You’ve picked the date, bought the ticket and planned the excursions. As your summer vacation draws near, you expect to feel excited. But you might be surprised to find you also feel anxious. You’re not alone. Travel anxiety can affect even the most relaxed person.
Experts say this type of anticipatory anxiety occurs because we are about to face an unfamiliar situation with factors that are out of our control. For some people, travel anxiety is related to the air or car travel. For others, it’s a fear of being away from home for an extended amount of time or getting ill on a trip. Some people feel the most anxious before they travel, and some feel anxiety throughout a trip. No matter how it manifests, there are three steps you can take to combat travel anxiety.
First, remind yourself that anxiety is part of the experience. There’s no way to control every factor, but you will feel better if you acknowledge and prepare for what can go wrong. If you’re afraid of getting ill, pack medicine that will combat a cold, fever and stomach issues. If you’re afraid of missing a train or plane, set multiple alarms and allow ample time to arrive at the train station or airport.
Second, practice relaxation techniques. Use the 4-7-8 breathing exercise to center yourself. Close your eyes and inhale for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds, and exhale slowly over eight seconds. This will help your body relax.
Third, make a list of previous travel victories. Think of what great memories you’ve created. Carry that list with you so you can remind yourself that the trip will likely go well.
With those tips in mind, enjoy the summer travel season!