How To Calm Travel Anxiety & Actually Enjoy Your Trip

How To Calm Travel Anxiety & Actually Enjoy Your Trip

After years of lockdowns and stifled travel plans, the idea of going on an adventure seems exciting.


And while travel can be thrilling and fun, it can also be exhausting and stressful.


Instead of feeling anticipation and excitement, upcoming travel events can leave you with a sense of dread and anxiety.


So if you're struggling with pre-travel anxiety or upcoming trip jitters, then read on for 5 tips on how you can soothe travel anxiety so you can actually enjoy your holiday.


Is travel anxiety a thing?

Absolutely. The stress of planning a trip, plus fear around leaving your comfort zone and visiting unfamiliar places can lead to travel anxiety.


Although it isn't an officially diagnosed condition, travel anxiety can become so serious that it stops people from going on holiday or enjoying any aspect of travel.


What causes travel anxiety?

There can be many reasons you feel anxious about travel. If you have:

  • an existing anxiety disorder
  • already had a negative travel experience
  • been in an accident
  • had a panic attack in an unfamiliar place


You may become anxious leading up to a trip, or worry that accidents will occur. You may become concerned about having another negative travel experience or fear that you'll have a panic attack again.


a car windshield looking toward a snow covered road through the mountains with a paper map laid out on the dashboard

Symptoms of travel anxiety

Anxiety shows up in lots of different ways. Which means anxiety about travel can manifest itself as physical symptoms such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • nausea or diarrhea
  • fidgeting
  • insomnia


Or travel anxiety might show up as changes in mood such as:

  • irritability
  • increased need for reassurance
  • becoming withdrawn


How To Calm Travel Anxiety

1. Listen to meditones

Meditones® can help you rest in unfamiliar environments and also provide relief from jet lag. This is because meditones stimulate brain waves similar to sleep. So they’ll help you rest during your journey, and refresh you at your new destination.


illustration of a person wearing headphones listening to calming meditones


Plus – because they help you stay calm, meditones are also fantastic if you have a fear of flying. Just pop on your noise-cancelling headphones, close your eyes and relax.


I am going to have meditones on me on every flight I get on. Anxiety is unfortunately a real thing in my life – especially around travel and I just know they are going to help. ~ Jade


2. Think of your why

Whenever you start feeling stressed about your trip, remind yourself why you want to travel.


Is it to see friends & family you miss? To explore a new country or place? Or professional development for work?


Tapping into your why for travel will help you stay calm and positive about your upcoming experience.


3. Practice 2-1 Breathing

Have you ever found yourself sighing when you feel stressed? This is because a deep exhale activates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms you down.


Wherever you are, if you start to feel your travel anxiety increasing, focus on making your exhale longer.


This type of breath is called 2-1 Breathing. To begin, simply inhale for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4


2 circles with one labelled 'inhale 2' and one labelled 'exhale 4'


Keep breathing slowly and exhaling deeply for as long as you need.


You can also find a 2-1 breathing meditones track inside the Seekers' Sanctuary library!


4. Make a plan then let go

Anxiety often arises from feeling like you’re not in control. So a great way to calm travel anxiety is to plan out the first few days of your trip.


You could:

  • Look up the website of your destination airport to get familiar with the layout and a route through the building
  • Book a taxi from the airport to your accommodation so you don't need to try to figure out public transport on your first day
  • Download travel apps such as Google Maps, Pocket Earth & Rome2Rio before you leave so you'll have access to local maps when you arrive
  • Space out your itinerary so you have time to rest on your trip


flatlay of a paper map, a field notes book, a pencil, a camera, a backpack, and some colourful folded maps


Once you've made a plan, it's time to let go so you don't get trapped in overthinking and overplanning. To let go:

  • Commit to taking things one step at a time (There's a Very Next Step meditation inside the Seekers' Sanctuary)
  • Be willing to be open to change and spontaneity in case plans change
  • Use the calming tools you have like meditones or 2-1 Breathing to stay calm if things go awry


5. Get professional help

There is no shame in needing professional support for your travel anxiety.


If you are really struggling with the thought of leaving the house, or any travel at all, reach out to a trauma-informed therapist. They may be able to offer more personalised support for you.


Or you may even require some prescription medication from your doctor to help calm your nerves. Either way, you'll have more support that will help you get out and enjoy your trip.


Takeaway

Soothing travel anxiety is possible. There's a lot you can do beforehand to plan for the best experience, and to calm yourself while you're travelling.


By giving yourself some time to prepare and using calming tools during travel, you'll be coping better with travel anxiety and enjoying the journey.

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