Anxiety and traveling for some people aren’t a good mix. For some people who don’t suffer from general anxiety like myself, they can suffer from travel anxiety. The act of traveling alone can cause anxious feelings and can even result in panic attacks which can seriously make a vacation turn sour.
One of my biggest fears since I deal with anxiety is letting it ruin things I want to do, and one of the main things I want to do in life is travel. Because of this I do try to take my traveling as relaxed, simple, and as smooth as possible. So here are some tips so that you can do the same!
- Keep mental list of where all of your important documents are. If you’re going international be sure to keep your passport and boarding pass together, as well as any other documents you might be. For example in the fall when I get off the plane I’ll make sure to have my passport and entry note in my hand.
- Have a plan for the travels. If it’s a new airport, look up where your terminal is online. Know where you’re supposed to go and be. Have print out directions and use your phone or GPS to travel. It often helps if you have various sources to ensure you’re traveling to the right place.
- Have a plan for the arrival. If you have something to look forward to it can make the traveling process seem more worth it. If you have anxiety about being away from home, you can do a countdown of day until you get to leave, just don’t forget to enjoy your time away. If the journey makes you anxious looking forward to what the reward is can really help to relax your mind.
- Bring comforts. For some the unfamiliarity of traveling can cause anxiety, if you have something that comforts you and you have the ability to bring it along, do it. It’ll definitely make the journey easier.
- Know things can go wrong. I honestly go into everything expecting the worst. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you travel, if you’re prepared for them it won’t make them seem as bad.
- Be early. I know this is like my life motto, if you aren’t early you’re late, but when it comes to travelling it’s true. I would rather sit in an airport for three hours and people watch than trying to rush through security and running to my terminal. Same goes for driving, you can’t always plan for traffic. Leave early. Always be early. Rushing can cause anxiety, so the less of it you can do the better.
- Plan ahead. When you set an agenda and plans months in advance you can start to prepare your mind for the travels. If you have your mind prepared you will be prepared and less anxious. This really helps for just keeping a sound mind.
- Be ready for panic attacks. Be ready to calm yourself down. If you can have exit strategies, if you can’t try to have someone with you who understands. If you can’t do that either, make sure if anyone notices they understand what is going on. The last thing you want is a lot of attention because it will only fuel the anxiety. If you’re on the plane take a little walk through the aisles so you feel less claustrophobic. If you are in a car, pull over. Know how to slow down the panic or stop it, or know techniques that work for other people. It really is the worse case scenario that this would happen, but it does, and helps if you are prepared.
- Create a happy place. Make a distraction from whatever is stressing you out. Try to focus on something that doesn’t fuel the anxiety. Make a happy place in your mind where you can go when you close your eyes.
- Take a break. When you feel anxious sometimes you need a break. You just need to take a step back and breathe. Walk away, refresh your mind, don’t forget to drink lots of water. Take care of yourself. If you have to remove yourself, do it. You know your limits, don’t forget them.
Don’t let anxiety ruin adventure and travel for you. There’s so much to see and do in the world, and if you don’t want to see it that’s okay, but if you do, don’t let anxiety take that away. I am so afraid of that, but it also helps me be aware. You can travel with anxiety, it doesn’t have to stop you, I refuse to let it stop me.