40+ Ways To Manage Travel Anxiety

How To Manage Travel Anxiety
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I’d like to think that everybody has a little bit of traveling anxiety.  From the beginning stages of actually planning a trip, then you have your days of physical travel – such as the road trip or plane flight itself -, and finally, the anxiety we get once we’ve actually arrived at our destination (foreign place away from my comfortable “box” back home…eek!).  All of this takes planning and coordination and, if I’m being honest, it can be such a hassle!

But for some of us, traveling – even just the thought of the hassle listed above – can bring on crippling anxiety to the point where we end up scratching the whole idea entirely and staying home.  

However, what is a life that we have let anxiety take over and call the shots?!  Easier said than done, I know. But sometimes we should try to take a step or two out of our comfort zone.

Fear comes from the uncertainty that we wont be able to handle whatever comes our way. And anxiety feeds that fear by bringing on the irrational thoughts of what “might” happen.

But take a second to think about how much of the stuff you worry about, actually happen? Anxiety is a liar!

Your anxiety is lying to you

You live a much more fearful life if you try to avoid fear. And you’ll miss out on the so many things life has to offer. Including traveling to see new places.

You see all the Instagram influencers and travel bloggers posting their ah-mah-zing pictures of all their adventures.  They always seem to be so happy and smiling and ‘yay, this is, like, the funnest thing ever!,’ don’t they?

Meanwhile, you’re sitting on the other end of the screen in your house, at work, or somewhere else NOT traveling, wishing you could live that life.  The life of traveling the world!

Yet your anxiety is stopping you.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. – Susan Jeffers, PhD

Tell me I’m not the only one who has a “dream travel” Pinterest board that is full of places I’d love to visit – yet have visited none of them. 😳

So, how do those who travel do it?!  How do they seemingly travel with ease and little to no anxiety? Or, if they do, in fact, have travel anxiety, how do they manage to bypass it as they’re checking off another destination from their bucket list?

I asked 30 different travel bloggers & bloggers who travel to help us anxiety-ridden folk out and give us some pointers and tips on how to manage travel anxiety while preparing & planning a trip, while traveling to our destination, and how to manage anxiety once we’ve arrived at our destination.  

Here’s what they said:

How to manage travel anxiety – Over 40 Tips from travel experts around the web

As you read these amazing tips, know that some of them may contradict others. And that’s ok! What works for one person may or may not work for the other. And you won’t know what will work for you until you try it! So it’s important to try out more than one thing to find out what works best for you. 🙂

Travel Anxiety While PREPARING to Travel

The trip planning – Where to go.  The booking. The flights scheduling. The destination itinerary/fun/events planning.  The packing (even more fun when you not only have to pack for yourself but also have to pack your kids suitcases, too!).  

I asked: Give at least 1 tip for managing anxiety while PREPARING to travel.

open suitcase with items inside

1. Be in charge of the planning

“The more you can control about the trip, the easier it will be to keep your anxiety at bay. Maybe it helps you to be the driver vs. being the passenger. Maybe you prefer to be the navigator. (The countdown clock on the GPS helps me!) Whatever the case, re-establishing some amount of control over the situation can help.”

– Jen from DiffusingTheTension.com

2. Pack essential oils

“Pack essential oils and an item that when touched or worn creates serenity and security. I always pack a plastic or reusable bag with me. Having that one item makes me feel more at ease. “

Lauran from LaLaLaLauran.com

Read: Essential Oils For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

3. Plan ahead, pack ahead

“Plan ahead, pack ahead. Preparation & planning are key to eliminate all possible issues. Do 1 thing a day all the way through to completion. Maybe even doing one thing every two days where you are only focused on that one thing. Pack only day 1 clothes at a time. Have a set itinerary, which I suggest for relieving as much anxiety as possible.”

– Trina from RedneckRhapsody.com

4. Give yourself plenty of time

“Give yourself plenty of time so you are not rushing at the last minute to get organized. A list helps with this broken down into weeks and days until departure.”

– Suzanne from MeanderingWild.com

5. Make lists

“Make a list and then go over it a million times. Just kidding! Making a list is so important. Then I stick it somewhere I will not lose it like the fridge. But high enough that little fingers can’t reach it.”

– Erica from AdventuresOfAbbyGirl.com

“To help manage anxiety while you’re planning your activities, write out all the things you want to do. Put them in order of importance. Like absolutely ‘must do,’ ‘really want to do,’ and ‘would be cool to do.’ Then figure out how much time and money it takes to do the ‘must-do’ activities. Work those into your trip schedule first. Next, move to the ‘really want to’ do and so on. Remember to build in some downtime on your trip. Don’t schedule something every hour! You might want to explore a new area after arriving or hear about an activity and slide that into your itinerary.”

