Travel Anxiety: 6 Solutions That Will Reduce It
Travel can be an exciting time with new places to see and new people to meet, but not if you suffer from travel anxiety. If you are one of the 40 million Americans that suffer from anxiety disorders, travel might seem like one of the most frightening things you could possibly face.
To help you feel more at ease, here are six tips for reducing travel-related anxiety:
1. Do Your Homework
Many of the fears about travel relate to the unknown. By researching ahead of time, you can have more control over some of these unknowns and be as prepared as possible.
For example, if you are afraid of your bus or airplane crashing, it could be helpful to research the safety statistics of each mode of transport, choose the company with the best track record, and familiarize yourself with basic emergency procedures.
The same applies to personal safety. Using guide books and travel forums, learn all you can about your destination and the parts of town that are safer to walk in. These guide might also provide suggestions about possible dangers and cultural customs that you will need to prepare yourself for ahead of time.
2. Arrange a Travel Companion
Having someone to travel with can provide much-needed distraction and support to help you get through difficult transitions and situations while traveling. With someone by your side, you will have two heads to solve any problems that arise and someone to watch your bags if you want to stretch your legs or take a nap. For best results, choose a positive and inspiring travel companion for a boost in confidence and a balanced perspective if anything does go wrong.
3. Plan for Comfort
Much of our anxiety around travel stems from a fear of being uncomfortable for long periods of time and our health suffers as a result. To prevent this, read up on how to make your trip more comfortable and gear-up with items that can help, such as headphones, a pillow, blanket, water, healthy snacks, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a fresh change of clothes.
4. Use Relaxation Techniques
Taming your thoughts can go a long way towards reducing your travel anxiety and cultivating more positive associations with travel. A good place to start is by breathing deeply, closing your eyes, and visualizing all of the things you are looking forward to at your destination.
Starting a meditation practice in advance of your trip can also make you more resilient when small problems occur and help you to feel more calm in general. For additional support, doing some gentle exercises and stretches can nourish your mind and body and help you to regain your center.
5. Take Something Familiar with You
Worried about being plunged outside of your comfort zone without your usual surroundings and routine? Taking something familiar with you could help reduce travel anxiety. It could be a small photo album with pictures of family and friends, a special coffee mug, or even your favorite teddy bear (there’s no shame in having teddies!).
If you use specific health and beauty products that are hard to find elsewhere, take more than enough to cover your time away in liquid-tight bottles and make sure to take any medical prescriptions with you. Be sure to check travel recommendations and legal status (for example with medical cannabis) of any items that have varying laws in areas you’re traveling to.
6. Seek Professional Help
If these practical steps are not enough to quell your fears and anxiety about travel, consider talking to a qualified professional. Therapists and mental-health counselors have a number of tools at their disposition that could help you to transform your thought-life—and help you to have a positive and empowering trip.