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It is not easy to just jump on a plane
The mood in the travel industry is slowly lifting – we want to go on vacation!
However, in the post-Covid-19 era, travel anxiety is genuine and places a damper on plans for many people.
It is understandable to feel some apprehension after being confined in our homes for so long and because of all the uncertainty. However, there are ways to address feelings of stress and anxiety and feel better about going on holiday. So, let's see how we can help!
What is travel anxiety?
In general, travel anxiety manifests when one feels like you are losing control visiting new places. You are outside your normal comfort zone, in an unfamiliar place, and you must think differently about what you do and how you will do it. The stress of traveling plans (and how they can go wrong) can contribute to this.
On top of this, we've been told that home is the safest place to be for the past year or longer. So, it is no surprise that experts notice a spike in travel anxiety as the world opens up.
How to cope with travel stress and anxiety
What are you worried about?
What helps many people is to try and figure out precisely what it is that sits behind their travel anxiety. Is it fear of the unknown or the fact that you can’t control your situation?
The answer lies in becoming more confident about taking the trip by identifying triggers and deciding what you will do about it. For example, if you feel anxious because you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, immerse yourself in your travel plans! Research everything so that you'll know what to expect.
Hammering out all the details can make you feel less anxious while traveling. If you give yourself enough time to plan, you’ll feel less stressed and fearful. Remember to set out the mail collection and get someone to feed your pets! It won’t do to stress about things at home while you’re away.
More tips for your battle plan:
- Download a map or guidebook on your phone.
- Take enough money.
- Have an emergency contact that can help if the worst happens.
- Get travel insurance.
- Research where you can get health services if needed.
An expert tip is to plan the first few days of your trip in detail. Find the airport on the Internet and look at its layout and terminals. How does the city's subway system work, and what other forms of local transportation are available? Find your hotel on a map and read reviews of nearby restaurants and tourist attractions. Having all these details handy can ease stress and anxiety.
Perhaps friends and family are pressuring you to venture further from home that you’re comfortable with. If this makes you anxious, don’t be afraid to share this with others. We should respect each other’s boundaries and levels of comfort, especially in these times.
Ease into travel
If the idea of a restaurant in a strange city makes you anxious, go to one in your hometown first. Perhaps it is the long plane ride that worries you: why not take a shorter trip? A prominent hotel with a crowded lobby can be shelved for later. For now, you can stay in a more Covid-friendly place such as an Airbnb establishment.
Remember, it is normal to feel anxious. Acknowledge your feelings as normal – it can also bring you comfort.
Pack some comforts
Books, music, some online games, and a travel journal can help reduce anxiety while traveling.
Also, don’t forget to pack necessary medications and contact information for supportive people you can talk to if needed.
Teach yourself some relaxation techniques and do them while you are on the trip. Mindfulness can go a long way to help you relax and help you feel more positive about your circumstances.
Remember, if all else fails, you can always go home! If you try it for a few days and realize that this just isn’t the right time for travel, go home. It does not mean that you've failed. It only means you've tried. There is no shame in saying you did not like it.
Why travel at all?
The best way to get rid of travel anxiety is to acknowledge it and give yourself space. The intention of travel is, after all, to have fun and enjoy being away. Don't forget the reasons you wanted to go on a trip in the first place.
Yes, sometimes the worst that can happen will happen.
But, chances are you will survive it and realize you are much stronger than you thought you were. The things we are most anxious about will most probably not be as bad as expected.