How to Deal With Anxiety Before Travelling: 10 Top Tips to Help Combat Pre-Travel Stress
Travelling with mental health problems? Or are you just an anxious traveller? Travel anxiety is a very common issue! So, how to deal with anxiety before travelling…?
Many people get anxious before a trip – which can seem odd because the likely reason you are going on a trip is for relaxation or fun. However, travelling IS stressful and if you’re feeling that blood pressure rising before that trip, then you are not alone. This may be why you’re looking at how to deal with anxiety before travelling.
For people with mental health problems, this can seem like even more of an issue, especially if the reason for your trip is for a time out.
What I’ve learnt over the years is that no matter how many trips I go on and no matter how relaxing that trip may be, the packing and the travelling can almost make me wish that I didn’t bother to book the trip in the first place. Yeeeaah, sometimes it can be that bad. So, what can you do to ease that travel anxiety?
Here’s how to deal with anxiety before travelling:
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare (But Don’t Over-Do It)
Preparing for your trip before you travel is THE most important thing if you want to keep your stress levels down.
This means making lists, packing a couple of days in advance and have all your tickets printed and ready. Ensure you know where you need to be and when and don’t leave any important prep to the last minute. Preparing may seem like an obvious tip, however, some people don’t realise that over-preparing is actually feeding their anxiety too.
Yes, you can be too prepared. If you slowly start preparing weeks in advance, it’s a constant reminder that you’re about to travel. For some people, this can cause more anxiety to build overall (my life in a nutshell). Prepare? Yes. But hit that sweet spot.
2. Don’t Over-Book
If you’re an anxious traveller, you may be caught in that constant cycle of booking a trip to ‘get over the trip.’
Funnily enough, in the past, I’ve Googled ‘how to deal with anxiety before travelling’ right after booking yet another trip I’m likely going to fret over.
I for one am completely guilty of doing this and if you have any sort of travel plans happening on a constant basis then you will know what I mean.
DON’T overbook. Try instead to take fewer longer trips and not lots of small ones.
3. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
There’s nothing worse than feeling anxious before travelling and then realising you’ve forgotten something or you realise you’re running late. Most of the time, this can be avoided.
Try not to pack the night before and when you leave, set off earlier than you need to. I hate waiting around for my coach, train or plane, but I don’t hate it as much as feeling like I’m about to miss it.
4. Take Something With You That Comforts You
For some of us, travelling is a testing time, especially if you’re travelling alone. This is why it’s a massive help to talk something with you that comforts you.
It could be something as simple as taking/wearing your favourite fluffy jumper, downloading your favourite album onto your phone, or wearing a piece of jewellery that reminds you of someone. Whatever it is, it will really help to ease some of your anxiety while travelling.
5. Get an Early Night
Travelling is tiring and anxieties are heightened when you’re tired. If you’re starting your trip really tired, then it’s only going to make the trip more stressful. Try to get an early night the night before and try to unwind with something calming before you go to sleep.
6. Do Your Research
Many of our anxieties about travel come from fear of the unknown. Not taking a certain route before or not going to a particular country ever.
Trying to separate the adrenaline from that excitement of a new place/experience, with adrenaline from anxiety is really hard. But understanding that it’s completely normal to feel apprehensive about a brand new place is helpful.
Do your research. Look up the route, research the country. Knowing what to expect will really help to ease those travel anxieties.
7. Try to Understand the Root of Your Travel Anxiety
Why are you anxious about travelling? Why are you anxious about this particular trip?
You need to ask yourself why you’re anxious about travelling, this way you can figure out what you can do to reduce that particular worry. it may seem obvious, but some of us like to bury it and not actually dig a little deeper into why we feel that way.
For example, if you’re really anxious about missing your bus and plane, then you should incorporate a plan that results in you not missing it (or making it very unlikely to miss it).
Sometimes you may feel anxiety in general, without a specific cause and if this is the case, then have a plan in place to help to reduce some of that anxiety. For example, getting lots of sleep, practicing deep-breathing techniques, and mindfulness.
8. Travel With Someone You Trust (If Possible)
If you suffer with travel anxiety, it is best to travel with someone that you trust if at all possible. Travelling alone with high anxiety can exacerbate the situation. It also means that the burden of travel plans does not all fall on you.
If you are having to travel alone, that’s okay, you may just need a little more preparation.
It may be worth telling someone close to you about how you’re feeling and let them know that they may need to call you before or during the travel. Knowing that you will have someone to pick up the phone if you start to feel particularly anxious, will automatically soothe some of your worries.
9. Plan for the Worst
Sometimes travelling does not go to plan. Hotels overbook, transport gets delayed and sometimes you run out of money. Accepting that travel doesn’t always go to plan, BUT you know exactly what to do if it doesn’t, is something that will really help with your worries.
I’ve spent so many trips fretting and when it’s happened, I’ve dealt with it. The ‘what if’ worry itself was actually worse than the issue.
For example, one summer a travel company messed up my hotel reservation, so when we got there I couldn’t check-in (and that was after sitting in a 3-hour traffic jam and a 9-hour drive to Prague). I had nowhere to stay, no phone credit left, no internet, it was too late to find anywhere else and I was low on money. I ended up having to sleep in the car (a KA as well) in a pretty unsafe area of Prague that night, which wasn’t my idea of a fun trip, but I dealt with it, it wasn’t the end of the world. When you’re put in a stressful situation, you’ll find that sometimes you deal with it much better than you thought you would.
10. Seek Outside Help for Severe Anxiety
I’m not saying if you’re a bit worried before your trip, that you should be straight up the doctors, but if your anxiety is persistent, hard to cope with and is impairing your life, then it is really important that you speak to someone if you haven’t already.
You may find this anxiety has been creeping into your life for a while without realising and this is not uncommon for people with mental health issues. Many of us spent months, years or decades of our lives thinking that this high anxiety was normal.
Travel and anxiety tends to go hand in hand. Many of us forget that travelling, as a whole, is pretty stressful, which is why many of us are deciding to ‘staycation’ instead these days. Hopefully, these tips helped you to put your worries into perspective. Have an amazing trip and feel free to drop what helps you in the comments!
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*Image by Quinn Kampschroer from Pixabay