When I first moved out of state, I was so worried I would never have time to see my friends from home - 800 miles away. This was a place I had grown up in and had been a part of for nearly fifteen years. At the time of my move, I could not drive and I knew that family road trips would be nearly impossible. Air travel became the move and I began using a cheap and easy airline to either fly my friends down or travel up there myself.
There are a few things I have learned since I have started flying a lot more frequently. I know that there are quite a few people my age and even older that have never flown and I wanted to write an article about the few lessons I have learned to educate and ease anxieties that may come with flying. The idea of being so incredibly high in the atmosphere while a pilot takes control sounds more terrifying than it actually is.
To start, flying is so much easier than what you would expect. It's very straightforward and as long as you can find your gate, you will be fine. Think of it as going in line to ride on a roller coaster at a theme park. A small anxious feeling may be building in your lower stomach, but your mind knows that many engineers worked on this roller coaster to ensure your safety. Yes, there have been other roller coasters that have malfunctioned, but nothing is perfect. The ratio of an incident happening to you on a roller coaster is ultimately slim to none. This is the same mentality I have with flying. Just enjoy the flight and put your fears to rest. SO many engineers and scientists have worked on these planes and these pilots have been trained for years. Much like a roller coaster, the flight is over before you know it anyways.
I also recommend packing light. When I used to road trip, I would over pack and bring way too much in fear that I didn't have enough. My excuse would be to "always be prepared", but I have learned that sometimes it's better to be unprepared and let life take you where it's supposed to. Allow spontaneity, bring what you need, and enjoy your trip. It will also help at the end of your trip when you are packing up to return home because you won't be so stressed out about what you may be leaving behind.
Bring a book or a journal and headphones. Being able to write, sketch, or read while listening to music makes the flight so much more enjoyable. All fears escape as you allow your brain and imagination to run away with you. I prefer to bring a book, but it's obviously a personal preference. It's so much better to have outlets for your mind and to be able to physically do something rather than sit there anxiously with nothing to do.
Last but not least, charge your phone to one hundred percent right before. You will need it from boarding passes to calls from your mom to ordering an Uber to pick you up. You may not be able to use data during the flight, but listening to music offline is worth it anyways. Don't get on draining apps beforehand unless you're charging your phone simultaneously. Just stay present and let the waiting begin. Maybe get a snack before you hop on and don't forget to breathe.
Air travel feels like you are traveling through space and time. It honestly blows my mind that two hours and a hundred bucks are all I need to see my family and best friends from home. Your mind is a powerful thing so tell yourself that air travel is fun rather than something to fear. This may sound cliche, but it's only terrifying if you let it. Get on the roller coaster, enjoy the ride, and before you know it, you will be right where you are supposed to.