As the travel season kicks in, typically during the summer, scores of excited adventurers are busy looking at glossy brochures to plan their next trip and pack their bags. The idea of traveling to new or known places is thrilling to many people, but it causes anxiety in others. But, the excitement of enjoying a relaxing vacation can get stopped in its tracks when just the idea of going on a trip makes your travel anxiety flare up.
There are so many factors that can cause you to become anxious when you travel. You may get tense at the idea of meeting new people, trying out new food, being away from familiar surroundings, or something else. It can take the joy of travel completely away if you let it.
If traveling stresses you out, here are some suggestions on how to deal with it.
1. Plan and prepare beforehand
Before you start making travel plans, give some thought as to how you will handle your travel anxiety if it disrupts your mental state during your trip. Even the expectation of an uneasy trip may bring up uncertainty or stress. If you are one to suddenly have a panic attack, have a plan to cope with it.
Visualization, deep breathing techniques, and meditation are excellent tools you can use to counter a panic attack. Think about what works best for you, whether it’s playing a game of chess on your phone, drinking a cup of soothing tea, or simply taking deep breaths.
Start practicing relaxation and self-help techniques in the weeks before your departure and make it a daily practice. That way you will get a handle on your stress if it overwhelms you while you are traveling.
2. Find ways to move your focus away from your symptoms
People often obsess about the symptoms of anxiety while traveling. You can alieve that if you shift your focus somewhere else. Rather than focus on what makes you tense, try to stay busy with other activities like reading a favorite book or magazine, or listen to soothing music.
Divert your attention to happier thoughts or picture yourself in a serene environment to banish your negative thoughts. You can also repeat affirmations to center your mind on peace and calm. Repeat phrases that you are safe and the feelings will begin to go away. Focus on your breathing to calm your mind.
Breathe purposefully and slowly by becoming aware of your breaths. Embrace each deep inhalation that fills your lungs and every refreshing exhalation. As your breath steadies, your body will begin to calm down.
If an intense feeling of anxiety and panic comes over you, do stretching exercises, practice PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) techniques, or sitting yoga postures to ease your tension.
You can also focus on all the things that you are looking forward to on your trip. Think about what you have planned on your itinerary. Even if you are traveling for work, you can always check out a new eatery, get a massage, or maybe even do a bit of sightseeing. Let your excitement for all your upcoming activities take over the worries.
3. Take a friend with you on your trip
If you suffer from travel anxiety you may feel better traveling with someone who makes you feel safe and comfortable. That may be a family member or a dear friend. Let them know about your travel anxiety and fears. That way they can help you cope with your symptoms and make you feel more secure while you are traveling. In most cases, just having someone there will make you feel calmer so you can enjoy your trip.
4. Talk to your doctor before traveling
If you have severe travel anxiety, consult your healthcare provider or doctor about your fears and concerns. They will be able to deal with your underlying conditions or issues, such as aerophobia (fear of flying) or agoraphobia. Your doctor will also be able to prescribe the proper medications to treat your symptoms.
Traveling during uncertain times
There may be factors that aren’t under your control that could make you fearful of traveling like the recent pandemic. If that happens make sure to read all travel advisories and take precautions like having the proper immunizations. But don’t let fear prevent you from experiencing the joy of travel. With proper planning ahead of time, you will be able to enjoy your next trip without travel anxiety.