For some people, traveling is second nature. It’s easy for them to uproot themselves from their safe spaces and journey out into the great unknown.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for everyone. Some people experience major travel anxiety when they find themselves somewhere new. Some people also struggle with their mental wellness during the holidays, especially if it requires them to travel to unfamiliar places to be with loved ones.
Even with all the excitement in the world about enjoying celebrations, it doesn’t make travel anxiety any easier to overcome.
So, if you’ve been trying to figure out how to manage travel anxiety, we’ve got some suggestions that you can use to take back control of your mental wellness during your next vacation.
Before we get to that, let’s discuss what travel anxiety is, the different types of travel anxiety, and some common travel anxiety symptoms you can watch for.
Then, we’ll offer some tips on meditation for travel anxiety to better manage, the next time you set out to explore.
Travel anxiety is the fear of visiting a new place, an unfamiliar area, or the stress of following through on travel plans.
This might sound pretty broad-reaching, but that’s because it is. Not all travel anxieties are crippling, but some of them can be.
Sometimes unplanned stressors on vacation can trigger bouts of travel anxiety when you’d least suspect it.
This typically isn’t a diagnosed mental health condition, unless it’s extremely severe. However, if you find yourself wound tightly every time you’re preparing to leave for a trip, or struggle to keep your composure while making your way to your destination, there’s a chance travel anxiety is what you’re experiencing.
There’s a big difference between pre-travel anxiety and travel anxiety that occurs while you’re on the move.
Pre-travel anxiety could be any anxiety that you feel leading up to your trip. This could involve planning your travel route, booking hotels, rental vehicles, or flights.
It could even revolve around concerns about poor weather during your trip, especially if you’re planning a camping trip or a beach vacation during bad weather seasons.
Other forms of travel anxiety that happen tend to be focused on more localized triggers. Someone with a fear of flying might experience travel anxiety at the airport or once they take off on their flight.
Someone who dislikes crowds may find traveling to busy tourist trap areas extremely stressful or have a difficult time traveling on vehicles with numerous other passengers.
It’s important to understand the differences between pre-travel anxiety and travel anxiety during trips. This is because once you identify the specific triggers of your anxiety, you’ll be more likely to find techniques to help you manage and treat those feelings.
When you’re traveling with someone who suffers from travel anxiety, it’s good to know what symptoms you can watch for.
This way, if they’re having a particularly hard time, you can either help them or give them space, depending on what their needs may be.
Overall, travel anxiety symptoms are very similar to those of other forms of anxiety:
- Irritability or restlessness
- Indigestion, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing (sometimes leading to hyperventilation)
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pains or tightness
- Difficulty focusing
If you think your travel partner is experiencing a bout of travel anxiety symptoms, talk to them. Good, open communication is absolutely crucial in how to manage travel anxiety.
Another key piece of information to keep in mind is that you should react differently if you’re trying to avoid travel anxiety, or if you’re trying to calm travel anxiety that’s already occurring.
This allows you to be proactive if you’re trying to figure out how to avoid travel anxiety.
The most important thing to remember here is to avoid known anxiety triggers, as much as possible.
Do you have a fear of flying? Consider driving to your destination instead. Nervous about being in an area you don’t recognize or afraid you might get lost while exploring? Do some research before your trip, so that you know the ins and outs of the region you’re visiting.
Making small accommodations for someone with flying travel anxiety is a kind way to help improve their entire trip.
Taking the time to acknowledge, address, and figure out how to avoid travel anxiety triggers on your vacation is the best way for you to have a positive, mindful trip.
Learning how to calm travel anxiety really depends on the type of anxiety you’re experiencing, its severity, and its triggers.
There are a few different techniques you can try when you’re figuring out how to calm travel anxiety.
Some people use travel anxiety medications to curb their stress, but if you don’t want to be forced into taking pills every time you travel, this isn’t an ideal solution.
Breathing exercises are a great method for how to calm travel anxiety. You can also do some light stretches, or even a low-impact workout to burn off some of those anxious emotions.
This leads us to one of the most useful tools you can keep in your self-care toolbelt – travel anxiety meditation.
Grab your meditation cushion, find somewhere comfortable, and if possible, quiet.
Close your eyes, focus on controlling your breathing and clear your mind. When you have travel anxiety, meditation is a fantastic way to get your emotions in check and center your mind.
Some people focus on a single phrase or sound called a ‘mantra’, which they quietly repeat to themselves over and over, to help them wipe other thoughts from their heads.
Others don’t need a mantra but prefer to find an area that’s truly separated from everyone else. Some people even enjoy meditating in the dark, or at very specific times during the day. Others use guided meditation techniques to put themselves in the right headspace.
Whatever works is the best choice, there’s no cut and dry right or wrong ways to do travel anxiety meditation.
We couldn’t meditate in the dark (we’d end up falling asleep), but if you find a meditation set-up that works well for you, then stick to it. Meditation is incredibly personal, so you need to focus on whatever works best for you.
This is a discussion that you should consider having with your doctor.
There are lots of travel anxiety medications, some over-the-counter and some prescription, like Xanax.
Getaway Well believes that natural healing and remedies are the best courses of action, whenever possible. However, sometimes you may require a stronger travel anxiety medication to control severe or overwhelming feelings of anxiety while traveling.
Like so many elements of self-care, you should listen to your inner voice and focus on making choices that improve your quality of life. So, if that means taking prescription travel anxiety medications at the recommendation of your doctor, then you shouldn’t think any less of yourself.
For many people with anxiety, a combination of all of these suggestions works best to help control and manage their anxious feelings. Amazon also has several natural anxiety remedies you can try, if you don’t want to resort to traditional travel anxiety medications.
The most important thing to focus on here is to ensure that you set yourself up to Getaway Well. Otherwise, why take a vacation at all?