Travel anxiety is not a diagnosed mental health condition. But in this day and age, it has become all too real for us.
Traveling is one of the most freeing things you can do in your life. It provides you with an opportunity to not only leave your comfort zone but also see the world.
Travel anxiety can stop you from enjoying your trips or taking a trip altogether.
Understanding what travel anxiety is and how to manage it can be a source of relief so that you can enjoy that trip you always wanted to go on.
What is travel anxiety?
Travel anxiety is simply the fear of visiting an unfamiliar place. Whether you have anxiety or not, travel anxiety can still present itself.
Most of the signs and symptoms of travel anxiety mimic that of general anxiety. And just like general anxiety, it can disrupt your life.
Often making it difficult or nearly impossible to enjoy a trip or travel altogether.
What are the symptoms of travel anxiety?
The symptoms of travel anxiety mimic those of general anxiety. However, the triggers are the key. Like any general anxiety, there are multiple triggers that you should look for if you suspect that you have travel anxiety.
Remember, anxiety symptoms differ for everyone. For more information on anxiety triggers and/or symptoms, check out the latest post: ANXIETY TRIGGERS IN BLACK WOMAN: 12 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW and ANXIETY SYMPTOMS: A POWERFUL WELLNESS GUIDE FOR THE EVERYDAY BLACK GIRL.
In the case of travel anxiety, the symptoms are simple. If you feel anxious or fearful when you think of traveling or when you travel. Chances are you have travel anxiety.
Furthermore, if the thought of travel-related activities have you feeling anxious, then travel anxiety should be a consideration.
In addition, some symptoms include but are not limited to the ones listed below.
- Rapid heart rate, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
- Nausea or diarrhea.
- Restlessness and agitation.
- Decreased concentration or trouble focusing.
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia.
How can I stop anxiety before traveling
There is no specific way to stop travel anxiety before you travel, but you can manage it. Like anxiety in general, travel anxiety is something you have to get ahead of.
If you know how to manage your anxiety, you can, in turn, manage your travel anxiety. Any good therapist will explain that stopping anxiety isn’t the main goal. Manging it is.
Learning how to manage your travel anxiety will help you not just in the present time but in the future as well. As you will have the tools, you need to manage anxiety altogether.
Is it normal to have anxiety before a trip?
Travel anxiety is more common than you think. It is normal if you experience a little bit of travel anxiety before you travel.
For most people, the excitement of the unknown can cause anxiety.
For others, it’s the fear of the unknown that causes anxiety.
But regardless of what is causing it to have a small amount of anxiety when you travel is entirely normal.
Like all types of anxiety, travel anxiety becomes problematic when it begins to alter your life. When the anxiety stops you from traveling altogether, it should be of concern and managed.
Like anything involving your mental health, learning to take control is the first step to recovery.
1. Know your anxiety triggers
One thing that people with anxiety often fail to do is learn their triggers. Anxiety is triggered by many things in our everyday life.
Knowing the triggers and what leads to our anxiety is a great way to manage your anxiety because you know what to expect.
Understanding the thoughts that lead to the anxiety or the emotions that lead to it is essential to managing your travel anxiety.
2. Practice relaxation techniques
Anxiety is one of those things that feeds off stress. Knowing relaxation techniques will help you to relax on that plane and in life.
Learning the proper methods to take deep breaths and how to sit in a relaxed position is essential. These simple techniques and more are all things that serve to help you in high times of anxiety.
Before you even think about getting on a plane or driving on your travel adventure. Take time to learn relaxation techniques that will assist you in the unlikely anxiety event while you travel.
3. Plan ahead
Planning your trip ahead of time allows you the room you need to manage that pesky travel anxiety.
Most of us get anxious because we don’t know what to expect and don’t like being caught off guard. But with a plan, we can somewhat maintain control of ourselves and the situation.
Plan your itinerary so you can have an idea of what you are doing. Be meticulous in the planning of your itinerary. You don’t have to follow it to a T, but you will have a blueprint of what to do and expect.
Besides setting an itinerary, I suggest you set money aside for a rainy day and make sure your health insurance covers you if you need it.
Plan for your home, ensuring that all bills are covered before you go or that your pets have somewhere safe to stay. Whatever you need to plan for at home and on your trip, I suggest you do it.
4. Know before you go
If your anxiety is the kind that needs to know what to expect. Don’t hesitate to do some research before your trip.
Learn a much as you can about the culture, the people, and the food. This way, you are not caught off guard, and you have an idea of what to expect and have a better chance of adjusting to your environment.
5. Establish a travel routine to set the tone for your trip
One of the secrets therapists use to assist their client who has anxiety is helping them set a routine for small stuff in their lives.
And one of the best ways to overcome travel anxiety is by developing a travel routine to set the tone for your trip.
A routine gives you familiarity and allows you to slowly process the information around you, bypassing your anxious brain that doesn’t process information and just goes straight into fear.
A routine is like an anchor, and I would definitely set one up.
6. Deal with your anxiety before you travel
Dealing with your anxiety early on is an excellent way to learn to manage it. If you deal with your stress before you travel, you will not have to worry about many things because you are well educated in anxiety management.
Dealing with your anxiety early will save you a lot of worry time and allow you to enjoy your trip.
Therefore, if you know that travel anxiety is a thing in your life, seek help professionally or do what you must to deal with it.
7. Set resealable expectation
One of the best ways for you to deal with travel anxiety is to set reasonable expectations for your trip.
That means you have to let go of that Instagram-perfect vacation and just enjoy the journey that you are on.
This way, you won’t have to worry about perfection because you are enjoying the moment.
What is perfect for someone may not be perfect for you. That is why setting reasonable expectations will greatly help you deal with your travel anxiety.
8. Distract yourself
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is through distractions. When you get on the plane, distract yourself using various methods that you use every day.
Watch a movie, listen to music, read a book, even bring your computer and do some work if you can.
The method of distraction is up to you as long as it works for you. Just be mindful of those around you.
9. Look on the bright side.
If all else fails, remember the bright side of traveling and/or why you chose to travel to your destination in the first place.
Traveling is a beautiful way to get out of your comfort zone. Especially if you are doing it alone.
It allows you the space and room you need to explore yourself and the world around you.
There is always a silver lining to the things we do and even more so for travel. Don’t forget to look on the bright side.
10. Plan for anxiety
The craziest tip that works well when one has travel anxiety is to plan for travel anxiety.
It sounds nuts but planning to have anxiety when you travel will help you manage your reactions and keep you in control.
Anxiety can be scary when we are caught off guard. But if we know, we age going to have it. There is a higher chance that we will be in control or at least manage it better.
Therefore, get yourself a travel anxiety kit. That includes all the things you need to manage your anxiety. Create a playlist, have your movies ready, breathing exercise, workout plan, etc.
11. Find A community
If you are one of many who love traveling solo, but travel anxiety is something that you’ve noticed in yourself. Then join a travel community.
Travel communities are a fantastic way to meet new people and gain companions on your solo trip.
The great thing about travel communities is that you are traveling with like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you when it comes to traveling. This way, you know you are in good hands.
12. Use a list
A packing list is suitable for multiple things. Especially when you have anxiety. Creating a packing list takes the stress of worrying and allows you the space to relax.
Making a list of what you need to pack helps clear your mind. The thing about anxiety is that anxiety occupies the mind.
If you are checking a list, it takes the stress from your mind.