Most people would agree that traveling is a welcoming experience. It’s a chance to leave all your cares behind and explore. These feelings, however, are not shared by everyone. For some, the idea of leaving home, being in an unfamiliar place, trying new things, and meeting new people is scary. From the fear of flying and social anxiety to getting lost, sick, or injured, these stressors trigger anxiety that alters their experience.
If the idea of traveling (for leisure or business purposes) is frightening, consider these practical solutions for a more enjoyable experience.
Identify Your Triggers
The first thing you want to ask yourself is, “What makes you most anxious about traveling?” It’s kind of hard to resolve an issue when you don’t know the underlying cause. There are a lot of reasons to have travel anxiety. Are you afraid of heights? Does meeting new people make you anxious? Maybe you had a negative trip in the past or heard a story about something going wrong.
For some people, feeling as if they’re not in control can cause anxiety. While you can’t control everything, planning can ease the pressure. Besides reserving your tickets, hotel, transportation, food, and entertainment, you should also prepare for any frightening scenarios. For instance, if your biggest fear of traveling is getting sick, you can locate nearby healthcare facilities, pack your health insurance, and take any supplements or medications to put your mind at ease.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms
When your anxiety starts to build, it’s good to have healthy coping mechanisms to calm your nerves. You may need to step back and take a few deep breaths, recite a few positive affirmations, get a drink of water, or take CBD oil products like gummies or tablets to recenter yourself. Keeping yourself distracted is another way to cope with travel anxiety. Reading a good book, watching a movie, or listening to music while on a plane, for instance, can take your mind off your fear of flying.
Bring a Travel Companion
If being in a new place by yourself, miles away from home causes you anxiety, you may want to bring someone with you. Whether it’s your significant other, kids, friends, or co-workers, a travel companion provides a sense of comfort. You have someone you know that’s there with you in this unfamiliar environment. They can give emotional reassurance on the plane ride or be your backup when conversing with others.
Take Care of Home
Some people fear traveling because of the many responsibilities they have at home. Will your kids be alright while you’re away? What happens if someone breaks into your place? Your mind is continually living out the worst-case scenarios, which only ruins your ability to have a good time.
You can significantly reduce your travel anxiety by taking steps to ensure the home is taken care of. If you’re traveling without the kids, ask a trusted friend or relative to watch over them. If you’re worried about the house getting burglarized, you can invest in an alarm system, ask the neighbors to grab the mail, tend to the yard work, and ensure that the home is secure before leaving. You might also consider hiring a housesitter.
Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure.
Putting too much pressure to travel on your shoulders only triggers your anxiety. It is vital to know your limits and pace yourself accordingly. If you’re not yet ready to fly, consider taking a road trip instead. If you’re nervous in large crowds, find low-key events to attend. Want to try something adventurous like surfing, but afraid of failing? Start with paddleboarding until you’re more comfortable.
Maybe you’ve never been far away from home. If so, maybe your first trip should be in a neighboring state instead of traveling abroad. Pacing yourself this way allows you to enjoy the experience as opposed to panicking the entire time. As you become more confident, you’ll feel more comfortable with trying new things.
From the stress of making arrangements to health and safety risks, there’s a lot about traveling that can trigger anxiety. As traveling can be a therapeutic and enlightening experience, you shouldn’t allow your fears to hold you back. Though it can take some getting used to, practicing the above strategies can help you overcome anxiety and enjoy life.