Useful ways to get over your fear of flying

Travel without trepidation

Flying is thrilling for those who enjoy soaring above the clouds to get from point A to point B. Sure, the check-in and TSA process may be a drag, but once seated and the flight attendant has come around with the drink cart and peanuts, the trip is usually easy. But for some people flying creates fear, and the idea of getting on a plane sends shivers down their spine. A 20-hour car ride sounds more appealing than hopping on a far-swifter flight.

If you are among those with a flying phobia, you know the fear is real. But it doesn't mean you are destined to a life of air travel that makes you tremble. Here are some useful ways to help you triumph over your fear of flying, making the skies a whole lot friendlier.

Educate yourself

Understanding the process of your journey will help alleviate your fears

Knowledge is power. Before booking your trip, learn the ins and outs of airplane safety, structure, and processes. The more you know, the less you'll be paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. With relevant information, there are fewer "what ifs" making your worries and fears subside since you'll have the upper hand over the travel "demons" that formerly frightened you.

For example, Travel + Leisure suggests studying up on the causes of turbulence and why it is generally nothing to be alarmed about. Additionally, don't wait until you're boarded to get the safety instructions from the flight attendants. They go through the motions pretty quickly and you may not be focused enough to absorb any of the details. Go online and read up on safety strategies, exit plans, unforeseen water landings, how to put on an oxygen mask, etc. You can also contact the airline directly for brochures or links as to where to find information specific to the plane you'll be flying on.

Book a seat that suits your preferences

Aisle? Window? Where do you feel the most comfortable?

Make your travel plans as early as possible so you can have your prime choice of seating. According to Travel + Leisure, the back of the plane usually makes for a bumpier flight, so book a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible. Smooth sailing will help you keep your wits about you. Plus, you won't spill your drink!

Also, think about where you'll be the most comfortable. Will looking out the window provide for a comforting distraction, or will the open sky spook you even more? Maybe the aisle seat will give you the chance to get up quickly if you need to use the lavatory or afford you the opportunity to chit chat with the flight attendant when he or she comes by. Perhaps the middle seat will give you that secure, enclosed feeling that calms you down.

Have a blanket and neck pillow on hand and make the seat as cozy as possible. You may even fall asleep, making your anxiety drift away as you drift off.

Distract yourself

Flying is a great time to catch up on that article you've been meaning to read!

The more you sit there and worry, the worse your fears will become. Get out of your head and into something fun. As Quick and Dirty Tips recommends, "Tune outward, not inward. Rather than trying to soothe yourself, which can feel too 'therapeutic,' engage yourself with a riveting movie, captivating book, or addictive app."

Bring or buy plenty of snacks so your mind is focused on munching, talk to your travel companion, or plan your itinerary for your trip. You can even catch up on work-related items or study for an exam. Even though you are stuck in a small seat for hours, there are plenty of things to do to make the time pass faster. Distraction is desirable!

Get professional help

Sometimes you need to call in the profesisonals

If your fears are truly debilitating, seeing a professional is something to consider, especially if you must fly regularly. Learning how to cope effectively and reduce your fears is doable and can be extremely freeing.

According to Reader's Digest, "Professionals will arm you with techniques and invaluable insight to help you feel more calm about this anxiety. Consider finding a psychotherapist in your area who specializes in phobias, anxiety, and fear.

You may find help through talk therapy alone, but perhaps you will be prescribed medication, as Travel + Leisure points out. "Anxiety medications work effectively as sedatives, so all the noise and movement doesn't register as something to get worked up about."

After a series of sessions, flying may go from something you fear to a trip you're armed to enjoy.

Safe (and not-so-scary) travels!

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Know What Type of Wine To Choose

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Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!