Traveling is wonderful and exciting — it’s the chance to open up your worldview, have new experiences, and learn about other cultures. On the other hand, traveling is stressful and draining — it involves planning ahead, spending money, and plenty can go wrong. In other words, travel can be anxiety-inducing.
Anxiety can turn a fantastic adventure into an unpleasant experience. Don’t let it hold you back from enjoying your travels. Before your next trip, do your best to conquer your travel anxiety.
- Find the Source
Do you hate flying? Does planning stress you out? Do you get anxious when you spend money? Is it difficult to find a responsible pet, house, or babysitter? Do you fret over all the different ways that something bad could happen on your trip?
Before doing anything else, try to identify the source of your feelings. What is causing you to feel anxious? If you’re unsure, take some time to think about why you’re anxious. It’s impossible to fix the issue if you don’t know what the problem actually is.
2. Try to Relax
Once you’ve discovered the root of your anxiety, do your best to address it head-on. Oftentimes, people who experience travel anxiety also deal with general anxiety. To overcome travel anxiety, try using tools for coping with general anxiety.
Work on incorporating different methods into your daily schedule before leaving on your trip. Set aside time every day to do something that relaxes you, whether that’s exercise, meditation, or catching up on Netflix.
However, don’t let your relaxation techniques fall by the wayside once you leave. They can be helpful for dealing with unexpected situations on your trip. Accept that something unexpected will likely happen, no matter how well you plan or how much you hope it won’t.
3. Plan and Prepare
Prepare for your trip as much as possible in advance. You’ll feel better and more in control of the situation if you know what to expect. Before you leave, take care of the following:
- If you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before, research your destination thoroughly. Figure out what you want to do and see so you don’t miss out on anything that interests you.
- Book plane tickets and accommodations well before you leave. Research the best way to get around once you arrive at your destination, and book buses, trains, or a rental car if necessary.
- Worried about leaving something important behind? Make a list of your travel necessities, including everything from electronics to your socks. Be sure to include a checklist for medical items and information and important documents.
- Find a reliable house, pet, or babysitter as quickly as possible. Have an alternate person in mind, in case your first choice cancels or an emergency comes up.
- Leave your itinerary and important information, such as copies of IDs and debit cards, with a trusted friend or family member. If you lose anything, reporting it missing will be easier if you can still access card or ID numbers.
4. Travel with a partner
If you weren’t already planning on it, ask someone to join you on your trip. Regardless of the source, a reliable travel partner can help calm you down if you’re anxious and solve problems that cause it. Aside from that, traveling with someone else allows you to share unique experiences, share costs of lodging and food, and can make the journey even more fun.
Be sure to choose your travel companion wisely. You need to get along with them well, because the wrong person could leave you both stressed and miserable for the duration of the trip. Think of people you trust, know well, and are okay disagreeing with. Your travel partner should add to the experience, not detract from it.
5. Think About Intentions
Think about the reason you decided to travel in the first place. Focus on your intentions to overcome your fears and soothe your worries. Hopefully the reason why will empower you to let go of your anxiety and concentrate on all the enjoyable parts of traveling.
If nothing else, listen to Shilpa Shah’s advice: “Unfamiliar experiences that take you outside of your comfort zone challenge you in a way that’s different from your day-to-day. This can fuel fresh perspectives, reveal unknown strengths and give renewed purpose.”
Overcoming anxiety is easier said than done and coping with it can be a more complex issue than using the above tips. But if you have any interest in or desire to travel, do your best to conquer your travel anxiety. After all, you never know what you might discover about the world or yourself.
Madison Ann Baker is a writer, Netflix-binger, and pop culture enthusiast who lives in Idaho. Literature and linguistics are her two passions, both of which she studied in college. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog and binge-reading fantasy novels.