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How Not to Let Anxiety Stop You From Travelling

Travel anxiety might just be more common than it is thought to be. According to research by the Health Survey of England, at least about 25% of people have anxiety in the UK. So if you have it, it is okay. You are not alone in this.

While travelling is supposed to be exciting, people with travel anxiety often find the experience overwhelming and stressful. The thought of navigating airports, unfamiliar environments, or simply being away from the comfort of home can trigger intense worry and fear.

However, the best thing is that you can manage and even overcome anxiety. In this article, we explore various tips and techniques to help your travel anxiety and enable you to embark on your adventures with confidence and ease.

Image: A photo of a man holding luggage, looking into the vast, clear skies, ready for travel

What is Travel Anxiety and What Causes It

Travel anxiety is the fear or worry you feel about travelling. For some people, it occurs just before a trip, for others during the trip and others after the trip. Few people experience various signs and symptoms of travel anxiety through all these travel stages.

It can be caused by;

  • Fear of flying, which can stem from a fear of heights, fear of enclosed spaces, or fear of airplane accidents.
  • Bad past travel experiences such as losing luggage, missed flights, or unpleasant encounters.
  • Fear of the Unknown such as not knowing the language of the new place, their culture, or local customs.
  • Worrying about getting sick or having a medical emergency while away from home.
  • Managing the travel process in itself can also be overwhelming (booking flights, packing, and navigating airports)
  • Social anxiety, especially for those with social anxiety disorders.
Image: A photo of a person sitting on the bed with her feet crossed, folding a pile of clothes in front of her.

How Not to Let Anxiety Stop You From Travelling

Now that you know some of the factors that cause travel anxiety, how do you deal with or manage it? How do you ensure it doesn't stop you from travelling? Here are some ideas;

Recognise and Acknowledge the Cause of Your Travel Anxiety

First things first, accept that you have travel anxiety and find out the causes. After all, you can only deal with or manage what you know. Understanding what specifically triggers your anxiety can help you address it. Is it the fear of flying, unfamiliar places, or logistical worries?

Go back the memory lane and reflect on past experiences. Is there anything negative that may be contributing to your anxiety?

Proper Planning

One of the causes of travel anxiety is the travel process itself. Just thinking about all the logistics of travelling such as booking flights, what and how to pack, navigating airports, and interacting with new people, can be overwhelming.

Planning ahead is one way to prevent this. Start by making a checklist every time. Write down everything you need to do to make the trip less stressful for you.

For example, everything you need to pack, important documents like your passport and tickets, and any pre-trip tasks like booking accommodations and transportation.

Also, consider researching your destination to familiarise yourself with the area, local customs, and any potential challenges you might face. This preparation helps you feel more in control and less anxious about the unknown aspects of your trip.

Gradual Exposure

Start small to gather the courage to face your big fears. If you can’t completely travel because of anxiety, get yourself started with short trips close to home. Then gradually increase the distance and duration of your trips.

As mentioned above, identify what your fears and worries are that make you anxious and expose yourself to them in small, manageable steps.

Have a Backup Plan

No matter how well things may seem to be, accidents are inevitable. It is important to have a backup plan in case things go wrong. Have a plan for potential problems, like lost luggage or missed flights and consider getting travel insurance for peace of mind.

Being prepared for unseen issues and knowing you have a solution at hand can help ease anxiety, allowing you to enjoy your travel.

Seek Support

There is no shame in seeking support in dealing with your travel anxiety. When planning a trip, consider involving a friend or relative. Having someone with you can provide comfort.

You can also join travel groups and connect with others who have similar travel anxieties. Sharing experiences and tips can be reassuring.

Lastly, don't overlook professional help, especially if you have severe anxiety. Consider speaking with a therapist who specialises in anxiety or travel-related issues, to help you overcome or manage your fears.

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