Struggling With Travel Anxiety? Try These Easy-To-Do Tips

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Rushing to the airport. Death gripping your seat during turbulence. Crowded streets. Vacations aren’t always the carefree, blissful experience the commercials sell you.

Not all of us experience travel anxiety but for those who do, it can ruin a much-needed break. To help calm your nerves and ensure you have the vacation you truly deserve, we’ve put together a list of tips to wash away your worries when traveling.

Know Your Triggers

Travel anxiety
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For those who have been living with anxiety, you’ll know that certain situations are more likely to trigger worry and fear. This is no different when it comes to traveling, you will be anxious for a reason and it’s good to know what that might be.

Some travel-based triggers include:

  • Fear of flying
  • Getting sick whilst away
  • Worrying about money
  • Losing your luggage

These are all very common and natural worries to have. As humans, we fear the unknown, and travel is full of unknowns.

Other stress-related triggers could make your travel anxiety worse, so it’s good to know what they are for you. For example, many people will experience a bump in stress when their blood sugar levels are off, or when they aren’t getting enough high-quality sleep.

Once you know your triggers, you can start preparing.

Build a Plan

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So now you know and understand your triggers, you can start to build a plan to prevent or dampen them while you travel.

Write down all of your triggers and your worries. Expand on them and really ask yourself, “Why does this worry me?”. Then read what you’ve written down but imagine a close friend or family member is telling you all this. It can sometimes help to actually visualize the person and the concern on their face. Now, write down exactly what you would say to this person to help calm their fears, going through each individual worry.

For example, you might have written, “I’m worried about how much money this trip is going to cost me. I find money stressful most of the time and spending lots of money on a vacation doesn’t seem smart.”

You might say something like this to help support a worried loved one, “I’m sorry this is causing you such concern, but we can sort this out. Let’s build a daily spending amount that works with your budget, that way you’ll know exactly how much you can spend each day. Plus, let’s do some research before you leave and find the best, affordable deals so you know you won’t overspend!”

We typically know the answers to our worries ourselves, it’s just very hard to find them when you’re in the midst of it all. By taking a step back and imagining someone you love in your position, most of the time, you’ll find you have the right answers yourself!

Take a Breath

Travel anxiety breathing
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We all do it without even realizing it, but did you know breathing has the power to calm you, reduce your heart rate and your blood pressure, and help you sleep better?

Next time you feel stressed, take a moment to check in with your breathing and see how it feels. Is it shallow? Short and sharp? Up in your chest? By simply being aware of your breath and gently changing it when you begin to feel stressed, you can make a real difference.

Do a bit of research on different types of breathing work, such as 4-6 breathing or the 4-7-8 technique. They both can be done anywhere, at any time, and are 100% free!

Distract Yourself

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Sometimes our brains can be so busy that focusing on our breath doesn’t feel possible. That’s OK; when that happens, it’s time to bring out the distractions.

Maybe it’s music or a podcast, a puzzle, or a game on your phone, whatever holds your attention and can help bring you out of worry is worth bringing along on your vacation. For those of you who love a good book, why not arrive at the airport a little earlier and treat yourself to a new read at one of the terminal bookshops.

Visualize Your Vacation

Travel anxiety visualize
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Many people can feel calmer when they know what their destination will look like. Thankfully in 2023, that couldn’t be easier.

Most hotels offer pictures and videos, showcasing the rooms, the lobby, swimming pools, and dining areas. If you’re using Airbnb, all listings must have good pictures of the property. If you’re really high-tech (or have a family member who is), you can now use virtual reality headsets to truly immerse yourself in your soon-to-be vacation paradise!

If you’re a little less tech-savvy, use Google Earth and its street view function to explore the surrounding location of your vacation home and get to know the local area!

Bring a Pal

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Sometimes all we need is someone we know and trust to give us a boost of confidence. If you’re worried about being on your own, although solo travel can be incredible, invite a friend or family member with you. It’s best to pick someone who is understanding of travel anxiety and someone you can be open and honest with.

Leave Your Home Spick and Span

Travel anxiety clean home
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There’s nothing worse than boarding a plane and thinking you left the cooker on or worrying if you locked the front door. Before leaving for your vacation, make sure to set time aside to clean and sort out your home.

It might be best to leave a spare set of keys with a friend or neighbor who could check in from time to time. There’s nothing quite like coming home to a clean and tidy house after a great vacation, knowing you have nothing to do but curl up in bed and dream of your time away.

Think of the Positives

Travel anxiety clean home
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We humans have evolved to scan for danger; if we hadn’t, most of our ancestors would have been eaten by lions or other hungry predators. As a result, we can lean into the negative more than the positive.

But that doesn’t mean it has to always be like that! Next time you notice your brain thinking of all the negative possibilities around your trip, grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you’re excited about. Maybe you can’t wait to unwind by the pool, or there’s a delicious dish waiting for you, or you’re meeting up with someone you haven’t seen for ages.

Keep that list handy and take it out when you notice your brain is spiraling into the negative.

Consider Seeing Your Doctor

Travel anxiety doctor
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If travel anxiety is taking over your life and stopping you from doing other things, it might be time to visit your doctor. They’ll be the right person to answer your questions and address your worries. They may suggest some form of therapy and/or medication to help you through this period.

On the other side of travel anxiety is excitement, fun, and adventure. Be kind to yourself, and you will get there at your own pace!

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