Before my weekend trip to Dublin this summer gone I had been worried about my trip falling through (e.g. missing my flight, waking up late etc.). It didn’t help my stress levels that my last trip got cancelled before the one to Dublin and my travel itinerary was basically binned.
Pre-travel anxiety isn’t always a negative thing. The feeling of excitement and arousal often comes with that coming feeling of apprehension when you’re stepping into the unknown.
Some get it cos of their dislike of air turbulence at take-off. Some get it because thet have the fear of leaving something important behind or whether that piece of luggage or ours is in safe hands and is gonna make it to the other side too.
Regardless there are many reasons for one getting travel anxiety prior to a trip. All anxious moments are different individually and are experienced in different ways and at different times but they can all be managed to ensure your travel experience is maximised
Here are tips and advice on coping with travel anxiety before going away:
Have Pre-Trip Routine In Place To Follow
Have a pre-trip ritual to go through Print off tickets. Gather travel essentials. Pack luggage. Set alarm if your journey starts early in the morning. Double check flight times in case they’ve changed (this happens often with local flights). Find out your checkin and check-out times for your accommodation.
I’m not a qualified psychologist by any means but I feel like bit by bit your mind will be practically engaging more with your trip. It gives you a bit of control over whatever you fear rather than doing nothing but dwell on worries. Never leave anything till the morning/afternoon of your travels otherwise you’re asking for last-minute panic.
Quote: Act on your worries, don’t let your worries take away your ability to act
Say Calming Thoughts To Yourself
You’ll get this advice on plenty of articles, blogs and guides on overcoming negative feelings (e.g. overthinking, fear, anxiety, anger) because it is a very powerful tool to. It’s a chance to speak to yourself and be a friend to yourself.
Come up with positive statements to say to yourself in your head. Just a few otherwise you could fall into the trap of overthinking. For example: “” or “You’re going to be fine [insert your name]“. You may want to have another that is tailor-made for the situation itself. Using the scenario of myself prepping to go Dublin as an example: “You shall be flying to Dublin and having a good time” (Okay a bit long and cheesy perhaps – but still)
Others could be “Would you rather be heading away or be at home doing nothing” or ” It’s true. You don’t want your anxiety to get to a point where you’re lying in bed at home thinking to yourself “what if”
Keep repeating whatever ones you create for your own benefit. I’d say have just a few otherwise you may fall into the trap of overthinking. You may not master it at first but the more you practice thinking more positively the easier it’ll become to control your anxiety.
One person at a recent networking event I went said: “Fear is an emotion of the future.” Once you felt it you no longer feel it again, at least not as strongly as you did before. My experiences with social anxiety proves it further, the more I put myself into confronting a danger the less anxious I feel as I’m learning that actually – the perceived danger is not so bad.
Talk it Through With Others
Talking therapy is a common way of tackling anxiety disorders and ensure that it reduces the impact anxiety has our everyday lives.
Talk to friends and family about your trip and how you feel about it. Interact with other travel bloggers about it on social media. Even chat to travellers sitting next to you on the plane or train. These are the kind of people you’re gonna be receiving the most support and guidance from, especially as among those people are likely travellers so would be able to relate to the struggles.
All the best wishes and support I get from others on social media when I announce I’m travelling always means a lot and gives me more motivation to see the world.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation And Relaxation Techniques
Being in fine tune with your mind and body and the environment it is surrounded by is vital for keeping your well-being in check in many circumstances.
Techniques such as Mindfulness meditation are ones that have become a good habit of mine and are growing increasingly popular with people. Studies have shown meditation to reduce anxiety and stress as well as improve sleep, cognitive thinking and concentration.
Mindfulness meditating doesn’t have to take the traditional “cross legs and sit on a floor” form. It can be you simply lying down in a quiet room with little-to-none background noise and under no physical stress. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. Pause for 2 seconds. Then breathe out of your mouth for another 4-6 seconds. Spend 15-30 mins a day doing this repeatedly. That’s all the time you have to take out of your day to meditate. If not then do it every two-three days.
Whilst meditating I find it helpful to use some calming, rational thoughts or positive affirmations a well. You’d effectively be killing two birds with one stone if you do this but you don’t have to. The main aim of mindfulness meditation is to conentrate on your breathing and be aware of what you’re thinking but not to challenge your thoughts. Just let them come and go.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another proven coping strategy. Original patients were those suffering from muscle pain but then began to be used effectively for anxiety sufferers. It involves you tightening muscle groups in your arms, legs, neck, for 10-15 seconds each muscle group, releasing and focusing on how those muscles feel after tension.
Get as much practice before your trip as possible. As mentioned earlier, you don’t necessarily need to be an expert in performing them too. Just enough so that you feel less tense afterwards.
Create a detailed itinerary to account for the things you want to do and in case things could go wrong. Utilise social media and all the travel-related apps and websites available thanks to modern technology. Make sure you’re accounting for the activities you want to do and what you’re doing on each day of your stay, same with bars and restaurants you’re looking to drink and dine at. If you’re looking to socialise find out the best places to meet new people. Find out transport means, and the costs for all of the above.
Ideally and religiously I do all of this as part of my pre-trip routine. It’s all a part of my desire to be organised and stand on my own two feet. In my o leaving it till your feet are on foreign ground and then you start overthinking “oh my god where do I go now! What’s the next step”
At the end of the day, going on a trip somewhere should be something seen as a positive experience to look forward to. Distracting yourself and accepting that the anxiety is a way of your mind and body trying to defend itself and help you through what it perceives as a distressing situation.
Do you get some form of anxiety or fear when you know you’re about to travel? Also remember to follow me on my socials and subscribe to my blog to keep up with myself and the latest content coming through to the blog from your boy Johnny!
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Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures