Travel. Some people love it but some break out in a cold sweat just thinking about the idea. It isn’t the travel itself that is at issue. Rather, it is the planning required, decisions about money and insurance, the ordeal of packing and getting to the airport on time that causes the sweaty palms and headaches in the latter group.
According to Calm Clinic,1 “travel anxiety is a very common and complex issue, causing people to feel anxious or depressed when preparing for a trip and the subsequent weeks leading it up to it.”
Both first-time and seasoned travellers can suffer from pre-travel anxiety. Fortunately, there are ways to manage it so it does not ruin your trip.
- Identify the source of your worries and engage in coping strategies.
- Money worries? Estimate the amount of money required for the trip and set up a trackable budget to assist in ensuring you save the needed amount?
- Traveling solo worries? Consider booking a group tour. They can be educational and the added bonus is you will make new friends.
- Take care of you in the weeks leading up to the trip. Of course, self-care is something you should consider routinely but it is especially helpful for pre-travel anxiety.
Consider the following ideas.
- Eat healthy food.
- Exercise (walking, stretching, yoga, gardening — all count!)
- Get adequate sleep.
- Engage in activities you enjoy and spend time with loved ones.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation especially when experiencing a severe episode of anxiety.
- Set the stage for building excitement about getting to your destination.
- Research your destination. What sites will you visit? What do others say about it? Are there tours you could take? Have friends or relatives visited your destination? If so, plan on getting together with them to find out what to see and do when you reach your destination.
- Find a photo of your destination. Use it as a screen image on your computer or print it and post in a place where you will see it every day before you depart.
- When packing, don’t leave it until the last minute and remember, less is more.
Try these tips to help reduce anxious moments.
- Make a categorized list. For example, toiletries, tops, bottoms, sleepwear, swim wear, undergarments. Then, consider the number of days you will be away and attach a number to the items in each category.
- Lay out all the items to be packed on a flat surface. A bed or a table will work. Start removing items. For example, is there an occasion where formal dress is expected? If not, ditch that suit or fancy dress. On a 7-day trip to a tropical island you do you really need more than 3 pairs of footwear? The answer is “no.” One pair of sandals, a pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of dress shoes are plenty.
- And by the way, if you forget to pack something, chances are you can usually buy it when you reach your destination.
- Bring some emergency travel money.
There may be an extra day-trip you want to take that you did not book prior to arriving at your destination. Perhaps there is a health care need that arises. It is always advisable when traveling to give yourself a financial safety net just in case.
6. Pre-arrange airport transfers.
Whether it be a friend, family member or an airport transfer service, booking these well ahead of time can help ease your mind.