Pre-travel anxiety can arise due to fear of visiting an unfamiliar territory alongside the stress of travel plans. Most people with pre-travel anxiety often find themselves going back and forth with the travel plan as the travel date approaches. The mind starts cooking up different scenarios, which could negatively affect the plans.
It could be an overwhelming fear of what lies ahead or the series of the unknown that characterize the journey. Pre-travel anxiety is not a specific fear like the fear of driving or the fear of meeting people. However, such phobia can contribute to what makes up pre-travel anxiety.
For everyone dealing with such anxiety, here are six tips to cope
1. Adjust Your Focus
Anxiety is the response that the nervous system gives when the mind fixates on something unpleasant. As a result, when you are getting butterflies about your trip, what you are focusing on, might be the culprit. People worry about several things ranging from getting lost, falling sick, having an accident, the problem with the customs, difficulty navigating your way, etc.
The problem with fixating on such is that it will consume your emotions, making you avoid the trip. On the contrary, fixate on the positives about your trip. Think about what excites you and the benefit you will get. When your focus changes like this, it will be accompanied by positive emotions.
2. Get Outside the Comfort Zone Before the Trip
Let’s face it, the main reason someone might be anxious before a trip is because you will be miles away from everything that represents your comfort zone. However, before traveling, make it a habit to get comfortable going outside your comfort zone.
Little steps here and there to work out your resilience muscle can help. It can be as simple as a solo hike, a trip to the neighboring state alone, a camping trip overnight, or even trying a foreign dish.
Consider these as little steps that will prepare you for the journey, and help you better deal with an unforeseen contingency that might arise on such a trip.
3. Take Care of Yourself Before the Trip
You need not experience pre-travel anxiety to take care of yourself. In the few weeks that lead to your trip, engage in some self-care habits, as it will go a long way to help you feel good, calm, and relaxed before the actual trip.
In addition, spend time with loved ones, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, drink water, spend time in nature. These self-care activities can go a long way to preparing you for the trip.
Consider meditation as well, and it is a proven tool that can beat anxiety. There are resources online and YouTube videos that can guide you through the meditation process.
4. Remember Past Successful Travels and Lessons Learnt
For people who are not savvy travelers, every time you make a trip successfully is a triumph. Finding your way to the hotel using your phone’s GPS, ordering a meal in the local foreign language, etc., are memories you should cherish. When you successfully navigate these roadblocks, it proves you can do more.
Make sure to recall and cherish these memories. Write them down if possible, as they are evidence that traveling isn’t an arduous task, and you can navigate it yourself. Such evidence is proof that you can manage to be away from home.
Having and recalling such successful past travel experiences will also help devise tactics to navigate and learn better tips for handling mistakes.
5. Identify Your Triggers
Consider what led to such anxiety. Jot down everything that seems like a trigger for the anxiety. Even if the feelings seem silly, jot them down. It can help you when preparing for the trip, and putting them in mind can guide you via the preparation.
This process is called psychotherapy in anxiety treatment. It is ideal for identifying and working through anxiety.
6. Plan for Some Scenarios
Many times, anxiety arises because of excessive fixation on the negatives of the trip. While having a contingency plan for all negative experiences on the journey might seem farfetched, having a couple of action plans handy will help tremendously.
If your anxiety stems from “what ifs”, there are plans for some common ones:
- What if I am robbed? My travel insurance will cover me.
- What if I run out of funds: I can contact a friend, or better still, travel with my credit card.
- What if I get lost? I have GPS installed on my mobile device.
Settle down, make a list of such scenarios alongside your plan for them. Knowing that you have such plans will go a long way to calm anxiety.
Anxiety need not stop you from enjoying your trip and seeing the world. Hopefully, these six tips can help you beat pre-travel anxiety.