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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

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10 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Flying

Josh okungbaiye

Many of us enjoy the idea of travelling in order to experience new cultures. However, there’s one part of travel that isn’t so fun for a lot of people: that is flying. For some, flying is simply a hassle due to high fares, potential flight delays, as well as lost luggage. For others, flying is simply terrifying.

It is important to know the reason for your fear of flying. In addition, there are certain steps you can take to help alleviate your fears. For those of you who are determined not to let this fear stop you from seeing the World, below are a few tips to help you overcome your fear of flying.


1. Familiarise yourself with the plane

Getting to know what your plane looks like can make it seem a little less scary. Research what type of aircraft it is. Is it an Airbus or a Boeing plane? Research how many passengers it carries, as well as the on-board benefits such as a café for those travelling on long flights.

2. Choose an aisle seat

Most airlines and booking engines allow you to request a seat assignment when you book your flight. Request an aisle seat, particularly if you’re prone to claustrophobia as you’ll feel less surrounded by other people. You will also be able to get up and move around the cabin more easily allowing you to avoid looking out the window if those sky-high views make you nervous.

Check out Seat Guru. This site enables you to view the position of your seat so you can make an informed decision on booking your seat online.

3. Avoid watching or reading anything plane/flight related

Avoid airplane disaster movies, news coverage of plane crashes, or other scary media images. Remember that the vast majority of flights arrive safely, but only the problem flights make the news. Don’t let that make you have a negative outlook on flying.

4. Don’t rush at the airport

Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport before your flight is scheduled to depart. Racing to the gate and worrying about missing your plane will only add to your fear and anxiety. Make sure to have everything prepared the night before including your passport and your boarding pass; so that it will be smooth sailing on the actual day.

5. Stay Entertained

Make sure your phone or tablet is stocked with relaxing music to help get you into a peaceful frame of mind. Remember to pack a magazine or a good book to take your mind off what is happening. Select a comedy on your plane’s in-flight entertainment system, or pre-load a few of your favourite movies and documentaries onto your laptop.

6. Avoid caffeine

This and other stimulants can make you even more jittery, adding to your anxiety. Opt for water as it contains no sugar, which could tamper with your nerves.

7. Breathe

Breathing is by far the best way to calm yourself down if you feel yourself starting to panic or become anxious on a flight. There are various techniques you can use, but the main goal is to slow your breathing down and focus on the exhale rather than inhale, because as you panic, your breathing gets shallow and fast, making the state of panic even worse. One trick is to breathe out fully first before inhaling. Then breathe in deeply, hold it for a couple of seconds and breathe out completely. Keep doing this until the panic passes.

8. Use earplugs and eye masks

Some nervous fliers find overnight flights very daunting, but if you can try to get some rest it’s the best way to make the time fly by. Bring an eye mask and a pair of earplugs with you to help you sleep. The earplugs are especially useful as they block out the loud noise of the plane. The eye mask will also signal to the flight attendants not to disturb you while you nap.

9. Tell a flight attendant

Flight attendants deal with nervous fliers on a daily basis. Next time you’re boarding a plane, tell your nearest steward that you’re feeling anxious. There is no need to be embarrassed; their job is to help you and make you feel comfortable. They can check in that you’re doing okay. They also might have some tips to share with you from their experience.

10. Take a Fear of Flying course

If your fear of flying is preventing you from traveling or making you so anxious it’s impacting your health or enjoyment of your time away, consider seeking professional help. Some airlines, including British Airways, Virgin and EasyJet, as well as some airports, offer fear of flying courses. These courses are led by pilots, crew, and psychologists with intent to address all aspects of flying fears and how to overcome them. Trained professionals will answer all your questions and give you pointers for addressing your fears.

Nicole Fernandez Medina

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15 Tips on How to Beat Jet Lag

Josh okungbaiye

15 Tips on How to Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag affects nearly all travellers that cross time zones. Long flights are the same for most of us: they start off with enthusiasm and energy but end with aches, pains and intense tiredness. We're stuck in a sitting position for an extended period of time, we're dehydrated, and our feet are swollen from water retention in the legs. For many of us, it takes a day to fully recover from this. Feeling this way is the last thing you want when you arrive at your destination, whether it's for a vacation or you're at the start of an important business trip. Wouldn't you rather arrive fresh-faced and full of energy?

Here are twenty tips that will help you conquer jet lag once and for all.

1. Be active before your flight

As we all know, the time between getting through security and actually boarding the plane can be quite a long process. During this period of time, you should take the opportunity to ensure you maintain a level of physical activity right before your body remains in the same position for a long period of time. Rather than sitting around waiting to board, enjoy the open space that the airport terminal provides you. Take a long walk, stretch your legs and if you're up for it, find some stairs and walk or run up them a few times in order to get your blood flowing.

