Most people in the world dream of travel, but travel anxiety is also very common. If you suffer from travel anxiety, I have a secret for you…I do too.
There are trips where I’ll be perfectly okay as I prepare and then other trips where I have a full-on panic attack as I pack my bags. However, it is something I acknowledge and work to combat every time I prepare to leave home for an extended period of time.
Since I know I’m not the only one who suffers from anxiety; I want to share some of my tips to help you overcome, so panic attacks and anxiety don’t put a damper on your travel plans.
Dealing with Travel Anxiety before You Leave
Remind Yourself WHY You Want to Travel
Whenever you start to feel the anxiety rise, stop and take a deep breath and picture yourself in your destination. Imagine yourself having the time of your life without any anxiety. Picture yourself dreaming the life you want to live. These positive affirmations will calm you down. Can’t do it yourself? Have a friend or family member talk these positive affirmations over with you.
Anxiety often stems from feeling like you’re not in control, so try to stem it by taking your trip planning to the extreme. Anyone who has ever traveled with me knows I like to have everything planned to the hour. That can cause stress for some people, but for me, the focus provides that sense of control that often doesn’t accompany travel.
Find a Community
You need a support system to help you travel and to help you manage your anxiety. Find a group or two you like and connect well with the other members, and integrate yourself into the groups by lending advice as much as you ask for it. These groups will be there when you need them most.
Dealing with Travel Anxiety on Your Trip
Form a Routine
Travel can be stressful, and it’s often the lack of routine that increases the chance of anxiety. To create the sense of control, form a routine while you are away that is similar to your routine at home. Set your alarm every day or go to the same cafe for breakfast. Small things that you can control will help.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Repeated exposure to your fears is better than avoidance. Don’t let your fears prevent you from living your life. I get that it’s scary, but once you step outside your comfort zone you’ll be so proud of yourself, and you’ll want to do it again because you know you can. Travel provides an excellent outlet for tackling several fears at once, and when it feels overwhelming just try some calming techniques and try again.
Avoid Your Triggers
We all have triggers that heighten our anxiety. Before you leave, make a list of those things and try to minimize your exposure to these while you are away.
Don't Compare Your Experiences
It’s super easy to get beat down when we look at our friends travel experiences. Social media gives everyone a sense of inadequacy, but don’t let those feelings lead to anxiety. Everyone is putting their best selves out there, including you. And also remember, as much as you desire someone else’s life and adventures, there is someone out there who desires to have your life and your adventures. Because you are awesome!
To be honest with you, travel has brought me a sense of freedom. Do I still suffer from anxiety? Absolutely. But, I think travel has been the one thing that helped me conquer my fears more than anything else. Travel is terrifying, but it also challenges you out of your comfort zone more than anything else and once outside your comfort zone you realize you can do whatever you want whenever you want.