room Service

If you’re staying in a nice hotel, check and see if they have room service. Not only will you feel fancy, but it’ll help on those anxious nights when you just can’t get out of the room. It’s okay, you’re on vacation, eat on the bed and watch a trashy rom-com. 

4. Bring a laptop and DVDs

Bring some of your favorite movies. Watch them on the plane. Or, if you’re having a rough night watch one that helps you calm down. 

5. Distract yourself by taking photos

Take pictures of everything. Literally. I’ve even taken pictures of trash on the beach. Like, just find the beautiful things (obviously, the trash photo wasn’t so pretty) and take photos. Anything that interests you. You’ll have some keepsakes of overcoming your anxiety. 

6. Know it won’t be long

Time goes by so quickly when you’re traveling. So just remember, it won’t be long until you’re home. 

7. Get things done ahead of time

Don’t wait until the last minute to do things like I have done. I still have to book a groomer’s appointment for my little fur baby so he looks all sorts of nice on vacation. But, do things like clean the house so you come back to a nice place, wash all the clothes you need, book things like a kennel stay for your dog, any therapy appointment you may need, or a salon appointment so you look fine as fuck on the beach. 

What are your vacation prep tips? How do you deal with anxiety surrounding travel? I’d love to hear your ideas! Comment and let us know!

-Liz

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