Anxiety can manifest in many ways. Travel anxiety is one of them. Here we discuss some of the best techniques that you can implement if you experience anxiety when traveling.
What is travel anxiety?
Travel anxiety is a type of anxiety that causes severe emotional, mental and physical stress whenever –
You need to or want to visit an unfamiliar place.
You are planning for your travels.
You are traveling in a mode of transport.
You find yourself amidst people you don’t know and in an unfamiliar situation while traveling.
For some people, travel anxiety can be particularly debilitating. It prevents them from having a healthy professional and personal life, especially where travel is involved.
Common signs of travel anxiety
While the exact cause of travel anxiety is not known still, a few common signs observed amongst people with travel anxiety are –
Fear of flying (or going on a boat/bus, riding/driving)
Severe claustrophobia when seated inside a mode of transport.
Overthinking travel – and building worst-case scenarios such as turbulence, crashing, being stranded somewhere, etc.
Fear of becoming victims of crime when in another place.
Fear of meeting new people or experiencing cultures different from yours.
Unfounded fears regarding accommodations, the itinerary, food, etc.
Worry about your home and relations while you’re traveling.
Rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, hunger, and restlessness before and during travel.
Simple and effective tips for managing travel anxiety
To help you, we’ve compiled a few tips that you can manage your travel anxiety when you’re moving around –
Identify your triggers and find a workaround
Let’s say your trigger is flying and the fear of a plane crash. In that case, try to find alternative travel modes such as bus or train or car rental, that can ease the traveling.
In order to do this, you will need to identify your trigger first. For that, you will need to actually travel to experience the trigger. Take a trusted friend or a loved one with you who can offer comfort and support while traveling.
Make a list of all the things that could go wrong – and make a plan to solve them
Traveling can have some surprises. While some will be good, others may be bad. But, it helps to plan and prepare for every scenario, if you can. It helps to make a list of all the things you are worried about going wrong and find solutions for them. Get hold of embassy telephone numbers, print out a map of the destination, and record your hotel/Airbnb details where you can find them. Plan for money shortages and keep multiple cards in different places, so even if one gets lost, you’ll have the others.
Allocate household responsibilities in advance
If you’re anxious about who’ll take care of your home when you’re traveling, find a security company that can offer remote security services. If you need your house cleaned or someone to check on your pet, hire a professional who can do that during your travels. Try these services out a few weeks prior to the trip so you get comfortable with them. Make sure you plan all household responsibilities. When you do so, you won’t have any pressing problems weighing on you, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your travel.
Take distractions with you
Do books transport you to another world? Are video games something you can’t resist? Having things that distract your attention from your triggers while traveling can make your travel much easier. You’ll be more focused on what you love and enjoy rather than focusing on your anxiety. Traveling with friends and loved ones can also be a great distraction.
Medication should always be your last resort when none of these other tips work. But doctors can prescribe specific medication that makes you sleepy when taken, ensuring you are asleep or only partially awake when traveling. Take a tablet before getting on the plane can ease some of the anxiety before you get to your destination.
Remind yourself of what you gain from the travel
Sometimes, just reminding yourself of the amazing things you’ll see, taste, and experience at the destination can be enough to help you manage your travel anxiety. If you’re traveling for work, it helps to associate travel with good things like pay raises, commissions, and promotions.