How to Calm Travel Anxiety So You Can Actually Enjoy Your Trip
After years of lockdowns and stifled travel plans, the idea of going on an adventure seems exciting.
And while travel can be thrilling and fun, it can also be exhausting and stressful.
Instead of feeling anticipation and excitement, upcoming travel events can leave you with a sense of dread and anxiety.
Is travel anxiety a thing?
Absolutely. The stress of planning a trip, plus fear around leaving your comfort zone and visiting unfamiliar places can lead to travel anxiety.
Although it isn’t an officially diagnosed condition, travel anxiety can become so serious that it stops people from going on holiday or enjoying any aspect of travel.
What causes travel anxiety?
There can be many reasons you feel anxious about travel. If you have:
- an existing anxiety disorder
- already had a negative travel experience
- been in an accident
- had a panic attack in an unfamiliar place
You may become anxious leading up to a trip, or worry that accidents will occur. You may become concerned about having another negative travel experience or fear that you’ll have a panic attack again.
Symptoms of travel anxiety
Anxiety shows up in lots of different ways. Which means anxiety about travel can manifest itself as physical symptoms such as:
- difficulty breathing
- nausea or diarrhoea
Or travel anxiety might show up as changes in mood such as:
- increased need for reassurance
- becoming withdrawn
How To Calm Travel Anxiety
1. Listen to meditones
Meditones can help you rest in unfamiliar environments and also provide relief from jet lag.
This is because meditones stimulate brain waves similar to sleep. So they’ll help you rest during your journey, and refresh you at your new destination.
Plus – because they help you stay calm, meditones are also fantastic if you have a fear of flying. Just pop on your noise-cancelling headphones, close your eyes and relax.
I am going to have meditones on me on every flight I get on. Travel anxiety is unfortunately a real thing in my life and I just know they are going to help. ~ Jade
2. Think of your why
Whenever you start feeling stressed about your trip, remind yourself why you want to travel.
Is it to see friends & family you miss? To explore a new country or place? Or professional development for work?
Tapping into your why for travel can help you stay calm and positive about your upcoming experience.
3. Make a plan then let go
Anxiety often arises from feeling like you’re not in control. So a great way to calm travel anxiety is to plan out the first few days of your trip.
- Look up the website of your destination airport to get familiar with the layout and a route through the building
- Book a taxi from the airport to your accommodation so you don’t need to try to figure out public transport on your first day
- Download travel apps such as Google Maps, Pocket Earth & Rome2Rio before you leave so you’ll have access to local maps when you arrive
- Space out your itinerary so you have time to rest on your trip
Once you’ve made a plan, it’s time to let go so you don’t get trapped in overthinking and overplanning. To let go:
- Commit to taking things one step at a time
- Be willing to be open to change and spontaneity in case plans change
- Use the calming tools you have like meditones to stay calm if things go awry
4. Extend your exhale
Have you ever found yourself sighing when you feel stressed? This is because a deep exhale activates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms you down.
Wherever you are, if you start to feel your travel anxiety increasing, focus on making your exhale longer.
There’s no need to count or keep time. Simply inhale into the belly, and exhale slowly and gently. You could purse your lips or even puff out your cheeks if it’s comfortable, to slow the breath down even more.
Keep breathing slowly and exhaling deeply for as long as you need.
You can find an Extended Exhale meditones track inside the Restful app!
5. Get professional help
There is no shame in needing professional support for your travel anxiety.
If you are really struggling with the thought of leaving the house, or any travel at all, reach out to a trauma-informed therapist. They may be able to offer more personalised support for you.
Or you may even require some prescription medication from your doctor to help calm your nerves. Either way, you’ll have more support that can help you get out and enjoy your trip.
Soothing travel anxiety is possible. There’s a lot you can do beforehand to plan for the best experience, and to calm yourself while you’re travelling.
By giving yourself some time to prepare and using calming tools during travel, you’ll be coping better with travel anxiety and enjoying the journey.