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How to combat pre-flight nerves

Even the toughest amongst us can get a bit nervous when it comes to taking a flight. Regardless of if it's a quick holiday flight, for a nervous traveller it can feel like forever. We're not saying the following is gospel but after scouring the internet for top tips and tricks to make your flight go a little smoother, we think this ain't a bad start.

Most likely we've all got a friend or family member nervous of their two hour flight to Mallorca, whether it's the vocal worrier or the quiet and timid type, there is hope for them yet. After a good gander through various blogs and online sources, the same advice is coming up over and over again. So let's get to it:

1. Avoid alcohol and coffee

For some reason budget airlines love the red eye, presumably to get us on holiday as fast as possible and to make our first day last, but what goes hand in hand with a bowl of cornflakes is a cup of tea or coffee. You're best to give that a miss on the morning of your flight as the caffeine doesn't do wonders to ones anxiety levels and can make the nerves feel a whole lot worse. As for alcohol, knocking back a few bevies right before sitting down for hours with limited leg space is not going to be your best friend either. Combining the pressure changes being up in the air and the alcohol can make you feel nauseous.

2. Sit near the front of the plane

Turbulence is a completely normal and safe experience on a plane but that doesn't make it a pleasant feeling and the imagination mixed with nerves can quickly help your imagine play out a scene where the plane takes a nose dive or a sharp bank to the side. The best place to feel minimised effects of turbulence is at the front of the aircraft. With budget airlines now offering allocated seating, this can be a small price to pay. Another benefit of getting yourself at the front of the plane is you get to keep an eye on the flight attendants, if they're not looking worried, you know everything is going as it should. The third and best bonus, you'll be one of the first out of the plane and onto firm ground.

3. Breathe in, breathe out

It may sound silly, but your breathing can make a big difference to your overall peace of mind. Doctors recommend calm and deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, the classic technique your school gym teachers used to tell you to do when you'd get out of breath running laps of the playing fields. If it helps keep your mind focused, you can imagine the air in your body is a coloured fluid passing right through your body. Still having trouble? Then start putting your mind to work and do the 7-4-8 breathing technique. How does it work? Well, that's simple. Breathe in through your nose and count 4 seconds, hold it in for 7, then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this three or four times and you should feel a bit more with it and zen.

4. Predict the predictable

If this isn't your first flight, then the noises you hear on the plane will be familiar to you and they won't be out of the ordinary. If you imagine your trajectory from beginning to end, the plane will taxi; prepare for take off, with lots of thrust to boot; it'll wobble a bit until it gets to altitude; the landing gear will fold back into the plane; you'll likely bank to steer the plane into the right direction. The rest should be fairly normal until landing, unless of course you stumble across some turbulence. Turbulence is just air fronts meeting, if you imagine a boat bobbing in the middle of two crossing wave sources, it's the exact same thing, only we can't see it, just feel it. Landing of course will introduce more noises and the landing gear engaging, then there is the final touch down, sometimes bumpy, other times smooth.

5. Light entertainment

If you are struggling to keep your mind focused, try to flick through the in-flight magazine or do a sudoku, something to keep the mind distracted without overloading it to work. If you're struggling with how noisy the plane is, play a bit of quiet music or get yourself some ear plugs. The ear plugs help cut out the loud hum of the plane but still allow you to hear what's going on.

For this article, we used the following sources: 1. http://twinsthattravel.com/top-5-tips-nervous-flyer/ 2. http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/tips-for-nervous-flyers/ 3. http://www.oncallinternational.com/blog/travel-cheat-sheet-month-7-stay-calm-tips-nervous-fliers/ & http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11585755/Simple-4-7-8-breathing-trick-can-induce-sleep-in-60-seconds.html 4. http://www.womenontheirway.com/travel-talk/2014/07/the-nervous-flyers-handbook.php & http://www.airportparking.co.uk/fear-of-flying-ten-tips-for-nervous-flyers/

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