Thursday, February 23, 2012

11 Tips to Overcome Fears of Flying

Love to travel but hate to fly? Some people just hate the hassle thanks to increased airport security, plane delays, or breathing the same air of a thousand strangers in a confined space, to name a few. Others, however, are downright scared to fly. It is estimated that one out of every five Americans possess a fear of flying.

Psychiatrists that treat such disorders generally categorize fear of flying as an anxiety issue. In fact, it often stems from something more specific than just boarding a plane, such as fear of small spaces (claustrophobia), heights, turbulence, crashing, terrorists, or traveling over water. If you can pinpoint exactly what you’re afraid of, it’s easier to rationalize the situation which helps to remain calm.

If you’re not a fan of the friendly skies, follow these helpful tips:

  1. Know what to expect. For many fearful fliers, learning the basics of how airplanes work can go a long way toward alleviating their anxiety. For instance, understanding how a plane can continue to fly even if an engine fails can help you feel less concerned about your aircraft malfunctioning.

  2. Familiarize yourself with your plane. Getting to know what your plane looks like can make it seem a little less scary. This fearful flier actually puts a picture of the plane's cabin on her computer's desktop; by the time her flight rolls around, the image is familiar, not scary.

  3. 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; you'll feel less hemmed in by other people, and you'll be able to get up and move around the cabin more easily.

  4. Monitor your media intake. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning: avoid plane 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 skew your impressions of flying.

  5. Think positive. In the days leading up to your flight, it’s easy to let the anxiety build. Instead, try to focus on more positive things, like all the fun things you'll do once you reach your destination.

  6. Don't rush. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport before your flight is scheduled to depart. Rushing to the gate and worrying about missing your plane will only add to your anxiety.

  7. Wait for your flight in an airline lounge. Most airlines have private airport lounges that are quiet, luxurious oases away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the airport. While they're usually reserved for club members or elite fliers, you can often purchase a day pass for a minimal fee, which may be a small price to pay for a soothing place to relax and prepare for your flight. Or, just find a comfortable seat at the restaurant or bar nearest to your gate.

  8. Medicate. Popping a sleeping or anti-anxiety pill prior to boarding can work wonders to help you relax. Alcohol can do the same trick as long is it not combined with anti-anxiety medications. Just please remember to drink in moderation, overdoing can potentially work against you in a variety of ways.

  9. Find a distraction. Read a book or magazine, work on your laptop, or strap on your headphones and listen to some soothing music to help to take your mind off flying.

  10. Remind yourself who's in charge. Many fearful fliers are bothered by their perceived lack of control, since they have no influence over the safety or performance of the aircraft. Try to remain calm by reminding yourself that you made the decision to fly, that you can decide how you respond to the experience, and that experts with years of training are the ones in control.

  11. Breathe. Breathing is an instant stress reliever. As anxiety increases your breathing becomes shallow so breathe slowly and deeply for a count of 5 or 10.

If all else fails, get professional help. Licensed therapists are trained to help people overcome anxiety and reportedly, success rates are high.

Tips courtesy of the

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Minute Suites Coming to More Airports

Minute Suites will open its third location later this year, at at Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The company opened its first location in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in 2009 and then a second location at Philadelphia's airport just last year.

The private yet tiny suites rent by the hour and offer a quiet place to work or take a short nap. Each suite is equipped with a daybed sofa that features two sleeping surfaces with fresh pillows and blankets. A sound-masking system in each suite neutralizes noise, and the unique NAP26 audio program helps deliver the equivalent of three hours of sleep in only 26 minutes! Each room has a high-definition television with access to DIRECTV, the Internet, and flight-tracking information.

The new Minute Suites in DFW will be located in Terminal D, near gate D22 and across from American Airlines' Admiral Club. There will be nine mini suites in this location. It costs $30 to rent a suite for an hour and then $7.50 for each additional 15 minutes.

The average stay at the first two locations is just under two hours and the company expects to see the same at its DFW location.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Tiny Little Island of Wilson, Australia

Ever fantasized about being stranded on your own little island paradise? Wilson Island, located just above The Tropic of Capricorn, approximately 72 kilometers off the Queensland Coast in Australia is indeed a little piece of paradise!

Just a tiny coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef, the island can only be accessed by complimentary boat transfer from nearby Heron Island. Those who visit can enjoy the natural beauty and its seclusion and the freedom from modern-day living.

Wilson Island is also a national park, with nesting green turtles and logger head turtles as well as much birdlife playing a key role in the island’s natural calendar. At night time the shearwater birds dominate with their mating calls.

The island features six permanent, luxury tents, for a maximum of 12 guests at one time. Every tent is located about 50 feet from the water, with ocean and reef views.

Contact an Australia Specialist today to book your amazing vacation to Wilson Island!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Grand Canyon Bans Plastic Water Bottle Sales

The National Park Service will ban the sale of plastic water bottles within Grand Canyon National Park. The ban comes more than a year after the initial decision was made. It was held up because Coca-Cola raised concerns about the ban.

The new restrictions take effect within 30 days, and are similar to those of Utah's Zion National Park, which launched a similar program in 2008. Also Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which offers water stations and encourages visitors to bring their own bottles or buy a stainless steel reusable bottle at the Kilauea Visitors Center.

The plastic bottles account for some 30% of the Grand Canyon's total waste. A park official said bottles were the single biggest source of trash found inside the canyon. The Grand Canyon has installed 10 water filling stations on the South Rim and three on the North Rim, and some of the park's concessionaires have installed similar facilities at hotels or restaurants. The new policy applies only to bottled water. Retail outlets within the park can still sell soda and juice in plastic bottles, and visitors can still bring plastic bottles into the park.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Survey Shows Wi-Fi as Most Important Amenity for US Travelers

As recent survey taken by Trip Advisor of more than 1,000 US travelers and more than 600 US hotel representatives show that Wi-Fi Internet access in most valued amenity. Breakfast included with booking came in as second, while a turndown service offers very little value.

The top five most important amenities to US Travelers are Wi-Fi access, included breakfast, guest loyalty points, having a restaurant on site, and shuttle service to local attractions/airport. The five least important are turndown service, pets allowed, spa, tour/activities desk, room service.