7 Tips for Coping with Travel Anxiety
We all know that July and August are the two summer months when everyone goes on vacation. In fact, planning for a trip can be a major challenge, especially if you’re prone to travel anxiety. To help you get over it, we have come up with some useful tips that will turn your vacation into a pleasant all-round experience.
1. Everyone Is a Tourist in Their Own Way
Let’s face it — there is no one right way to be a tourist. When on vacation, some of us go shopping, some go sightseeing, and some hit nightclubs and spend their time dancing and having a good time. When planning your trip, try not to get too influenced by what others say. You will only be visiting a particular city/country for a limited time, so there’s nothing wrong with not seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris or passing up on the nightlife in Barcelona.
Make sure to plan your trip in a way that meets your exact expectations. If you’re really into some particular activity, you should put it on top of your to-do list.
If you are traveling with a friend, you can try finding common ground with them and do something you both like. Discover some new aspects of things you previously considered boring!
If it doesn’t work out, you shouldn’t get really upset: it is quite OK to do things on your own. But do not try to get too independent because that will make the whole idea of going on a trip with friends pointless.
2. Don’t Set Yourself Any Limits
The more limits you set for yourself, the more your travel anxiety tends to increase. It is a bit like a daily routine: the more we leave our comfort zone, the more insecure we feel. Of course, getting out of your comfort zone is essential for your personal growth, even if it means having to deal with a great deal of anxiety. That does not mean, however, that the primary purpose of all your journeys should be personal development (although traveling frequently involves it).
While planning your trip, you should take into account how long it will take you to get to the airport or train station. You should also find out when your bus leaves. People frequently neglect this particular aspect and end up asking themselves questions like "Will I make it on time?” “What if I miss my flight?” “Is everything OK with my hotel booking?”
You can also write down your travel plan to make sure you don’t forget about something really important.
3. Make Sure Your Planning is Balanced
Planning can be instrumental. Since you cannot predict everything, you need to make sure your schedule is quite flexible. Paradoxically, plans often end up not being followed. That is because things do not always happen the way we expect them to. For example, if you haven’t seen half of Milan’s National Museum of Science and Technology and are already planning on visiting La Scala, you risk failing to do both.
Simply put, the only things you should worry about are the means of transport you’ll be using. As far as the length of stay is concerned (unless you have hourly tickets, which let you visit attractions only at a particular time), you can estimate it by doing Internet research, although it may not be very reliable sometimes. Alternatively, you can try asking people who have already been to the place. Come up with a convenient route so you can visit all points of interest without losing your way in an unknown city.
As for planning before going on the actual trip, that’s also crucial. Are you a full-time employee? Then settle the vacation dates before buying the tickets. And if you’re a student, make sure you don’t have any loose ends. Buy powerpoint presentation or an essay if you don’t have enough time to do them.
4. Modern Technology is Your Best Friend
The biggest fear people have when planning a journey is getting lost in an unfamiliar location. Modern technology can be a lifesaver on many occasions: it can help you not only orient yourself in an unknown setting but also let you plan things more effectively.
You can book tickets online and print them out anytime you want. You can also take advantage of discounts and skip-the-line tickets (the latter are especially useful on weekends).
The following platforms can be really helpful for organizing your vacation:
- TripAdvisor is a perfect solution for choosing hotels, restaurants, and attractions. It uses an algorithm that lets you see the latest reviews and most visited places first.
- Booking.com is ideal for booking hotels (keep in mind that TripAdvisor is considered more reliable).
- Rome2Rio allows you to pick the fastest and most economical way to get to your destination.
- Google Flight is great for comparing flights.
- Moovit is a mobile app that can show you the most suitable route to your destination by guiding you in real time.
- Google Assistant lets you know about incoming emails and keeps you informed about the flights and hotels booked. It also provides you with some basic translation options.
- Google Maps — pretty self-explanatory.
5. You are Never Alone
Travel anxiety is often caused by the feeling of insecurity: in case of emergency, we may not know where to go and who to turn to for help. For example, if you are in the middle of Madrid and an emergency occurs (your wallet gets stolen, you feel sick, you get lost, etc.), chances are that you may have to deal with it entirely on your own.
However, you shouldn’t give way to despair. Remember — you are surrounded by people, shops, and services, some of which are exactly like those available in your home country.
Here’s what you can do in case of emergency:
- You can ask someone for information and directions.
- Supermarkets and bars are everywhere, so you can get water and food anytime you need.
- If you feel sick, you can go to a nearby pharmacy or hospitals.
- If you don’t speak the language of the country, you can always use body language or draw some simple doodles. And those three words in French/Italian/Japanese that you know can be useful everywhere.
6. Live in the Present
When your plan is too precise, travel anxiety can get even worse. For example, if you’re doing something, you may already be thinking about the next item on your to-do list. You’re constantly asking yourself questions like, “Am I going to I be there on time?” “How much time do I have?” “Am I late?"
What you should do is relax and take things easy. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, it is not such a big deal. Just enjoy yourself and stop thinking about things you should have done, but you didn’t.
7. Autogenic Training
Autogenic training is a relaxation technique that lets you reduce anxiety and stress, including travel anxiety. If practiced regularly, it can train your body and mind to deal with emergencies a lot more effectively.
Autogenic training can help you keep calm in crowded or unknown places. It also reduces the probability of anxiety attacks. Since this is a specific technique, our advice would be to master it under the supervision of a psychologist or someone who has undergone relevant training.There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Vacation
By now, you should have already figured it out: everyone’s idea of a perfect vacation is different.
Remember — travel anxiety is a fundamental component of any journey. Without it, we would not be able to experience the adrenaline and satisfaction of going beyond our limits and discovering new things. Because even if we don’t spend much time on planning, every trip we go on makes us grow personally.
Don’t try to fight travel anxiety at all costs: just keep in mind the tips described above, and you’ll be able to enjoy every moment of your vacation.
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