– Nikki from SheSavesSheTravels.com

“List of what needs to be booked prior to travel. List of what needs to be packed. List of things to remember to do before leaving. List of things to purchase when I reach my destination.”

– Shauna from OutMommingAbout.com

6. Plan for things you CAN control

“For me, it’s planning well for the things you CAN control, and being flexible with the things you cannot. I always try to have our bags packed early so that I can make sure we don’t need to do any last minute trips to the store. I use luggage that’s easy to carry or maneuver (backpacks and rolling suitcases all the way)! And I always read books and play imaginary games with my kiddos to help prepare them for what’s in store. I focus on the ADVENTURE that is coming and always let my kids choose something fun to plan for the trip (they’re still little, but I help them come up with something they can enjoy)!”

– Cate from SweetAndSimpleLife.com

Read: 6 Tips For Traveling With Toddlers

7. Don’t book too many things in advance

“As a travel lover, definitely I will 1st survey the place that I am going to visit beforehand. However, I have learned over the years not to make any hotel & ground tour booking, except for my return flight. Reason being I want to enjoy my slow travel to learn the local cultures & meet as many local people as I wish during the journey. If I have booked all in advance, I would be worried whether I have missed the check-in time or meet up time for a tour.”

– Sienny Yong from SiennyLovesDrawing.wordpress.com

8. Create redundant backup systems

“Create redundant backup systems for your itinerary, money, and identification. It’s not enough to have a digital copy of your itinerary if your phone gets stolen. Print a copy, have a photocopy with a friend you can phone, and send a copy of one to your Facebook messenger.”

– Veronica from VacayVisionary.com

9. Travel with people who can push you out of your comfort zone while still respecting boundaries

“Travel alone or travel with people who understand and respect your activity. It’s important to travel with people who will can both push you out of your comfort zone and can also respect your boundaries. The last thing your anxiety needs is to add guilt because you can’t or won’t participate in activities that negatively affect you. It’s important to make sure that you are building in time to center yourself and get back to normal when you are on vacation. Being alone, or being with the proper tribe, goes a long way in making this happen.”

– Khadijah from TravelingBlackSpinster.com

10. Always have a plan B

“Accept that nothing is perfect and that sometimes things can go wrong from getting lost to the hotel saying that you don’t have a booking. Always have a plan B so that you wouldn’t panic on the day. ”

– Christie from SaveEatTravel.blogspot.com

11. Have documents in one easily accessed envelope

“When traveling, I always have documents in one easily accessed envelope. This helps reduce my stress and anxiety when it comes time to pull out said documents. I also type out each day’s schedule. I am aware things change and I do like to wing it occasionally but having a “guide” helps reduce my anxiety.”

– Sara from VillageAndVineyard.com

12. Book flights 54 days before departure

“Money is a stressor. Therefore, always book flights in advance to get the best deal (usually 54 days before departure; on a Tuesday or Thursday). However, with busy lives, we often forget to book in time, so it’s extremely important to go on Google and search “54 days before (departure date)” and put it on your digital calendar with notifications on. If we want to have an extra reminder, we turn on notifications a week in advanced to start thinking about it again.”

– Chana from StillsNSeasons.com

13. Use apps to stay organized

“I use Apps to keep me organized so that preparing for travel is less anxiety-inducing. I use Wunderlist to make packing lists, to-dos, and shopping lists. I use Google calendar as a digital planner to keep myself on track. And I use EveryDollar to help budget for the trip!”

– Jacque from HoneyMovers.com

Read: How To Take Control Of Your Debt & Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck (YNAB Budget App Review)

14. Do as much research as possible – read all the reviews!

“Anxiety stems from the unknown so I do as much research as possible about the destination. I read reviews on places to stay, looking for high marks in areas that are important to me like cleanliness and location. I also spend time getting my right to handle the unknowns of a vacation.”

– Colleen from GoodByeAnxietyHelloJoy.com

15. Write down things that excite you about your upcoming trip

“For two weeks prior to your trip, be sure to wake up thirty minutes earlier each morning and write down five things you are excited to do on your holiday. Write these as if you are already doing them. For example: “I am so happy to be at the Eiffel tower admiring the sights of Paris.”

– Tanya from LittleMissTravel.com

16. Plan an itinerary

“Plan an itinerary. Whenever I do not plan anything I take forever to choose something to do as I’m often scared to go places or interact with people. I would say that traveling is something you learn and the more you do it the more comfortable you get at “winging it” even when you are scared.”

– Lieze from GlitterRebel.com

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Travel Anxiety WHILE Traveling

How to manage your anxiety while traveling to your destination. Examples could be – Transportation to and from the airport. Dealing with airport hassles. The plane flight itself. Road trips.

