Top 9 Tips for Coping with Travel Anxiety

An aeroplane ascending
19 Apr 2018

Millions of people around the world are nervous about flying, for a variety of reasons. Whether they’re worried about turbulence, or uneasy with heights, these fears can stop them from seeing some of the world’s most beautiful destinations.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help with pre-travel nerves. From familiarising yourself with aeroplane noises to choosing the best seats, here at Asda Money, we’ve put together our top 9 tips to make your next flight a little more relaxing.


Don’t Rush

Rushing is never fun, especially when you’ve got a plane to catch. If you’re running through the airport worrying about missing your flight, this will only increase your stress and anxiety. Whether you have an early morning or a night flight, follow your normal, everyday routine, and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.

Once you arrive and you’ve checked in, head over to the airport lounge. Although this generally costs more, it’s well worth the money, as you can take yourself away from the hustle and bustle of duty free and relax in a much calmer environment.


Choose Your Seat

Although choosing your seat in advance costs you a little bit extra, it could really help if you’re a nervous flyer, for a number of reasons. If you get anxious during turbulence, then you should opt for a seat closer to the front of the plane because it’ll be a lot less bumpy compared to the back of the aircraft.

Sitting at the front also means you won’t have to look at the whole plane in front of you. Looking at the length of the whole plane can be quite a daunting view, and it will be a constant reminder of where you are. If you sit towards the front, you can forget what’s going on behind you and hopefully relax a little bit more. And, of course, sitting towards the front means you’ll get off a lot quicker when you land, which is an added bonus!

woman looking out an aeroplane window

Avoid Caffeine

You might think that a calming cup of tea or coffee before a flight is a good idea, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a well-known fact that caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it can make you feel a lot more anxious, restless and jittery, so it’s best to avoid caffeine-fuelled drinks such as tea, coffee, or energy drinks.

If you’re a nervous traveller, it’s also best to avoid any alcohol before or during the flight. Although you might think a glass of wine or a pint might calm your nerves, it will actually make you feel worse in the long run. Alcoholic drinks will dehydrate your body, making you feel dizzy and light-headed.


Talk to the Cabin Crew

Once you step onto the plane, make yourself known to the cabin crew, and tell them about your flying anxiety. The flight attendants are there to make your journey more enjoyable, and they’ll be able to help put your mind at ease should you have any concerns.

As well as their friendly and welcoming smiles, they’ll be able to explain why certain things happen on a plane, such as turbulence, or any unusual noises. Also, even just watching the cabin crew going about their day-to-day jobs can help make you feel calmer. Watching them serve drinks and chat to passengers without an ounce of worry should help put your mind at rest.


Distract Yourself

Many nervous flyers tend to have a habit of listening out for strange noises, and they’ll start to obsess over the slightest change in sound. One of the best ways to avoid this is to keep yourself distracted and occupied throughout the flight.

A good idea is to listen to an audio book. As well as keeping you engaged and entertained, it will also help to drown out any noises the plane may make. Alternatively, if you’re going on a long-haul flight, it’s likely that you’ll be provided with some in-flight entertainment, such as movies and games, so take advantage of this as it will help you relax on-board.

in flight entertainment


One of the most obvious ways to avoid any nervousness when flying is to try and sleep. You’re completely switched off when you’re asleep, and your mind is transported to a whole different world. However, aeroplane seats aren’t particularly comfortable, so if you’re wanting to get some shut-eye, you need to do everything you can to make your seat as relaxing as possible.

If you can, take your own pillow on the flight with you, as this will remind you of your own bed and hopefully make you feel more relaxed. Eye masks and earplugs are also a great idea if you’re trying to sleep on a flight, as these will help to drown out any strange sounds and block out any unwanted bright lights. Relaxing music is also said to help people drift off, so be sure to set up a calming playlist before you go!


Take Deep Breaths

If you’re a nervous flyer, there are a number of breathing techniques that you can do to help calm you down. As you start to feel anxious, your breathing automatically changes, becoming shorter and faster. These shorter breaths come from your chest rather than your stomach, which can upset the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Overall, this will make you feel more shaky and jittery, causing you to panic even more.

The most basic technique to control your breathing is to slow it right down. To do this, you should inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth as slowly as possible. It’s best to learn how to control your breathing before you travel, so you’re prepared for if you do start to panic mid-air.

stressed man on aeroplane

Remind Yourself

Although sometimes easier said than done, one of the best ways to make yourself feel more relaxed on a flight is to remember that it’s the safest form of travel. All of the unusual sounds and strange motions are completely normal, you’re just not used to them. There are thousands of planes in the sky at any one time, a lot of them holding hundreds of passengers, many of whom are probably feeling the same way as you.

If it’s turbulence that you’re worried about, you need to remind yourself that, although uncomfortable, it’s generally not dangerous. Think of it like a bump in the road on a car journey. Usually, the pilot will ask passengers to put on their seatbelts, but this is only to avoid you bumping into the person next to you!


Protect Yourself

Many people get nervous when going on holiday because they’re afraid of the unknown. Whether they’re scared of the flight or anxious about luggage going missing, there’s a lot that could potentially go wrong in a nervous person’s mind.

One thing that will make you feel better about many of these problems, is making sure you’re protected if the worst was to happen. For example, if you’re worried about luggage or you’re panicking about getting ill on holiday, buying comprehensive travel insurance will give you piece of mind throughout your trip. Here at Asda Money, we have a variety of different cover types available, including Value, Premium and Superior. If you are worried about something going wrong on your holiday, or have any questions about travel insurance, then feel free to call us on 0800 138 2373 and we’ll be happy to help.

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