Foolproof Tips For Travel Anxiety

Let’s face it, planes are absolutely terrifying. It is so unnatural to be floating in the air for sometimes up to 20hrs, and so having this as the start of your trip is not necessarily the best place to start as an anxious traveller. On top of that, there are a number of stressful factors when travelling; being away from family, trying to navigate new places, or possibly not speaking the native language. Talk about anxious territory!!

I recently went on a quick trip to China for work, in the middle of what was a very anxious period in my life. This lead me to think about all the ways I normally cope with the anxiety that comes with travel, and I wanted to do some more research into methods that other people had used to get through it!

be comfortable

This can apply to so many different aspects of travel. You need to find your comfort zone, and before you try doing anything radical, maybe do some travel within this comfort zone. For instance, would you be more comfortable travelling alone or with people? Maybe before you push yourself into solo travel, you do a small holiday with friends. I went overseas in groups 4 times before I finally did a solo trip. I am glad that I did it that way because I had to learn how the hell airports work, and how to navigate a completely foreign country, and I know personally that I would much prefer to have a friend to stumble through those challenges together with, so I can feel more confident when I have to do it alone.

On the theme of being comfortable, don’t skimp out on your flights and try to save the most money. Sometimes it is better for peace of mind to pay a little bit extra to fly with an airline that you are comfortable with, or to have the emergency exit seat if you need to feel like you have a bit more room. It is so worth that little bit extra! I was a cheap-ass on my trip to Canada and I ended up having 8hr stop overs, middle plane seats, and flying with dodgy airlines, and absolutely none of that is good for someone with anxiety!

Distract Yourself

The worst part of any flight for me is the take off! I hate all the noises, I hate how it feels, and I hate how anxious it makes me just wondering if we will even make it into the sky! So in order to get through this part of my travel, I will always put my headphones in as soon as I get to my seat and start listening to my favourite album (my most recent trip this was the soundtrack to Heathers the Musical). Then by the time the plane starts moving I can be somewhat in my own world, caught up in the music I am listening to, which can provide a helpful distraction.

As well as this, I will take something on the plane for me to fidget with. Whether that means I am playing candy crush on my iPad, or using a tangle toy, or doing a sudoku. Just as long it is something to keep my hands and mind busy!

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prepare

For me this has more to do with knowing what will be going on, and what is expected of me while I am overseas. Just knowing that I am prepared when travelling takes a huge amount of anxiety off my chest, and lets me be able to actually enjoy myself while I am away.

  • Check in to see if there are any cultural customs you should abide by when travelling, so that you don’t have any awkward interactions.

  • Make sure you have enough cash exchanged to the local currency.

  • Organise any visas that are necessary ahead of time. Some countries can be really strict with visas, so it is much safer to do this locally, rather than waiting until you get there. Imagine if you got all the way to a new, exciting country, and then couldn’t enter because you were denied a visa!!

  • Organise accomodation ahead of time. I tried booking hotels when I was already overseas once, and I swore I would never ever do that again. Generally you can get really good deals if you book ahead online, as well as being able to suss out the area that the hotel is in and what attractions are nearby. If you leave it to the last minute, there is a small chance there may not be any rooms . left where you want to stay, or they have hiked the prices up. Better to be safe than sorry.

  • Learn basic phrases in the local language. It’s amazing how much you can get by with one or two phrases, and then just using a lot of hand signals in foreign countries. Most of the time, you will find a way to get the message you need across, even if you have to rely on good old google translate. I always try to make sure I know “Thankyou” as a bare minimum, but you could learn as much as you want depending on how dedicated you are to it and how much time you have!

I hope these tips can help you in some way! Travelling is one of the best things I have done in my life so far, and I am so glad that I didn’t let anxiety stop me from experiencing all that I have. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always easy for me to travel, and flying still scares the crap out of me, but I find it easier to cope with now!

Let me know in the comments what your tricks for dealing with travel anxiety are, and you favourite travel memory!

xo

Judy Maree