If you’re anything like us, traveling brings on a whole new level of stress and anxiety. Traveling can cause stress for so many reasons, from lack of familiarity to disrupted routines. Even the lead up to traveling can be stressful (sometimes more) with making and coordinating plans, tickets, transportation, accommodation, and packing.
At the same time, traveling is one of the most wonderful ways to see the world, open your eyes, gain perspective, learn something new, relax and step away from your day to day life. The added stresses are really a buzz kill.
If you’re an anxious traveler, we’ve rounded up some things we do to help ease the stress and anxiety of travel and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. You might also like The Best Things I’ve Done to Cope With Anxiety. If you have any helpful tips for managing travel stress and anxiety, please share!
Easy Things To Do If You’re An Anxious Traveler
The best way to limit your travel anxiety is to be and feel as prepared as possible prior to departure day. If you take the time to pack, plan out your adventure and make lists to assure you have all of the essentials, this will help you feel so much more confident and at ease on travel day. Waiting until the last minute to pack causes overwhelm. You can just physically feel the anxiety rising in your body. Read our guide for not overpacking and create an “Evergreen Packing List” that you can refer to for each trip. Check off everything you pack to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Do the Research
Some people are confident and comfortable with winging it on vacation, but that person is not me. I know myself well enough, that I need to have at least some sort of general plan in mind, before leaving to feel confident going into my trip. Not to mention, things book up and sell out. There is nothing worse than heading to a fun destination and getting your heart set on eating at the best restaurant in town or attending the show that everyone in town is talking about, to find out its sold out. If you do that research ahead of time, you can make reservations and buy tickets to ensure you don’t miss out on the best things. You will also feel more at ease knowing what to expect for big events and meals on your trip. This will also help guide your packing as well.
Consider the following:
- Where will you have your meals? There can be some flexibility here of course, but try to plan out a few big ones and have some other options in mind so you aren’t starving and wandering aimlessly around the city and landing at some awful dive bar.
- Where will you stay? Have your accommodation booked and confirmed. Keep the address in your phone so you can easily get there from the airport or highway.
- What will you do? Even if you don’t plan out every second of every day, have some ideas in mind that might be enjoyable for everyone on vacation. Do you want to go hiking, to the beach, shopping, or browsing museums. What are popular activities in the place you’re visiting? Do you know anyone who could make recommendations? Keep a list of ideas and a general itinerary. This will help you pack and plan mentally!
Budget for Your Trip
Financial stress can cause a lot of anxiety for travelers. Try to ease some of this stress by developing a budget for your trip. Consider all your expenses: accommodation, transportation, meals, activities and any extra costs. Give yourself a general budget that feels reasonable and helps to alleviate some stress. Try to stick to this budget and if you do plan to have one more expensive meal or splurge you will feel less anxious and stressed about it, knowing that you factored this into your budget. If you are going on a big trip, beginning to budget for this months in advance will help to spread out that financial strain over several months, versus it draining your bank account in one month.
Plan for Time to Reset
It is important, especially if you know yourself well enough, to plan some time to reset and check in before that travel meltdown happens. Being out of our routines and in a new place can cause us to lose ourselves a little and feel disconnected. On vacation, we are often surrounded by others and have little time to ourselves. Make a plan ahead of time, to ensure you have some time throughout your trip to reset. Whether that means going for a run or walk each day, doing yoga, reading or journaling quietly by yourself–you’ll be surprised how much just a half an hour or hour to reset can help bring you back into balance.
Take Care of Your Body
When we don’t take care of our bodies, this can cause stress and anxiety to elevate. I know myself well enough now, that I need to limit my alcohol consumption and eat healthy foods that make me feel good, especially while on vacation. Yes, of course we want to enjoy ourselves too. Have the margarita and the donut. But try to balance these things out with healthy fruits and vegetables, proteins and lots of water. These things seem simple, but it’s crazy how many of these fall to the wayside while traveling.
Remember that Things Don’t Always Go As Planned
Sometimes, things don’t turn out the way we though they would. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you discover something new about yourself or find a hidden gem while on an adventure. We can’t control everything, and while it’s great to be prepared for the unexpected, stuff happens. That’s ok too! Prioritize your mental health and do what will make you feel more centered and connected with yourself.
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