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January 10, 2020

How to overcome travel anxiety

Mental Health Anxiety

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Person waiting in an airport

Visiting an unfamiliar place can be anxiety-inducing on its own, but the added stress of things like connecting flights, packed trains, or bumper-to-bumper traffic can send a traveler into a full-blown panic. Though it’s not an officially diagnosed mental disorder, travel anxiety isn’t uncommon—if you deal with shaky hands, heart palpitations, or an unsettled stomach in the days surrounding a trip, you’re not alone.

People who suffer from travel anxiety often find themselves avoiding special events like far-away weddings or holiday travel, and will even put their career on the line to avoid the emotional stress. If your travel anxiety is affecting your everyday life or making even mundane trips feel impossible, these tips can help you overcome your fear.

1. Be prepared

If you know specific events, such as getting lost or sick, might trigger your anxiety, prepare for those scenarios (even if they’re unlikely). Pack any medications you may need if you do get sick and download any directions or GPS information you might need so you won’t need to rely on Wi-Fi or cellular data to access directions.

If you’re worried about leaving your responsibilities at home behind, make a detailed list of the tasks you need taken care of and hire a friend or house-sitter you trust. For further comfort, ask for daily updates from this person. The earlier you find someone to help, the more prepared you’ll feel and the less anxious you’ll be. Prepare other comforting companions for your trip, like favorite books, songs, or movies that could soothe or distract you in times of unease.

2. Bring a buddy

Traveling alone is often the scariest aspect for people experiencing travel anxiety. The thought of being without help or support during times of uncertainty can be a source of panic in itself, so look at travel as an opportunity to spend time with someone you care about. For example, if you have to take a work trip, ask a friend or family member if they’d like to go with you. Even if they can’t attend work events with you, they can still be by your side to explore the destination, stay in a hotel with you, and offer reassurance in a plane, train, or car. Be honest about your anxieties , and make sure whoever you bring is accepting and understanding about your feelings.

3. Consider professional help

Anyone who’s experienced severe anxiety will tell you that sometimes, regardless of how much you try to avoid it, panic strikes. If your anxiety is this intense, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Visiting a therapist or a psychiatrist can not only give you the coping skills you need to regain your sense of security, but can also provide insight into whether or not you’re experiencing an anxiety disorder. This information can help you better understand the source of your anxiety and help doctors prescribe an appropriate medication if necessary.

If travel anxiety is starting to affect your ability to enjoy life to the fullest, you’re not alone. You deserve to enjoy getting away , and shouldn’t be hindered by nagging thoughts or physical manifestations of stress. Practice preparation, ask a friend for help, or seek a professional assessment to combat your anxiety.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.

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