I asked: Give at least 1 tip for managing anxiety WHILE traveling.

people sitting on a plane

17. Talk about your anxiety to people you are traveling with

“Talk about your anxiety. Tell the people you are traveling with about the things that trigger your anxiety. For me, it is long car rides (I have a fear of needing to go to the bathroom and not being able to find a place to stop.) Use the people around you as a support system. In my case, when I travel with my husband, he assures me we will stop somewhere after X amount of time. That really helps.”

– Jen from DiffusingTheTension.com

18. Keep something comforting and/or relaxing on your person

“Keep something comforting and/or distracting on your person, I usually have a lavender scented spray in case I need it and lots of reading material/ pre-downloaded music and podcasts.”

– Soph from SophHearts.com

“We use lavender oil for the kids. It might be completely in our heads, but I use a lavender roller during travel and it keeps everyone calm and sleepy on the plane. If the kids are calm, I’m calm(er) and I can usually watch a funny movie to distract me from my anxiety.”

– Cate from SweetAndSimpleLife.com

“During travel especially in planes, I prefer carrying small lemon candies. They are so helpful.”

– Pooja from ColossalUmbrella.com

Read: “I’m About To Lose My Sh*t!” DIY Self-Care Box: Why You Need One & What To Put In It

19. Fidget toys & wine

“I use fidget toys, my hands get shaky on planes so I fill a balloon with flour and use it to squeeze. Also, when I travel long distances, I drink a little wine before the longest flight so that I can sleep.”

– Asia from WildBlackRice.blog

20. Pretend to read a book

“Bring a book. Even if you aren’t reading it, people will tend to leave you alone if you bury your nose in a book.”

– Liz from MakingMagicalMoments.com

21. Study airport layouts beforehand

“Look at airport layouts online before you leave home so you know where shops, restaurants, and toilets are so you can work out what you want to do. Look at the gates where your flight has gone from on previous days and look at the toilets and restaurants nearby. They usually go from a similar gate each time.”

– Suzanne from MeanderingWild.com

22. Have a plan for transport ahead of time

“Look at available options for transport and have a plan ahead of time. Plan how you will get to the airport, how you will get to the hotel and back again on the trip home. Will you walk, bus, tram, taxi, train or uber to your destinations once you have arrived? Get as much information as possible (how to buy tickets, what train/bus/tram route you need to take, etc) ahead of time.”

– Malinda from MohrFromLife.com

23. Get airport lounge access

“Get a credit card that gives you lounge access or buy lounge access for long layovers. It’s usually less noisy, includes food, and is just more comfortable overall. You can even pay for showers.”

– Mary from ThisIndulgentLife.com

24. Have positive thoughts prepared ahead of time

“Have a go-to-positive-thought prepared for moments when you feel your anxiety rising. If beginning to feel anxious imagine yourself doing something positive and fun on your holiday.”

– Tanya from LittleMissTravel.com

25. Build in extra time & expect something unexpected to happen

“Build in extra time! The more planning and time management you do before and during your trip, the less likely you’ll be rushed and anxious while traveling. Also, expect something unexpected to happen. When it does, tell yourself it’s no big deal because you expected it.”

– Nikki from SheSavesSheTravels.com

26. Meditation daily, even on vacation

“Meditation daily, even on vacation! Deep breathing. It does wonders! Especially on airplanes. (For me I get motion sickness easily and deep breathing/closing my eyes always helps!)”

– Jen from TheNomadicFitzpatricks.com

27. Leave early, even if it means you’ve got an hour or several to spare

“Leave early, even if it means you’ve got an hour or several spare, it’s better than a panic attack! Also have all the important things (tickets, passports, phone, etc) in one place for convenient double, triple and quadruple checking!”

– Arwen from AspiringToDance.home.blog

28. Earplugs and/or noise-cancelling headphones

“I actually have anxiety when there is too much movement in planes or loud noises. So earplugs help me block them out.”

– Christie from SaveEatTravel.blogspot.com

Travel Anxiety Once ARRIVED At Vacay Destination

How to manage anxiety once you’ve arrived at the destination. Examples could be – Nervousness due to being in a new, foreign place. Security & safety. Sticking to the budget. Anxiety over how the trip is going overall, etc.

I asked: Give at least 1 tip for managing anxiety once you’ve ARRIVED at your vacation destination.

woman walking in the center median of traffic in a city

29. Beforehand, create a schedule for every day that is reasonable to stick to

“Create a schedule for every day that is reasonable to stick to. Staying on some kind of general timeline really helps me! I’m big on structuring free time to minimize anxiety.”

