Whether you have fears, phobias, or general anxiety, traveling is a surefire way to bring your issues to a head. While flying is the most common trigger (around 10 to 15 percent of air travelers experience some level of anxiety when in-flight) anxiety and fear of travel is not simply associated with boarding a plane. Just being away from home, out of your comfort zone, and in unfamiliar situations is more than enough to have some of us looking for excuses not to make a trip. But everyone wants to vacation, right?! While coping techniques are varied and there is no quick fix cure, here are nine simple ways to help you deal with travel anxiety on your next trip so you can enjoy yourself and soak up the experience.
1. Buy Travel Insurance
Whether you have a deep-rooted fear of the
consequences to you or your loved ones if something happens to you, or
you simply want the financial reassurance that missed flights and medical bills
will be reimbursed, travel insurance is a no-brainer.
2. Plan Ahead
Research the unknowns and plan
meticulously. According to Calm Clinic, starting your vacation anxiety nearly guarantees you’ll hold onto it through your trip. So reduce the potential for
surprises by researching the finer points of your trip so you have all the
answers when you inevitably begin to question yourself. You can start by
arriving early at the airport.
3. Use Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
Practice your deep breathing technique before
you head off on vacation, and rely on it while you travel — think of it as your new travel buddy. Set aside five to 10 minutes of controlled inhalation and exhalation and go to your “serene place.” Best summed up by
anxiety charity, No Panic, “Regular relaxation and the breathing technique
start to stop the production of stress hormones in the body so it becomes
harder to panic.”
4. Manage the Triggers
When you’re on vacation and feeling fine,
that is the time to bear in mind the acute triggers that preempt your travel
anxiety. It may sound like common sense but drinking alcohol to excess, eating
poorly, and a lack of sleep are all common factors that can trigger anxiety. Everyday
Health suggests that high levels of alcohol, in particular, are likely to alter the severity
5. Eat Right
Keeping blood sugar levels balanced when
you’re vacationing isn’t the easiest, so plan to snack healthy throughout your
trip. Nobody eats clean on vacation (right?!) so it’s important to pay
attention and make up for greasy, salty, and sugary (yet delicious) indiscretions by have healthy bites in between. And
drinking herbal tea won’t go amiss.
6. Stick to Your Routines
Travel is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone, but sticking to parts of your regular schedule will lend you a comforting sense of security. Exercise is recommended by the British NHS as a
method to combat stress and relieve tension. The serotonin released through
exercise can improve your mood, so it’s important not to let your routine lapse
when you travel. Make time on your vacation to stick to the exercise rituals
that help you cope at home.
7. Be Open with Your Travel Companion
Dealing with travel anxiety is hard enough
without the issues of awkwardness and embarrassment adding to the unwanted
cocktail. Be open and up front with the person or people you’re traveling with.
As well as making for one less thing to worry about, acknowledging that there
is support there if you need it will help.
8. Pick the Right Destination
Travel anxiety is aligned with life anxiety
so the things in your everyday life that cause discomfort are only likely to be
amplified on vacation. If crowded bars and packed subways are an issue,
make your vacation about serene relaxation. Try tackling your travel anxiety by
at first gently easing out of your
9. Do Yoga
A natural anti-depressant and a boost to
mental well-being, yoga offers you a lot more than the benefit of a bendy body. You don’t have to be an expert yogi to use the practice to ease your travel anxiety; a simple Downward Dog or Child’s Pose is enough to get the “GABA” flowing — “GABA” being an “important amino
acid vital for well-functioning brains.”
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