Daisy McCarty

7 Ways to Cope with Travel Anxiety

Some people are born to be globetrotting free spirits. But not all of us feel carefree and relaxed when we go on a trip. Travel anxiety is very common. After all, we’re creatures of habit. When we’re separated from our normal environment, we tend to get a little unsettled. If stress and worry get out of control, it’s hard to have a good time. Here are 7 tips you can use to lower your anxiety level when you travel.

#1 Get a Travel Buddy

One of the most common travel fears is being in a strange place where you don’t know anyone. If that’s a concern for you, travel with a savvy friend or an actual tour guide. Yes, this means you won’t have as much leeway to go off the beaten path in search of adventure. But it’s a fair trade for having someone who’s got your back throughout your trip if you have travel anxiety.

#2 Work On Your Fear of Flying

The Anxiety & Stress website has some excellent strategies to help you deal with this fear in a healthy way. It’s a good idea to tell your seat mate if you have a flying phobia. The last thing you need is someone else freaking out when you show signs of stress. You can make this casual and friendly “Hi, my name is Jane Doe and I’m a pretty anxious flyer. If I start to feel uneasy, I’ll be doing some breathing exercises to help me calm down.”

#3 Leave Your Worries about Home Behind

Do you tend to worry obsessively about the security of your property while you’re gone? Stash your valuables at a trusted friend’s house for safekeeping. Have a friend or family member swing by your house every few days to check things out.

#4 Know the Rules

This applies to every aspect of travel from knowing what you can bring on an airplane to understanding the customs of the country you will be visiting. Make flashcards if you need to – anything that will give you a sense of being in control.

#5 Share Your List

If you are worried about not having everything you need on a trip, make a complete list of what you plan to bring with you (right down to the number of Q-tips). Then, show it to someone who has traveled to the locale in question before. They may be able to point out items you overlooked – and things that will cause more hassle than they are worth.

#6 Take Charge of Your Health

If you have a health concern, the thought of traveling can be even more intimidating. One way to cope with this type of travel anxiety is by learning phrases you can use to ask for assistance with your everyday medical issues (e.g., vision problems, diabetes, chronic migraines, etc). Our Rx: The Freedom to Travel Language Series audio books and iPhone/iPad apps are carefully crafted to help travelers like you.

#7 Give Yourself Permission to Worry

Yes, that’s right. Set aside one full hour to write down or talk about every single thing you are afraid will go wrong. Some of these fears will seem silly once you say them out loud. Others will seem reasonable and you can make a plan for how to deal with those situations. Get the worrying out of your system. Then tell yourself that you’ve used up all the time you have budgeted for that activity and it’s time to sit back and enjoy your trip.