2. Consider staying awake during the flight

Staying awake and wearing your body out, can help you fight off the jet lag and keep you in your circadian rhythm. Although many people encourage travelling caffeine free in order to avoid jet lag. Frequent travellers advise having some coffee during the flight in order to remain productive; this can include getting some work done on your laptop or reading a book.

3. Fly east early, fly west late

If you're flying east, getting an early start will give you the entire day and plenty of daylight when you arrive. On the other hand, leave later in the day when you're heading west. There's no need to lose a night's sleep by leaving early in the morning and you'll be gaining time as you go west.

4. Get a good night’s sleep before you fly

A big mistake travellers often make is sleeping for just a few hours before a long flight – whether it’s due to pre-holiday excitement or a deliberate attempt to tire yourself in order to sleep throughout the duration of the flight. This will only make it worse. In addition, last minute changes to your routine will only make it harder to adjust to new time zones, while getting a good night’s sleep before your flight will leave your body better equipped to cope with jet lag.

5. Walk up and down the airplane aisle

Once you're on board, your options for moving about become much more restricted but there's no reason to think that you can't stretch out and stay loose in-flight. Get up and walk the aisle. This is especially practical on longer flights, which tend to be serviced by larger aircraft. This will make it less awkward to get up several times during the flight.

6. Avoid alcohol and sleep aids

They both will only increase the disruption to your circadian rhythm and can have additional negative effects. You also don't need sleeping pills. In addition, a glass of wine isn't going to help either. These artificial stimulants will affect your ability to sleep and increase jet lag recovery time. Your body functions best when it’s hydrated, so drinking lots of water is a great way to offset the effects of jet lag.

7. Workout immediately after your flight

Once you arrive at your destination, one of the most important things for you to do is loosen up your tight muscles and joints with some stretching. It doesn't need to take long, just something easy to get your blood flowing.

8. Stay hydrated

Dehydration will negatively affect your body by making you feel tired. You're more likely to be dehydrated while traveling, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight.

9. Adjust your watch time

When you arrive at your new destination quickly adopt the new local time on all your devices. By doing this, it psychologically forces you to adapt to the new timezone. This also works wonders for adjusting your body clock. This only makes sense for longer trips across multiple time zones but has been found to be effective for trips lasting a week or more.

10. Give yourself time to adjust

Don't dive right into planned activities upon arriving at your destination - whether that's business meetings or sightseeing. Give yourself an adjustment period. Get a workout in at the hotel gym. Prioritise sleep and rest. If you can, schedule your least demanding plans early in the trip and the most demanding ones towards the end.

11. Take a nap

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study by NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40- minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. If you arrive at your destination wiped out and have a big meeting or event planned, take a nap lasting no longer than 45 minutes (anything longer could leave you feeling groggy and even more tired).

12. Adjust your food-related clock

What you eat - and when you eat - can have a big impact on jet lag. Eating meals that are lighter and consist of mainly protein can be beneficial for keeping your energy levels up after you arrive at your destination.Eating patterns affect our body's functionality, just as much or even more than light. Try to avoid heavy meals on the plane, and then eat as soon as you land. This should help your body to adjust to the new timezone.

13. Book a flight that arrives during the day

Catching sunlight after you arrive after a long flight can be very effective in helping to reset your body's clock. The best thing you can do after arriving, besides getting exercise, is to go outdoors and get some natural sunlight. Best case scenario: an outdoor workout complete with sunlight and exercise is even better and more effective in fighting off jet lag.

14. Change your sleep pattern before you leave

NASA prepares astronauts for missions by shifting their sleep patterns in the days before launching. According to some scientists who participated in research on the effectiveness, "you can actually shift somebody to anywhere in the world in about two or three days" simply by altering normal sleep patterns. Starting a few days before your trip, gradually adjust your sleeping habits to the time zone of your destination.

15. Pack the right things in your carry-on

Having things in your bag that will keep you feeling fresh can go a long way in fighting off jet lag. These include deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, ibuprofen, tissues, band aids, and an extra set of clothes. These will help you arrive fresh at your destination and could be helpful if an emergency comes up.

Use these tips to ease the discomfort of crossing multiple time zones and get the most out of every travel adventure you take.

Nicole Fernandez Medina


20 Tips for First Time Travellers

Josh okungbaiye

Travelling, although exciting, may come across stressful for those first timers. Here are a few tips to make your travels less stressful.

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1.    Respect the locals

 

When travelling to different countries, you may experience a cultural shock due to the major shift in cultural tendencies. This includes food, music, customs, religions and of course, language. My advice is, always be open to learning the countries ways of living, especially as you are the visitor.

