How to Conquer Travel Anxiety and Enjoy Vacations

What is Travel Anxiety?

Travel anxiety is a complicated issue, one that a tremendous number of travelers from all different backgrounds and experiences deal with routinely. It can afflict anyone faced with the prospect of an upcoming trip or in the midst of an actual journey, and can result in distressing feelings and worrying sensations. As has been pointed out by the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers, “even if you have no prior history of anxiety, the stress of travel or a triggering event may cause you to suddenly develop symptoms related to anxiety.” Some travelers become anxious during the various stages of planning and preparation that go into getting ready for a trip, while others feel stressed during the experience of travel itself. In particular, scientific surveys and research studies have shown that a significant number of travelers become stressed at the prospect of plane take-offs and landings. Many people also experience anxiety when forced to deal with assorted airline problems such as flight delays and mishandled baggage. Even though traveling has the potential be a special time in your life—traveling even has many benefits for your health—the reality is that travel anxiety can prevent you from realizing those wonderful possibilities.

What Are the Symptoms of Travel Anxiety?

Common symptoms of travel or vacation anxiety include nervousness, restlessness, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, nausea, increased sweating, notable trembling, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. You’ll note that the symptoms listed above tend to share similarities with prominent symptoms of generalized anxiety; in these case, these symptoms increase in intensity when one thinks about travel or undertakes the act of travel itself.

Travel Anxiety Tips

As you contemplate how to get rid of anxiety regarding your upcoming travel, keep in mind that “one size doesn’t fit all.” Different anxiety tips work better or some people than others. However, here are a few suggestions for addressing your travel anxiety.

–Identify Your Stressors

A key first step in addressing your travel anxiety is to identify your stressors. What is it specifically about your upcoming trip that has you so worried? Maybe you’re concerned about forgetting important things at home, or you’re bothered by the prospect of having to fly—no matter the source of your stress, though, once you’ve identified it you can begin to devise creative ways to move beyond it. For example, if you’re freaking at the idea of leaving your beloved pet in a kennel, think about taking a vacation with your dog. The possibilities here are endless.

–Know What to Expect

The more knowledgeable you are ahead of time about the different aspects of your upcoming trip, the more you’ll know what to expect every step of the way. This will likely help you feel calmer in advance, as well as give you time to preemptively eliminate potential stressors from your itinerary. For instance, in order to minimize vacation anxiety, it’s crucial to consider different destinations for your trip. Some destinations might seem like fun at first, but upon closer inspection could come with a host of different anxiety triggers. As a result, you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons of each possible choice. This level of advance preparation will require research, but it’ll be worth it.

–Give Yourself a Break

No matter how excited we are for an upcoming trip, it’s not uncommon once the trip’s underway to feel a lot of pressure—pressure to fill every single minute of every single day with an unforgettable outing, memorable experience, or visit to a so-called “can’t-miss” attraction. Still, it’s really important to carve out some down-time for yourself while traveling. Even on the best of vacations, not every single moment should consist of being “on the go.”

–Make Things Easier

Along those lines, one of the best anxiety tips is really simple but quite important: make sure to remember that your vacation is intended to be an enjoyable getaway—you’re supposed to be having fun! This means you need to do whatever it takes to ensure that the whole trip—from the planning stages to the actual experience itself—is rewarding and relaxing. One great way to achieve this trip bliss is by simplifying things. This can take many forms—maybe you spend a little more money to treat yourself, maybe you get a go card to streamline your attraction visits—but whatever you decide to do, go ahead and make things easier on yourself.

–Enjoy Your Trip

As you go about planning your trip, keep in mind there are many methods for how to get rid of anxiety. So get out there and do some more research—read around to discover what truly works best for you. Just try and remember throughout this whole process that ultimately travel is supposed to be an enriching experience. Sure, parts of it can be stressful and not everything is always going to go as smoothly as you’d like. Always keep in mind, though, that a great trip or vacation is worth it.