I've yet to meet someone who doesn't like to travel.
That being said, pretty much every traveler knows, and can agree, that as amazing and exciting as traveling is it can be a bit stressful, too...from having to cram 2 weeks worth of clothing into a carry-on to navigating new, and unfamiliar, places.
Some of the biggest stress points of traveling for me happen in the air, though. Relinquishing control has never been my strong suit and I developed a fear of flying later on in life, in my 20s. As someone who travels very often it was a fear that both I longed to, and needed to, overcome. Over the past few years I've faced my fears head on, on my own, without the help of sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medication.
I've found a few key things that help me to stay relaxed, distracted, and comfortable—through short flights and 10+ hours of air time (and on those part-terrifying // part-awe-inspiring 10 seater prop planes, too).
Music is everything for me when I'm flying.
Before your next trip, make a playlist of your favorite songs, or a collection of mellow tunes to keep you feeling relaxed. Some of my favorites? Bob Dylan, Jason Mraz, Neil Young, Brandi Carlile, and The Lumineers (to name a few). Podcasts are a great, too! Just be sure to download ahead of time.
Aside from music and podcasts, guided meditations are a great way to tune out, and zen out. Headspace is one of my all time favorite meditation apps out there. Give it a try before you fly to see if it's for you.
Keep it Cozy
I'll never be one of those girls that's dolled up to the nines for a flight (sad as it makes my Grandma, who still firmly believes everyone should dress up for flying). Comfort is key for me. A pair of Buddha Pants, a Spiritual Gangster tee, a scarf, and a denim jacket and I'm good to go. Airplanes are almost always freezing, so layers help!
Take a Talisman (Or Two...Or Three)
With limited space on an airplane you can't bring all the comforts of home with you, but you can certainly bring a few. Having something that brings me comfort, or keeps both my hands and my mind occupied, helps to refocus my attention to my talisman and away from my nerves.
I always travel with my stuffed animal (yes at 27 I still never travel without my stuffie), a small collection of crystals, and my malas, too. When I'm in the air I turn to either my malachite or amethyst. Whether I'm simply holding it in my palm, or turning it through my fingers—studying the grooves, shades, and edges—they keep me distracted from fear and focused on the energy transferring between me and the crystal.
If you're new to crystals, malachite is a stone for protection and is said to be a stone that's ideal for people with a fear of flying while amethyst is perfect for relaxation and stress relief as it is said to promote tranquility and have a calming effect.
Bury Your Nose In a Book
What better way to escape from the air-tight confines of an airplane than in the pages of a good book? This is one of my favorite ways to pass the time in the air. Plus, books have such a relaxing effect on me that after a few chapters I generally drift right off into dreamland...which is my other favorite way to pass time in the air. Nothin' like falling asleep at home and waking up in a new state or country!