Travel can be an incredible experience, but there are some people who feel anxiety and worry long before they feel the excitement. A little bit of trepidation can be a good thing, it can help us double and triple check our documents, and keep us aware of our surroundings.
But too much can ruin the excitement we are supposed to feel when we get to a new place.
So if you have a trip coming up, or anxiety has helped you back from making a booking here are a couple of tips that can help you manage your expectations and make the trip as exciting as it should be.
Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash
What is travel anxiety?
Sometimes we’re nervous about the flight, hotel, and how we’re going to find our way around a new city. For some people, this anxiety only intensifies with time and the more they do it.
Travel anxiety in its simplest form is fear of the unfamiliar. It can start early in the process when you are faced with google maps, unfamiliar languages and other things that might be out of your comfort zone.
There are several things that are associated with travel anxiety:
- Feeling of claustrophobia on the train, plane, ship or in the car – this can extend to the hotel room
- The fear of a crash
- Air turbulence, choppy waters or lousy weather for driving
- Communicating with people, you don’t know
Even if you know that travel is statistically safe and that many tourists have been there before you – it isn’t an experience you have had, and therefore it remains unknown to you.
Travel anxiety can be made worse by reading travel horror stories or seeking out bad reviews – where there are probably more good ones.
So how can you carefully handle your travel anxiety and ensure that you have a comfortable trip?
Reducing travel anxiety
There are some specific things that travellers need to be aware of, and they add layers of concerns. The ever-changing travel landscape of covid-19 and travel needs to be well researched. Specific pandemic travel tips will apply on a country by country basis.
To tackle general travel anxiety, here are some great tips:
While it is essential to avoid horror stories, it is equally crucial to research. Ahead of booking a hotel, go through the reviews on a website like Tripadvisor, or search for travel blogs that have reviews for that hotel.
You can begin to get an idea of the service and support you will get there, as well as the quality of the food and the rooms.
The same goes for anywhere you plan to eat, the route from the airport to the hotel and more. Have a clear idea of all options and which ones will work best for you.
Long before your travel, start practising mindfulness. So that when the travelling begins, you can help keep yourself calm by using breathing techniques.
To help with your mindfulness, when it is safe to do so, here are some ways that you can help to keep yourself as calm as possible:
1. Invest in Ear Plugs
The noise from the aeroplane can be daunting, and if there is a storm outside, it can be challenging to sleep. But with earplugs in place, the sound will be dampened significantly, and you’ll feel much more comfortable.
2. Stay Hydrated
On long flights, your body loses fluids at an alarming rate due to the dry cabin air and dehydrating drinks. To avoid feeling sluggish during your flight, drink plenty of water throughout the day before take-off to stay hydrated.
3. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises
If you’re experiencing anxiety or panic attacks when flying, take some time to practice deep breathing exercises. A suggestion is an in-breath of eight; holding for four and releasing for eight can help you steady your breath very well.
It is essential to give yourself permission to feel your anxiety. When we try to hide our travel anxiety, it can feel worse. It is vital to permit yourself to take some time out when you feel overwhelmed.
It’s ok to admit that you are anxious and ask for help. There is no shame in it! You will likely find that other people have felt or still feel the same way as you do.
Seek out those who seem like they would be a good support system for you and talk about your feelings with them. Often it can be a great idea to travel with friends who understand how you feel, as they are usually pleased to help you through it and make the trip exciting!
A great tip can be to start small: a short break can be the perfect thing to help: 7 Top Tips for the Perfect Weekend Away – modelonamission.