Although the idea of enjoying glistening beaches and delicious cocktails is exciting, the complications that come with the trip can cause panic. In some cases, these feelings are so strong that they turn into travel anxiety.
If you know someone who feels this way, or if you suffer from it yourself, let us give you some advice on how to avoid travel anxiety.
Travel anxiety is the panic of visiting an unfamiliar place, planning your travel, or even getting on a plane. While it isn’t an officially diagnosed condition, travel anxiety can hinder people from enjoying life with ease, stopping them from going on vacation.
Even if you don’t have a history of anxiety, the prospect of being in unfamiliar terrain can make you feel anxious. For that reason, facing the problem and getting help is necessary so that these feelings don’t keep you from enjoying your trips to the fullest. Read on to learn how to avoid travel anxiety.
Travel anxiety has no single cause, and the triggers change from person to person. Some people suffer from travel anxiety for the rest of their life. It’s also possible you’ll develop it following a negative trip experience or that you have it for no apparent cause.
Still, if you have some pre-existing issues, they will influence the feeling of anxiety. You may want to consider the following:
The fear of flying is one of the most common difficulties among persons who suffer from travel anxiety. This fear could be brought on by:
- Landing and takeoff
- Fears of crashing if you fly miles above the land
- Feelings of claustrophobia
If you can’t stop thinking about that horror story your friend told you when they were overseas, you may have associated traveling with tragedy. Hearing a lot of bad news about crimes and emergencies that happen to people while traveling can affect your psychological well-being.
You may not be anxious before you go, but once you’re on the road, it can catch up with you. You might be concerned about:
- When you arrive, the specifics of your lodgings will be given to you.
- The discomfort of being in a new environment, such as not knowing the local language or people.
- The consequences of jet lag
- How do you get to the places you need to go, such as supermarkets or shopping malls?
- Not having enough money to get by for the duration of the journey
18% of the population in the United States suffers from an anxiety disorder. So, if you don’t see yourself reflected in the previous pre-existing conditions we mentioned, it may be possible that your anxiety flares up due to the upcoming changes.
The first step towards learning how to avoid travel anxiety is to recognize your symptoms. These can vary from person to person, but they will be obvious indicators of your internal nervousness.
Sleep may be difficult to come by in the days leading up to a trip for some people. It may be more difficult to fall asleep, especially if you’re concerned about your approaching trip.
On a side note, stomach trouble, muscle tension, and headaches are examples of other physical symptoms. Some people lose their appetite when they are stressed, while others are stress-eating.
Pacing or tapping a foot or fidgeting while seated is one of the most evident indications of anxiousness. If you’ve ever sat in front of someone on an aircraft whose foot is continually striking the back of your seat, you’ve seen someone who’s worried.
Besides these symptoms, some people can experience common anxiety symptoms during the trip, such as:
- Overwhelming fear (of losing control or going crazy)
- Sweating + trembling
- Breathing problems
- Choking sensation
- Pain in the chest
- A sense of being cut off from the rest of the world (derealization)
- Fear of death
- Numbness or tingling in limbs or throughout the body
- Hot flashes or chills
If your symptoms become too severe, it is vital to talk to a therapist to avoid them escalating. Moreover, using some anti-anxiety supplements can help you ease your feelings and find some peace.
While these conditions may make you feel defeated, you shouldn’t abandon your dream of exploring the world. There are several ways to avoid travel anxiety, and we want to share some of them with you for a safe, fun, and peaceful trip.
The “what if” component of traveling is the most common source of pre-travel anxiety. While no one can anticipate every worst-case situation, it’s possible to prepare for some of the most common ones, such as:
- What happens if I run out of cash? I can always get in touch with a family member or a friend. In case of an emergency, I can bring a credit card.
- What if I become separated from the group? I can bring a paper map or guidebook along with me, as well as my phone.
- What happens if I become sick on the trip? I may either buy travel health insurance before I depart or verify that my current policy will cover me. Most insurance policies give you access to a network of healthcare providers around the country.
Another tip we have for you is to identify your thoughts and make sure you deal with them before and during your trip. What are your inner monologues? Are you able to recognize your “What ifs?” Once you’ve figured out what you’re afraid of, consider whether the fear is justified. Is the severity of your worst-case scenario outweighed by the very little chance of it happening? In case you have trouble handling your triggers, you could try seeing a therapist to work on those issues.
Moreover, if you see your intrusive thoughts are taking a toll on your mind, bring some distractions and self-care activities to feel secure. Anxiety symptoms can be reduced by engaging in a favorite pastime while traveling. Try reading a book, playing a fun video game, or listening to a podcast or your favorite artist.
Finally, remind yourself why you have decided to travel. Write down all the reasons why you want to visit a new place and all the positive experiences you can get from it. If necessary, make a vision board with the places you’ll visit, the food you’d like to eat, and the emotions you’d like to feel. Take all the things you write down or your vision board with you whenever you feel anxious.