Travel Anxiety: Tips and Tricks, HSPs, and How to Enjoy the Journey
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Traveling to a new place can be nerve-wracking. The tight feeling in your stomach before you load the plane, or your heart rate skyrocketing when you step into a crowded bus or security line at the airport, may be common occurrences for you. Maybe it is the fear of running late, or aggressive drivers on the interstate. Although traveling can be stressful, it does not have to be fear-inducing. Most of the time traveling is meant to be a fun experience. Travel anxiety can be defined as anxiety symptoms that are associated with and triggered by traveling. Keep reading to learn how to enjoy the journey to your final destination!
Tips and Tricks:
1. Plan to ease the “what-ifs”:
Traveling can be intimidating because there are many uncertainties that can come to mind associated with your trip. One great way of easing these thoughts is extensively planning your trip and anything else that may come to mind. For example, booking a flight ahead of time and getting to the airport with plenty of time to map out where to go can help ease worries about possibly missing your flight. It is also helpful to pack ahead of time and write down a list of things you need to pack, so you do not forget any essentials. Confirming hotel and transportation arrangements can ease you into the new area you will be in.
You can also plan ahead for things happening at home while you are gone, such as pet sitting, house sitting, mail, security, etc. This can lessen worries about what is happening at home while you are not there, so you can enjoy your time away from your usual schedule. Also, I’d recommend planning out what you need to do or want to do on your trip. This can help give yourself a purpose for traveling and mark it off your list when you get back home.
2. Bring comfort distractions:
3. Utilize sensory aids for grounding:
It can be difficult to try and relax on the plane or in the car when you have travel anxiety. A great way to try and ground yourself is by using sensory aids. This can be something to chew on like gum, mints, or candy. It can also be something to hold or lay on like a pillow or blanket. Other options include your favorite music or podcast playing in your noise canceling headphones, some earplugs, an eye mask to block out some of the over stimulating environments, essential oils, your favorite lotion,hand sanitizer, a mask, and chapstick.
4. Implement a buddy system:
Although it may not be realistic to bring a trusted person on every excursion you take away from home, having a safe person with you when traveling can give you an outlet and a hand to hold! Traveling can also be more fun when you can make memories with the people you love.
Highly-sensitive people and traveling:
Traveling for HSPs can be intimidating. It is a combination between unfamiliarity, overstimulation, and change. However, HSPs have the potential to love traveling because of their natural inclination to enjoy deep learning and experience, details, and reflection of new experiences. Here are some great ways to keep those negative feelings at bay when traveling:
- Research where you are going, and map everything out in your head! Familiarizing yourself with where you are going can help make the trip less overwhelming. You can even plan your trip stops with Google Maps to find the most efficient way to go.
- Less is more. Packing less can help ease the overwhelming feeling when trying to transport a lot of luggage.
- Bring all the comfort and sensory things to block out the noise of crowded spaces.
- Try and do one thing out of your comfort zone on the trip. You might just impress yourself, and it will make everything feel easier!
- When you get to your location, treat yourself with a bit of self-care or by doing something you enjoy to recharge your batteries!
Traveling can be a positive experience!
Travel can bring new opportunities for you to flourish and experience. It is a chance to get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, interact with new cultures, and even build self-confidence by gaining independence in a new environment.
Whether it is to Europe, the beach, or an exciting career opportunity, traveling can be something to look forward to! Vacations are needed sometimes to take some time away for your own mental health. Implementing some of these practices can make a vacation feel less like stress, and more like a vacation!
Montijo, S. (2022, February 24). Travel anxiety: Signs, tips, prevention, and more. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/travel-anxiety#travel-anxiety
Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). The highly sensitive person’s Guide to Travel. Psychology Today.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201902/the-highly-sensitive-persons-guide-travel#:~:text=Highly%20Sensitive%20People%20are%20sometimes%20anxious%20about%20travel,subtle%20details%20of%20an%20experience%2C%20and%20love%20reflection.
WebMD. (n.d.). What causes travel anxiety and how to overcome it. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/what-to-know-travel-anxiety
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