I just got done watching Ingrid’s new video, Working Through Travel Anxiety (you can click that <= and see the video; HYPERLINKS R COOL), and it inspired me to talk about my version of travel anxiety and how I deal with it.
First, let me explain. Since birth I have been traveling (that’s slightly a lie, unless you count my trip home from the hospital, but my first real trip was from Yuma to Tucson and I was a blooming two weeks old). And since birth, I have experienced crippling motion sickness.
When I was younger, I would get into an airplane, the airplane would ascend, and I would immediately be overcome with motion sickness. I would lose the small amount of color I have to my skin, I would fever, and I would barf. On. Everything. My mom, eventually, would have to buy multiple seats on long plane rides so that I could lay down and be iced. This same scenario happened in the car, although she never had to buy me extra seats. I’ve never found out what caused this or why, as I’ve aged, it’s gotten better. Although my motion sickness has lessened significantly, I still struggle with flying (and even some car rides).
So here’s what I do to make my trips a little easier!
1) I cannot recommend this to anyone, because it’s not exactly healthy, but I don’t eat or sleep before my trip. I know this sounds severe, but not sleeping before allows me to sleep on the plane and not eating a meal or two before departure insures me that there won’t be any vomiting onboard (or if there is, it won’t be much). I don’t eat anything onboard either. If I’m starving, I can chance salty pretzels, but ice is pretty much all I can handle. I also can’t get up to pee, because moving is the worst, so not drinking is kind of my only option. Make sure you have a food plan once you land though. If you’re visiting family, make sure they know to take you to food right away. And bring a water bottle so you can hydrate once you land. (Side note about peeing. When my family and I went to England, I went over 12 hours without peeing [I’m VERY serious about not peeing on planes]. I felt kinda like a god and that was probably due to dehydration and minor starvation. Carry on.)
2) Dress extra cozy and bring comforting blankets/pillows to help you sleep. I never go on a plane without wearing at least a sweater, leggings, socks and comfy shoes. I will also not enter a plane without a sizable blanket (I bring a throw blanket, one that covers me completely) and a neck pillow. I may look like an idiot boarding, but my comfort is most important. Plus, you can use your blanket (which smells like home) to block the smell of airplane/jet fuel as you’re boarding. (Side note: driving by an airport can trigger my motion sickness, just because of the smell alone. Gross.)
3) If you’re traveling alone, try to get a window seat. The ability to lean your head against something or someone is a god send. If you know you have a middle seat, use a scarf and your neck pillow to create a no-moving zone for your head.
4) Make sure, before the flight departs, that you have everything that you may need nearby. I make sure that my phone and ear phones are in the seat pocket, along with a barf bag (just in case). Sometimes I bring a small bag of pretzels, and I’ll put those there too. Everything else goes at my feet (because I’m short and there’s room).
5) Sleep. Make sure you have an audio book of a book you’ve read before, with a soothing narrator. Or a couple of movie soundtracks that you can put on repeat. If you can read a book, go ahead, but books and video games always make me sicker.
6) Try not to talk to anyone. Most people aren’t chatty on airplanes, and you’re not going to look like you want to talk. Talking to other people just makes me more and more anxious (because I’ve barfed on people when I’ve tried to pretend that I could do traveling like normal people) so don’t be afraid to make yourself a little unapproachable. Other people may not understand what’s going on, and that’s okay. Just focus on sleep and getting through.
7) Real life: In case you vomit and the pressure of vomiting makes you pee, make sure you bring a whole change of clothes – not just a shirt and jeans. Undies, socks, everything. And make sure you have a trash bag or something in your carry on too so you don’t get your other things dirty. If you forgot to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste on board, don’t be afraid to ask a sturdiest for them (or cranberry juice to flush the taste out of your mouth).
8) If you go to the airport with makeup on (which I usually don’t), bring stuff to take off your makeup and put on a moisturizing mask. This pre-trip ritual has become so comforting for me and really helps me with my nerves.
Fun fact: they can land the plane with a child that has snuck into the first class bathroom because she projectile vomited on the cute guy in front of her who was totally understanding. They also won’t make you come out until everyone else has left the plane. People can be nice.
I hope this helped my fellow aviation projectile vomiters out there!
Also, writing this has made me crave some Maui Chips. There must be a reason behind that somewhere.
To the furthest star and back,