It’s normal to feel some anxiety as you travel somewhere new, encounter new experiences and put yourself out of your comfort zone. However, there’s no need to let your travel anxiety stop you from enjoying the time you spend away from home. From planning ahead through to making a packing list, we’ve put together our top tips for dealing with travel anxiety.
Choose a destination that will feel comfortable
When planning your holiday, be sure to take into consideration the things that trigger your travel anxiety, such as not being able to understand the local language, having to travel on overcrowded public transport, and so on, and choose a destination that will allow you to feel comfortable. If being in unfamiliar crowded places triggers your anxieties, head somewhere with fewer people. If not knowing the local language makes you anxious, pick a country where you are able to communicate easily.
Set some time aside before you leave to sit down, do some research and build yourself an itinerary. Although you may not follow your planned itinerary completely, it allows you to get an idea of where you’ll be each day, what you are going to do, where you’re going to stay and how you’ll get there. Doing this simple task takes away some of the fear of the unknown and can give you a great practical guide to use once you’ve made it to your destination. When planning your itinerary, be sure to also leave plenty of time for connecting flights, trains and buses, and to factor in arriving at transit terminals ahead of time.
Make a packing list
Before you start to pack your suitcase, create a packing list detailing everything that you want, and need, to take with you on your trip. Not only will you feel organised and in control of packing, but you’ll also have a handy guide that will ensure that you don’t leave anything behind during your travels.
Purchase travel insurance
If you’re heading overseas or just interstate, it’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance, whether you suffer from travel anxiety or not. Helping to cover the costs if you get sick, lose your luggage or face other unfortunate events, travel insurance takes away the stress of countless worst-case scenarios and offers some peace of mind.
Avoid things that trigger your travel anxiety
As with choosing a destination that will make your feel comfortable, avoiding things that you know will trigger your anxiety is an easy way to make your travel experience a whole lot more enjoyable. For many people avoiding alcohol and caffeine is good idea, as this can cause heightened anxieties. And be sure to eat regularly to prevent a drop in blood sugar levels too.
Follow parts of your regular routine
If you’re heading to a destination you’ve never been to before, it’s easy to feel out of control of your holiday. If you can, it’s a good idea to follow some parts of your regular daily routine to provide a sense of normality. Go for a morning run like you do each day back home, get enough sleep or simply choose to eat well where you can.
Practice relaxation and meditation techniques
Relaxation and meditation techniques are a great way to re-centre your mind and distract yourself from the things that are triggering your travel anxiety. Look up techniques online, download a meditation app or simply take a moment to breathe deeply and focus on something besides your trigger.
Take time out when you need
Travelling to a destination for the first time can be a stressful and tiring experience, especially when you’ve planned an exciting itinerary full of activities. Set aside some time to relax and recuperate when you need to and don’t be afraid to miss a few attractions here and there. It’s more important to look after yourself and feel well than it is to rush around feeling unhappy.
Pack things that calm you
Whether it’s your favourite book, some music that puts you in a good mood, a journal or even a mobile app, it’s a good idea to take along a few things that will distract and calm you when you’re feeling anxious. Be sure to have your calming distractions packed within easy reach, such as in your hand luggage or your day pack, to avoid any unnecessary stress when it comes to finding them amongst your belongings.
Talk to a doctor
At the end of the day, it’s often best to seek professional advice on how best to deal with your travel anxiety. Book an appointment with your doctor and discuss your anxieties and the appropriate treatments that may help you travel worry-free.