Travelling is a unique and unforgettable experience, and for many of us, it’s something we enjoy regularly.
While meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and learning new things are all exciting parts of travelling, they can also be overwhelming and stressful for some.
With approximately 40 million US adults dealing with anxiety, it’s understandable that many tourists and travellers will have to deal with it while they’re away from home.
Being away from home, and the things that feel familiar to you, can exacerbate your anxiety and leave you vulnerable to symptoms ranging from mild stress to panic attacks.
Experiencing anxiety attacks and ongoing stress on your travels can be debilitating and leave you unable to enjoy your experience.
Thankfully, there are many ways to cope with anxiety, even when you’re away from the comforts of home.
As such, you don’t need to avoid travelling to ensure that you stay safe and happy. You just need to be prepared and work to understand what you need to do to reduce the chances of you experiencing anxiety.
Here are some tips to help you learn to manage your anxiety and prepare for it before you take a trip.
Create A Plan For Your Trip
Often, anxiety can be caused by a fear of the unknown, so try to create a rough plan for your journey. You’ll then know where you’re going and what you’re doing, which will give you a feeling of security during your journey. The plan doesn’t have to be rigid so that you can enjoy some freedom and spontaneity during your trip, but a rough idea of what you’re going to do will ensure that you feel comforted. When planning your trip, you should book accommodation and make sure you keep all details together, so you know that you’ve always got somewhere safe to stay.
Learn Some Basic Grounding Techniques
Short-term grounding techniques can be a useful way to reduce the symptoms of stress and ensure that you feel more relaxed. As such, you should practice some grounding techniques for anxiety, which you can use on your travels and when you’re at home. Not all grounding techniques will work for everyone, so it will take some trial and error to find the best one that works for you. Test out grounding techniques at home so that you know which ones will work for you when you’re travelling.
Avoid Known Triggers Where Possible
As you navigate life, you’ll notice that some situations might cause you more mental distress than others. These are known as triggers. When planning your trip away from home, you should try to work out ways to avoid these situations wherever possible. For example, if you know that you struggle to cope in large crowds, then avoid going to areas that are tightly packed, or consider going at times that are known to be less busy. Alternatively, if you’re scared of animals, then don’t plan a trip to a zoo while you’re away. It might sound obvious, but you need to be careful and think hard when you’re choosing destinations and activities for your trip. This approach will reduce your chances of experiencing an anxiety attack that’s caused by a trigger you’re aware of. If you can’t avoid a particular situation, then you should try to make sure that you do everything in your power to reduce the chances of stress and anxiety.
Arrive Early For Departures
Arriving early can help you to reduce your stress by ensuring that you don’t feel stressed that you will miss a departure. By giving yourself extra time before departures, whether they’re flights, trains or another form of transport, you can relax before you leave and will have the time to prepare yourself mentally for any future stresses. If you arrive early, you will also give yourself the chance to avoid crowds in many circumstances. When you’re making your plan for your trip, you should try to fit in extra time to ensure that you reach departure points at least an hour early so that there’s no chance of you missing your transport and being stranded. You’ll then be able to relax on your journey and start it as you mean to go on. This approach should be applied to any journey you take, not just your initial flight. If you’re planning on travelling around during your trip, whether it’s a city break or a backpacking adventure, you should make sure you’re always early for any journey’s departure.
Bring Medicines And Anxiety-Reducing Tools
When you’re packing for your trip, you need to make sure that you pack everything you need to reduce your anxiety and deal with any issues you may encounter when you’re away. If you take medicine for your anxiety, whether it’s prescribed or not, you need to make sure that you bring a supply of it with you on your trip. As well as medicine, it would be best if you tried to pack items that could help you to reduce your anxiety. There are many tools for reducing anxiety available, such as stress balls, fidget toys, weighted blankets and more. Much like exercises and grounding techniques for anxiety, not all of these tools will work for everyone, so try out a few before you head off on your holiday. You can then find the ones that work best for you and will help you to manage your mental health on the road.
Leave Travel Details With A Trusted Friend Or Family Member
Whether you’re travelling alone or with someone else, it’s important that you stay safe throughout your trip. To reduce your anxiety and ensure that, if anything goes wrong, someone can deal with the situation, you should leave details of your travel arrangements with a trusted friend or a member of your family. Give them a full itinerary and provide them with contact details for airlines, transport providers and accommodation locations so that they can reach you if something goes wrong at home. They can also find and support you if something goes awry on your trip. Passing over these details will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your travels.
Speak To Your Doctor
If you have ongoing anxiety or any diagnosed mental issues, then you should talk to your doctor. While occasional stress, particularly in unusual or difficult situations, is normal, ongoing stress could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. If you don’t already have a diagnosis, then you need to talk to your doctor to get an insight into the problem and learn about how to manage it over the long term. If you’ve already got a diagnosis, then make sure that you always go to your doctor before travelling and get a supply of any medication that you might need to manage your mental health while you’re away from home. Your doctor can give you practical advice and ensure that you have everything you need to enjoy your trip without your anxiety getting in the way.
There’s no precise way to guarantee that you don’t experience stress during your travels, but by using these tips, you can reduce the impact it has on your trip. Many of these tactics can be used throughout your daily life, whether you’re at home or away, so you can enjoy better mental wellbeing at all times.