– Jen from DiffusingTheTension.com

30. Make plans so that it’s always an option for you to head back to the hotel if you need to

“Make plans so that it’s always an option for you to head back to the hotel if you need to. Speak with your travel buddies before you even leave about what would be helpful for you if you decide you want to leave a stressful situation.”

– Lauran from LaLaLaLauran.com

31. It’s ok to skip the tour and take a break instead

“Rest when you need to. Take the next day off to chill if you are becoming overwhelmed. One day lost to touring is better than the trip being crappy because you stay too anxious to enjoy it.”

– Trina from RedneckRhapsody.com

“Plan some breaks into the schedule. Look to see if there are parks or quiet spots nearby that you can just take a moment to chill if you’re in a busy space.”

– Mary from ThisIndulgentLife.com

In Post Facebook Anxiety Group Banner

32. Use gift cards to stay on budget

“If you have a set budget for food and souvenirs, put it on several gift cards to help you better track your spending and reduce the risk of a lost or stolen credit card.”

– Liz from MakingMagicalMoments.com

33. Keep a journal

“Keep a journal, write down your fears and worries as well as what has been amazing. Getting it down on paper helps to relieve the stress and give you positives of the trip when you are having a hard day.”

– Suzanne from MeanderingWild.com

34. Get to the hotel, and stay there

“Get to the hotel/Airbnb, shower and relax for a couple of hours (basically get situated) before exploring a new place!”

– Chana from StillsNSeasons.com

“I take the time to get settled. I do not plan to do anything right away. It is important to relax and unwind after arriving.”

– Colleen from GoodbyeAnxietyHelloJoy.com

“I feel the most important thing when we travel to a new place is to relax when you land. I prefer sitting at the airport for something and think. Get fresh and then step out with a map.”

– Pooja from ColossalUmbrella.com

35. Know that English is a spoken almost everywhere in the world

“English is spoken almost everywhere in the world. When it comes to traveling, it should give you comfort to know that you can find someone who can give you directions and help you. Whether you are taking a plane, train, or need to get a taxi, you will find that you will be able to get directions, order food, and go to various attractions where English will be spoken.”

– Khadijah from TravelingBlackSpinster.com

36. Keep in touch with people back home

“Keep touch with people who are back home during the trip. I will text my mom daily, post on social media, etc. This way everyone knows I am ok, safe, and that I’m having fun.”

– Jacque from HoneyMovers.com

37. Talk to yourself in front of the mirror

“My anxiety is more about doing new stuff, meeting new people and going places I have never been to. Something that helps for me is having a little pep talk in front of the mirror talking about how disappointed I would be in myself if I missed out on doing something I was initially looking forward to. If that doesn’t help I take a bath which often calms me down and helps me put things in perspective.”

– Leize from GlitterRebel.com

38. Join local Facebook expatriate groups and ask for advice

“I join local Facebook expat groups when I travel internationally. If I feel uneasy about something, like a certain area, for example, I will post to the local group and ask for advice or experiences from the people who live there.”

– Shauna from OutMommingAbout.com

39. Familiarize yourself with the map

“Walk around your area and start to become familiar with the place. I often open Google Maps so I can see what shops are around me. This puts me at ease because I can familiarise myself with the map and what is nearby in case I get lost. For example, I can’t remember what street a restaurant is on – or the name of the restaurant! But I know Myer is on the same street, which is easy to see from a distance. This helps me to find the restaurant.”

– Malinda from MohrFromLife.com

40. Remember why you took the trip

“Part of the joy of traveling is experiencing new things. While that can bring on anxiety, remember it also brings excitement, new experiences, and memories to last a lifetime. If your anxiety sneaks up on you remember why you took the trip. Trust your instincts and take a deep breath!”

– Nikki from SheSavesSheTravels.com

What is something you do to manage your travel anxiety? Comment below!

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4 Comments

  1. Reply

    Madi Rowan

    July 1, 2019

    This is all awesome advice! What helps me is planning & writing lists…as well as wearing comfortable clothes, because nothings worse than feeling anxious or stressed, while being uncomfortable!

    -madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      July 2, 2019

      I’m the girl in yoga pants and a t-shirt in the airport. Hair in a bun, and it’s a really good day if I actually put on some mascara and blush on travel day. LOL

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Reply

    Chloe Daniels | Clo Bare

    June 30, 2019

    Such a great post! Pinned for future reminders. I definitely struggle with travel anxiety. Lavender essential oils and breathing techniques have been life savers.

    https://clobare.com

    • Reply

      DaLorean

      June 30, 2019

      I’m actually new to the world of essential oils, and have found that my lavender roll-on is AMAZING in immediately nipping my anxiety in the bud! Who knew?! haha

      Thanks for the comment!

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