I recently had the fortune of flying by myself for the first time. I spent weeks stressing about it. I was honestly just anxious about getting anxious on the plane and not being able to calm down. But I worked really hard to maintain calmness and was extra prepared in case of an anxiety attack. So, here are ten tips for anyone flying for the first time, flying alone, or someone who may just feel a little uneasy about the whole process.
You can't get very far if you fainted because you forgot to breathe.
2. Review your flight information ahead of time.
Make sure you've checked in ahead of time if possible, downloaded your boarding pass, and know your gate and seat number so you know where to go once you're through security.
3. Follow the signs.
All types of people travel by plane every single day, so it is extremely manageable. As long as you know your gate number, you will be able to get there with ease. It may be a tad confusing at first, so just follow the crowd of people. Once you get to the areas with different gates you'll be A-OK on your own.
4. Ensure all devices are fully charged.
My phone was my best friend in the airport. I was at my gate over an hour early so I was able to keep texting loved ones for peace of mind and play games as a distraction.
5. Ask questions.
If you are unsure of something, don't be too afraid or embarrassed to ask someone for help.
6. Wear socks.
You have to take your shoes off to go through security, and you don't want to walk around the airport in bare feet.
7. Download, download, download.
As previously mentioned, I was trying to be prepared to either prevent or ease my anxiety. I took many steps to ensure I had things that could help calm me down and/or relax me. I downloaded tons of songs on Spotify (because I didn't know what I would be in the mood for) and a movie on my laptop.
8. Pack a book, or two.
Personally, I just read for my whole flight. It made the flight fly by, kept me engaged and entertained, and kept me out of my own head. Depending on how long your flight is or if you don't know what you're in the mood for, totally pack a backup book!
9. Pack gum.
Your ears might pop. That is normal! But chewing gum is super helpful.
10. Find something that will help you as an individual.
Maybe books, music, and movies don't work for you. That's totally OK. Every person is different. It's important to know what helps you feel better. So try to come up with your own game plan to keep you calm. I find that engaging and mindful activities are most helpful to me because they take my mind off of what is bothering me. Such activities can be mind games, card games, writing, telling yourself a story, guided relaxation, and more.
Plane rides are scary, especially if you're by yourself or not used to them. But it's important to remember just how many people fly every day and how many people work to ensure your safety. Rationalizing the situation will be your best friend.
Good luck, you're going to be fine.