Ways to Minimize Anxiety When Traveling
Anxiety shows up when we do not know what the future holds. When I was in college I used to get situational anxiety. If I happened to walk in and have a test or public speaking event that day, I’d be riddled with sweaty palms and high heart rate. Will my peers understand the point of my speech? Did I do a good enough job on my essay? Will that one bad quiz ruin my overall grade? Whether my anxieties were valid or not did not matter, because it was there. I had to deal with it.
The point is, we all have dealt with anxiety at some point in our lives, or at least know someone that does. In my case of test anxiety, preparation was key to helping me get through it. Whether freaking out about taking your first trip solo, or if you suffer from anxiety on the daily, these are some tips that may help ease your anxiety when traveling.
Create a Detailed Itinerary
Anxiety rears its ugly head most when the unknown is involved. Create a detailed itinerary before heading on your trip to help minimize stress. If you start feeling comfortable during your endeavors by all means venture off the itinerary. You can always go back to it if things get too stressful.
Use Google Maps Satellite View
Before heading out, pull up the Google satellite view of your destination to help you give a sense what you are going to encounter. Knowing what the building you’re staying in looks like will help not feel so lost when first stepping foot in a new place.
Make a Packing List
Physically write out what you need to pack. Once you pack it, check each item off the list, but keep the list with you when you leave. If you need to, go through the list and check the items off again when you go to leave your destination. When you feel like you missed something, look at that list to ease your anxiety. This also helps with over packing.
Clothes for Confidence
Pack the clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. If you’re solely a jeans and t-shirt person, traveling to a new place isn’t the best time to wear dresses every day. The more confident you feel, the less anxiety will try to take over.
Make a Playlist
Make a playlist when for your travels. Sometimes flights aren’t the quietest, so make sure to have a good set of headphones, close your eyes, and turn on your favorite music to help relax. If listening to podcasts, make sure none of them talk about travel disasters.
If you get overwhelmed with crowds, try limiting yourself to one or two activities for the day. Don’t try to squeeze too much in just because it is a place you have never been before. If traveling with others, schedule time to be by yourself as well. This allows some breathing room to fully recoup between crowds.
If you deal with anxiety on a regular basis, do not assume it will ruin your whole trip. Instead, put practices in place to minimize the effect anxiety has on traveling if possible. If you do end up with high anxiety, it’s okay! Don’t try to hide the fact that you’re anxious from your fellow travelers. You’d be surprised at how much simply telling someone you are stressed helps and brings out kindness in other individuals.