How I deal with my fear of flying. Tips for skittish, nervous, and petrified fliers.

Are you a nervous flyer?

If you answered yes, you’re definitely not alone.

For many of us, flying is not fun. It can be downright terrifying and debilitating.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Today, I’m going off topic a bit. I am a previously very nervous flyer who now tolerates flying. How did that happen? I did a few specific things to conquer my fear, and I am sharing those ideas with you today.

If you have a fear of flying, I hope you find this post useful. If you have your own ideas, please share them below! We can have different methods and can help each other out.

My Story

I hate to fly. But I love to travel.

I see flying as a necessarily evil in my quest to see as much of the world as possible. Thankfully, I’ve learned to tolerate it.

But it hasn’t always been that way.

Two weeks before my vacation to Ireland a couple of years ago, I was a nervous wreck. My stomach was in knots and I wasn’t sure how I would survive the flight. I was sure something was going to go wrong on the flight that would send our plane plummeting into the ocean. (The flight was fine, by the way…)

Fast forward to today, and I am a relatively calm flier. Gone are the days of extreme anxiety for weeks before the flight. And I think the coping techniques below have helped me get to where I am today. And I think you can get there too.

The world is waiting for you.

1: Visit is a live flight tracker that shows air traffic all over the world in real time. Whenever I get nervous about flying, I check out this website and am reminded that there are thousands of planes in the sky – flying safely and securely – at any given moment. Even if you’re not scared of flying, you need to check out this fascinating website.

2: Listen To What Pilots Have To Say

There are many websites written by pilots addressing common fears and concerns about flying. This one has a nice FAQ section. Here, a flight attendant weighs in.

I have a friend who is a pilot. After a particularly nerve-wracking flight, I decided to call him to get answers to questions that had been plaguing my mind:

  • What happens if you have to stop for some reason during takeoff?
  • Why does the engine seem to turn off when you get high enough up in the sky?
  • Could the wings of the airplane fall off?

I’m not going to attempt to answer these questions here, since I could easily pass on inaccurate information. But many of my questions were answered (and fears were calmed) after talking to him.

3: Count To 180

Yes, I am that girl on the flight – the one who looks petrified and a little bit weird during takeoff.

Takeoff is the worst part of the flight for me. Once it’s over, I am pretty calm.

To cope, I’ve come up with a method that helps me get through this nerve-wracking, often turbulence-ridden portion of the flight: I close my eyes, plug my ears, and count to 180.

Without sight – and without hearing much – I am in my own little zone for 3 minutes. By the time the 180 seconds are over, the plane is in the sky and the initial unsteadiness is usually over. I focus on nothing more than counting during that time.

I also use this technique during bad bouts of turbulence. I count to 30 once or twice – and by that time, the turbulence is usually over.

4: Take Benadryl

Can’t stand flying? Try sleeping through your flight!

On longer flights, I take Benadryl, which knocks me out for several hours. I have found this medicine to be more effective than sleeping pills – and more effective than the anxiety pills my doctor prescribed me for my flying fears.

5: Keep An Eye On The Flight Attendants

Watching calm people during a flight makes me feel more secure. Flight attendants are the perfect people to watch when you are nervous about takeoff, turbulence, landing – whatever your fears may be.

6: Keep Your Mind Occupied

Bring reading materials on the flight. Pack a snack. Knit. Play a game. Listen to a podcast. Say a prayer.

All of these things will help keep your mind occupied during the flight.

Oh – and if you happen to get a window seat, enjoy the view. You are above the clouds looking down on earth. This is one of the coolest things you can experience as a human.

Get My 6 Tips For Packing Light

I typically only bring a backpack on vacation – whether it’s lasting one weekend or two weeks. Find out my method for packing light and free yourself from the burden of excessive luggage!

6 Tips for packing light on vacation