 

2.  Try the local cuisine

 

As humans, we often result to sticking to what is within our comfort zone; especially when it comes to food. Although this may be suitable when in your home country, when travelling, I encourage you to try as many local dishes as possible. After all, you are travelling to experience a change in culture.

 

3.  Be flexible

 

When travelling you will more often than not face unplanned events such as transport delays, lack of money, or getting lost. These circumstances are perfectly normal and if anything would be extremely rare not to experience. Remember to remain clam and flexible. You 100% are not the only one that has faced this situation before!

 

4.  Don't be afraid to mingle with other travellers

 

Although your mother always told you not to speak to strangers, there are a few occasions where talking to strangers may in fact benefit you. One of these instances is when travelling; especially if you are travelling solo as knowing that people are in the same boat as you makes the whole journey a little less lonely and a little more enjoyable.

 

5. Attempt to bargain

 

It is no surprise that travelling can be costly. One tip I find especially useful when trying to save money, is to attempt to bargain. When renting a car, purchasing from street markets or even staying at a hostel, many times they bump up the price just incase you are willing to pay for it. If you think you can get it for cheaper, by all means, attempt to bargain a lower price.

 

6. Don’t rely on technology

 

Although we live in a digital world whereby our lives revolves around technology; if ever your phone, laptop or GPS were to fail you, you would be lost on what to do next. In order to avoid further confusion if this were to happen, my advise is to learn and remember addresses such as your accommodation as well as closest public transport. Furthermore, carrying a physical map is always a good idea in order to save your phone battery in case of emergencies.

 

7. Keep your valuables on you 24/7

 

It may seem like a burden to carry things you wont be using everyday such as a copy of your passport, but rather than leaving it at your accommodation, keep it close to you along with your other valuables such as your phone, wallet, keys and any other necessities you may need. This also serves as a form of ID if ever it is requested.

 

8. Travel for longer in fewer places

 

One mistake many first time travellers make attempting to fit as any destinations as possible in a limited amount of time. Although this may seem like a good idea when first planning the trip, when it comes to actually travelling you will find it’s more convenient to stay for a longer period of time in fewer places in order to fully feel as though you are explored that destination.

 

9. Have travel insurance

 

Although travel insurance isn’t always opted by many travellers due to wanting to remain within their budget; it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when in a foreign country.

 

10. Be prepared for reverse culture shock

 

Finally, the same way you can experience a culture shock when first arriving at a new country, you may also experience a reverse culture shock once your travels are over and you return home. This is due to the extreme shift in activities, climate etc. Do not fret, there is always time to do some travelling.

 

11. Always carry local cash

 

When travelling to foreign countries, especially quaint towns within those countries, it is very rare for every place to take credit cards. Therefore, it is important to carry cash on you in order to avoid hassle; especially at important places like trains or buses.

 

12. Carry double ID

 

Many times some places do not take your foreign form of ID as valuable proof when purchasing alcohol or getting into +18 events. Therefore, it is always best to carry 2 forms of ID in order to avoid disappointment.

 

13. Purchase tickets for places you know you want to visit prior to arrival

 

By purchasing your tickets in advance, you’ll be able to skip long queues, especially for really touristic attractions; as well as find more deals, saving you some money.

 

14. Take guidebooks

 

Guidebooks usually include maps, key phrases as well as give you enough detail on certain sites which you otherwise wouldn’t have known. Guidebooks will overall give you a little more knowledge on your travel destination to make sure you get the full experience.

 

15. Research events going on while you’re there

 

Having knowledge on any events occurring at your destination will ensure that you don't miss out on fun events such as festivals, ceremonies and natural events. by attending these events, you will feel like a local in their home town as you fully experience their culture.

 

16. Bring a charger adapter

 

As countries have different plug sizes and voltage, in order to use your electronic devices you will need to ensure you bring a suitable adaptor to charge them.

 

17. Activate Free Roaming

 

Back in the day, phone companies would charge for roaming usage. Nowadays, roaming is completely free for the majority of phone companies. Make sure to activate it before travelling to get use out of your data, even while you’re away.

 

18. Bring snacks

 

When travelling long distance, make sure to bring small snacks with you in order to avoid paying for overpriced snacks on your chosen form of transport and stations.

 

19. Check-in with your doctor

 

Before leaving, make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations in order to avoid any unwanted illnesses. Also ensure that you have renewed all essential prescriptions as you may not be able to find them if you run out.

 

20. Go with the flow

 

Although planning ahead seems like the appropriate option, allow yourself to get lost in the side streets on the way to your chosen attractions as you might encounter something completely unknown and unexpected that might surprisingly become the most interesting part of your trip.

 

Nicole Fernandez Medina