What is Travel Anxiety: Signs, Tips, Prevention, and More
Who doesn’t like to travel to places far and wide? If I had the time and resources to do so, I’d be traveling around the world, exploring cultures, learning languages, and just enjoying every moment of my life. As much as anyone loves traveling, there are times when many feel anxious about their travels. This travel anxiety can stop you from enjoying your time on trips with your loved ones.
While it’s not an official diagnosis, it could feel as real as any to anyone who feels anxious about traveling. Even though it’s not a formal term, travel anxiety or pre-trip anxiety is a real and valid experience.
Travel anxiety can prevent you from enjoying the experience, relaxing on your vacation, and even preventing the restorative rest your mind and body need. If you already struggle with anxiety disorders, then you could be more susceptible to travel anxiety, however, even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, you can still experience the pre-trip jitters.
Keep reading to learn how you can identify the symptoms and causes of your travel anxiety and 7 quick tips to overcome travel anxiety, so you can enjoy your trip without extra worries.
Travel Anxiety Symptoms: Do You Have Them?
Anxiety symptoms can be different for everyone, so what others experience doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the same. Here are some of the common travel anxiety symptoms you should look out for anyway.
If you feel anxiety before a trip, you may experience;
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of concentration
- Sleep troubles
- Panic attacks (in severe cases)
If you experience panic attacks, then you may experience trembling and shaking in your limbs, become disoriented, experience dizziness, and feel a disconnection from reality.
But what may cause travel Anxiety?
Well, if there’s been a negative experience before in your life related to travel, then it could cause you to experience pre-travel anxiety. Many people who’ve survived car accidents, airplane accidents, etc. are more likely to develop travel anxiety.
If you have a panic attack (unrelated to travel) in an unfamiliar place, city, or country, then it could also trigger travel anxiety. Sometimes, hearing about negative experiences in an area can also trigger travel anxiety.
If we talk about anxiety disorders, then having a history of the same in the family could be a reason for you developing anxiety or travel anxiety. Yes, your genes can be responsible for your pre-travel jitters.
7 Tips To Overcome Travel Anxiety
Here’s how you can cope with travel anxiety, so your vacations remain worry-free!
1. Find The Cause
Identifying what triggers your travel anxiety can go a long way in helping you overcome your travel anxiety. When you know the cause of your anxiety, it becomes easier to manage them and get them under control.
2. Do Thorough Research
Once we know what we’re facing or when we know what to expect, anxious thoughts might lose some of the effects. It’s OK to feel out of control when you’re unaware of the circumstances, so do thorough research before traveling.
Read the reviews of the places you’ll be staying in, and the destinations you will be visiting, or talk to people who have already been there or live there. This will help you calm your anxious thoughts.
3. Plan Ahead
Before traveling, plan ahead of time so that there’s no fear of the unknown making you feel anxious. I understand that you can’t plan for everything, but planning can help you cover all the worst-scenario cases that your anxiety throws at you.
Try to book your accommodations beforehand, reserve the rentals, plan out an itinerary, schedule your transportation, keep a backup for your important documents, bring your self-care kit with you, etc.
4. Try Grounding Exercises
When we become anxious, it’s normal to spiral downwards and forget about the now. You can learn to stay in the present and not lose yourself in your worries by practicing grounding exercises. These exercises can help you soothe your worries and calm down your physical anxiety response.
Here are some quick grounding exercises you can try;
- The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
- EFT tapping
- 1 or 2-minute mindfulness
- Deep breathing
- Fidget toys
5. Don’t Forget Self-Care
Traveling – planning and executing – can be exhausting and can make the negative and anxious thoughts worse. To prevent this, you can try your self-care routine. Now, you might wonder, “How can I practice self-care while traveling?”
Well, I have some simple self-care tips you can try;
- Quick meditation in the morning
- Setting positive intentions
- Deep breathing when stressed
- Eating a comfort meal
- Listening to music, or
- Drinking a cup of hot tea
6. Listen To The Positive Thoughts
While the temptation to listen to anxious thoughts may be heavy, make sure you intentionally pay attention to the positive ones. Think about the most exciting activity you want to try on your trip. Remind yourself about the fun things you’ll be trying on your trip.
Having anxiety does not mean that you can’t enjoy your travels. You can still enjoy your trip while struggling with anxiety. Just remember to acknowledge your feelings and actively try to manage them.
7. Talk To Someone
If you are struggling with anxiety before a trip, then you can talk to your support group or a loved one to express your concerns. A loved one or a support person can help you make sense of your thoughts and support your moments. You can also connect with your loved ones while on your trip.
If your anxiety becomes overwhelming, then you can talk to your therapist about it – either beforehand or during the trip. They can be a good source of support during anxious times.
Traveling Can Be Fun…
Even if you struggle with anxiety. Travel anxiety is common, but not impossible to overcome. With the right coping skills and relaxation techniques, you can learn to overcome your travel anxiety and enjoy your trip worry-free.
Just keep the above tips in mind. Know your triggers, research beforehand, be ready for everything, and most importantly, don’t forget to give yourself some self-care time.
Traveling doesn’t have to be a source of discomfort anymore! I hope these tips will help you manage your pre-travel anxiety and soothe your anxiety while traveling.
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Stay Safe and Happy Travels!