I Say Nomato Travels: 6 Coping Strategies for the Nervous Flyer (like me)

6 Coping Strategies for the Nervous Flyer - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

I. Hate. Planes. There, I said it.

This poses a significant problem because a) we’re nomads with not too much say in where we get sent next, and b) I love travelling. Experiencing new things, eating new foods, everything! I’ve lost count of the number of planes I’ve been on, from 12-hour trans-Atlantic flights to the 12-minute puddle jumper from St. Martin to Saba. By now you’d think I’d be used to it. You’d be wrong.

The rational part of me doesn’t understand how I can still be so anxious about it. People can say whatever they want (“it’s so safe! Safer than being in a car!”), but in the end nothing anyone says about how safe a plane is will actually make it better. The scared part of my brain is not rational, so logic won’t work for me. Sorry!

Over the last few years I’ve tried a couple coping strategies, and compiled a list of things that actually help me, even a little bit. Hopefully you’ll find them as helpful as I do!

1. Know how the plane works
I do a mental checklist in my head of all the weird sounds the plane makes. Wheels up. Adjusting wing flaps. Wheels down. That sort of thing. It helps give me structure and context for sounds that would otherwise send my over-active imagination reeling:

Bugs Bunny - Gremlin photo Bugs-gremlin-4.gif

2. Practice Deep Breathing or Meditation
This one helped me out this time, for sure. I downloaded the Omvana app for my phone (the free version still has lots of content!), played the ‘Deep Sleep Meditation’ track and blissed out. (They’re not sponsoring me, I’m just recommending them because it worked so well!)

3. “Planes are happiest in the sky”
For some reason this saying really calms me. Those metal birds are meant to be thousands of feet in the air, that’s where they belong. So even if there’s turbulence or a sudden drop, the plane wants to be flying.

4. Look out the window
It is absolutely fascinating to watch the world below! Everything looks so gorgeous I’m usually able to ignore my fears, especially if I’m travelling somewhere new! I took the photo used in the title graphic as we were flying over the Caribbean Sea.

5. Flight Attendants are awesome
For serious. They are THE biggest help. If you’re worried about turbulence, you can just look at them. If they don’t seem worried, you don’t have to be worried. (If they do, I can’t help you, sorry!) Turbulence is actually routine, as much as I hate it. Plus if they know you’re nervous they will come check on you every once in a while. A lot of people are afraid of flying and these people are professionals.

And if all else fails:

6. Tell your doctor you’re nervous about flying.
I try to stay away from medicating, but when it comes to my anxiety and extra long flights, I don’t mess around. I know it’s better for everyone if I’m relaxed and/or asleep, including me. My doc will usually prescribe Ativan. Benadryl does in a pinch, I know it doesn’t work for everyone but it certainly works on me! Or, as my mum suggests, a glass of wine! 


I hope you enjoyed this edition of I Say Nomato Travels!

Good news: Lunch of the Week will be returning next week, New York style!

I have to apologize that my Instagram has been so quiet – we haven’t had too much of a chance to explore the city yet. I’ve had a monster cold (thanks Mr. Didn’t Cover Your Mouth When You Coughed AND Sneezed Plane Neighbour… Ewwww) and have been quarantined to the apartment (self-imposed). On the plus side it’s given me lots of time to brainstorm new recipes! AND time to work on a some awesome improvements to the blog that I can’t wait to share with you!

Have a wonderful weekend!

About the author


An avid lover of all things East Coast and delicious, Cristina blogs at I Say Nomato, a site dedicated to exploring and inventing allergy-friendly food. When she's not experimenting in the kitchen, she can be found curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.