Travel anxiety can keep you from making the most out of the holidays, so here are a few tips to help manage your fears and stress.
5 Ways to Manage Travel Anxiety over the Holidays
What is travel anxiety? This refers to feelings of fear, stress, or worry about traveling and travel-related preparations. Going to new or unfamiliar places can also contribute to worry and stress.
1. Make the Necessary Work Arrangements Ahead of Time
One of the sources of travel anxiety is worrying about all the work you’re leaving behind. To avoid feeling guilty for taking time off, make sure you make all the necessary work arrangements earlier than expected.
Clear your vacation days with your supervisor and make sure they know when you’ll be gone in advance. That way, you can agree on what you need to accomplish before you leave.
To help put your mind at ease, you can also take a day or two to turn over any work to a colleague. By making these early arrangements, you’ll also reduce any anxiety you may have about returning to work after your trip.
Tip: Don’t forget to set your email on auto-reply. Your auto-reply should include your date of return and who they can contact in your place while you’re away.
2. Don’t Neglect Your Self-Care Routine Before Your Trip
It may be tempting to exhaust yourself before a trip to get things done. Some people reason that they’ll make up for all the stress when they’re finally on vacation.
This isn’t the best idea, especially If you’re struggling with travel anxiety. High-stress levels can impair your ability to effectively plan and manage your life.
When you’re stressed, it may be more difficult to cope with your travel anxiety. To avoid the build-up of stress, make sure to practice self-care.
What is self-care? Self-care is any beneficial activity that helps you take care of your mental and physical health.
Some of the basics of self-care include: eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Apart from these, other self-care activities vary depending on a person’s interest.
3. Double Check Travel Documents in Advance to Avoid Delays
One of the sources of anxiety while traveling is worrying about getting through the airport check-in with all of the necessary travel documents. To avoid any hiccups, it’s important to double-check all of your travel documents, especially if you’re taking an international trip.
Here are a few things you may want to pay particular attention to:
- Tickets – Book your tickets in advance so you can choose the best travel dates and flights. Some cities have multiple airports, so double-check the details on your ticket.
- Passports – Check the expiry date on your passport. Some countries require you to renew your passport six months before it expires.
- Visas – If you’re using an older visa, make sure it’s still valid. Remember, it may take some time to apply for new visas.
To avoid missing or delaying your trip, make sure your travel documents are in order.
Tip: Bring a photocopy of your passport and any other important government ID as a back-up. In case you lose any important travel document, having these help speed up the replacement process.
4. Make a List and Pack in Advance
Packing at the last minute when your anxiety is probably at its peak is a recipe for disaster. When you rush packing, not only are you more likely to forget something important, you’re also more prone to worrying about it.
To avoid this form of pre-travel anxiety, make a packing list on your phone or computer a few weeks before your trip. Here are some travel essentials you’ll probably want to include in your list:
- Travel documents – It helps if all your travel documents are in one place. Put them in a waterproof bag/envelope to keep them safe from the elements.
- Clothes – Make sure you have enough clothes for your trip, especially if you won’t have access to a washer or dryer. Check the weather report so you can pack the right kinds of clothes.
- Toiletries – You can get travel-sized shampoo, make-up, toothpaste, and other bathroom essentials. Make sure to store these items well in a ziplock bag so they don’t spill.wi
- First aid kit – It’s always a good idea to bring all your current and emergency medication, especially if you’re traveling to a new place.
- Gadget accessories – If you’re bringing a personal smartphone, tablet, or e-reader, make sure you pack their chargers. You may also want to pack a comfortable pair of earphones for the trip.
Check your list regularly and add items that you may have forgotten. If you’re packing for children, you may want to make a separate list for their needs to avoid confusion.
Tip: If you’re checking in your bag, tag it as ‘Fragile.’ That way, the luggage handlers will be extra careful with it.
5. Write Down Your Fears and Prepare for Them
Everyone has unique fears when it comes to traveling. Before you can deal with your fears, you have to know what triggers them.
It’s helpful to take time to list down your travel-related fears. Some stressors can be managed by planning and doing things in advance, while others may seem unavoidable because they have to do with the actual travel itself.
For instance, some people may have a fear of flying. Others may also feel anxious when they’re in confined spaces.
You may not be able to completely avoid some fears, but you can find ways to cope with them. Here are some things you can do:
- Be honest and request for assistance. Don’t be shy to share your concerns with airport or airline personnel. They can help give you tips to help you manage your situation or even offer some form of special assistance.
- Pack something comforting in your carry on. Bring something that can help calm your nerves like a photo of a loved one, a comfortable blanket, or your favorite pillow. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a travel companion.
- Use relaxation techniques. Before your flight, equip yourself with a few mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing techniques you can use when you feel your stress levels rising. You can also pair your noise-canceling headphones with some calming music.
- Stay hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re traveling. Dehydration can make you feel more fatigued and nauseated during long trips.
Apart from these, you can also talk to a mental health professional about your travel fears and worries. A therapist or counselor can also help sort out your travel anxiety symptoms.
Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:
Want to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest? Watch the video below and find out how you can keep your travel anxiety at bay!
Don’t miss out on all the holiday fun because of travel anxiety. It may take some extra work and preparation, but seeing your loved ones during the holidays is worth it!
What makes you most anxious about the holidays? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section.