5 Tips for Dealing with Travel Anxiety
Travel is wonderful, but the packing, distance from home, loneliness and lack of control can induce anxiety in some individuals. If you’re one of them, it’s important to address your travel anxiety and keep it from putting a damper on your next trip.
We all need to travel at some point or another, and feelings of anxiety and stress shouldn’t hold you back from making the most of it. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to learn how to deal with travel anxiety and feel calm, cool and collected as you traverse the globe.
1. Prepare and plan ahead as much as possible
Much of travel anxiety can be avoided by planning ahead and being prepared. That means packing the day before you leave (never the morning of!), checking into your flight online, booking activities in advance, making dinner reservations, etc. It’ll leave you with less to worry about once you reach your destination. Leave some room for spontaneity, but not too much, as it could cause travel anxiety.
Arrive at the airport plenty early—at least two hours before your flight boards for domestic travel, three hours for international. To get through airport security quickly and smoothly, wear shoes that are easy to take on and off, store your carry-on liquids properly (nothing more than 3.5 ounces is allowed) and keep your laptop easily accessible.
2. Make a packing list
Travel anxiety often starts before your trip has even begun, thanks to the stressful task known as packing. If you always leave for a trip feeling like you forgot something, create a packing list. Here’s a simple way to create your list:
- Toiletries: Go through your morning and nightly routines and write down the items you use. Add other items you may need but don’t use every day, like sunscreen, over-the-counter medicines or shaving necessities.
- Clothing: List the types of clothing and outfits you’ll need based on the weather forecast and what you’ll be doing on your trip. For example: outerwear, business clothes, evening wear, workout clothes, swimwear, etc. Don’t forget shoes, accessories and sleepwear.
- Electronics: Will you be needing your laptop? Camera? Tablet? Remember to also write down all necessary batteries and chargers.
- Carry-on items: List things you’d like to have access to on the flight, such as comfort items, entertainment, snacks, electronics and chargers. Don’t forget these five carry-on essentials.
- Other: Think about any activities on your itinerary, like hiking or going to the beach, which may necessitate specific items. List those items.
Remember to save your packing list so you can use it again for future trips—a great tip for being proactive about your travel anxiety.
Exercise is a fantastic tool for reducing any type of anxiety, including travel anxiety. Physical activity causes your brain to produce endorphins, feel-good hormones that can reduce stress. Just five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Carve out time during your trip to hit the hotel gym, attend a class at a local fitness studio or take a jog outdoors. Your body and mind will thank you and you’ll forget you ever had travel anxiety.
4. Bring comforts from home
The feeling of being far from home and outside your comfort zone—homesickness, many would call it—can bring on travel anxiety in even the most seasoned globetrotters. You may not be able to bring your home with you, but a great tip for combating travel anxiety is bringing comforts that remind you of home. That may be your favorite blanket, some home-baked goodies, photos of your loved ones or a scented candle. Do whatever you need to do to create a home away from home.
5. Make time for yourself
For introverts especially, being around others too much can be draining. Coupled with the inherent stress of traveling, it’s a recipe for travel anxiety disaster. The solution is simple: take time for yourself to relax and recharge, and don’t feel guilty about it. Whether it’s in the form of a workout or watching a movie in your hotel room, a little alone time can go a long way.
BONUS TIP: Consider travel insurance
Depending on the length and cost of your trip, you may want to consider buying travel insurance. In its simplest form, travel insurance covers the cost of your airline ticket if you need to cancel or reschedule your trip. More extensive plans may also cover medical expenses, lost luggage, stolen belongings and other unexpected expenses incurred while traveling.
You can expect it to cost 4-10% of your total prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs, depending on what the plan covers. More than anything, you’re buying peace of mind, the best possible remedy for travel anxiety.
More Tips for Frequent Business Travelers
If you travel a lot for work, check out our other corporate travel blogs to make frequent travel as seamless as possible.