Feeling worried, anxious, or straight-up scared about visiting new or unfamiliar places, combined with the stress that comes with holiday and travel planning can result in a form of nerves normally known as travel anxiety.
Although not formally recognised as a mental health condition, travel anxiety affects lots of people. It can have a seriously detrimental effect on their lives, stopping them from travelling or enjoying vacation time and leading to them being unable to explore the amazing and exciting places across the world.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to overcome travel anxiety. Here are four of the most useful tips to help you face and ultimately overcome your travel anxiety.
Identify your triggers
Triggers are the events, actions, or things that cause your anxiety symptoms to flare up. For travel anxiety they are likely to be things specific to travelling, like organising holidays, booking short cruise deals, or boarding a plane. Although there’s not much you can do to avoid your triggers, identifying them allows you to be more prepared for them and work on dealing with your symptoms when they arrive.
Plan for certain scenarios
Travel anxiety is often focused around the uncertainty of travel – the unknown aspects and the ‘what if’ elements that are hard to predict. Obviously, you can’t plan for everything that could go wrong, but having a few backup plans and worst-case scenarios gamed out ahead of time can really help avoid the worst of your travel anxiety. Knowing what you will do if you run out of money, get lost, or get sick can be a huge help in preventing, or at least alleviating nerves.
Plan for responsibilities at home while you’re away
Often travel anxiety hinges around worries about things you’ve left behind. Kids, pets, or household responsibilities can be deeply concerning and can ruin a vacation quickly. Getting someone you trust to come in and help or house sit can be a great weight off your mind, and ensure that you are confident that your plants are being watered, your pets fed, and you kids looked after.
Bring plenty of distractions
Distracting yourself from anxiety can be surprisingly effective, so make sure you bring whatever you need to take your mind off things with you on your travels. Books, puzzles, video games, or hobbies, anything that can keep you from focusing on the triggers for your anxiety will help make your vacation a huge success.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.
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