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Planning Your Next Trip? Here's How to Deal With Travel Anxiety

How to Deal with Travel Anxiety
The fact that vacationing is a pleasurable activity is anybody's guess. But to some, the traveling part of it may be like a nightmare straight out of hell. Here are a few handy tips to help you deal with travel anxiety.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2018
Aren't we always longing for a vacation? Idyllic days, blissful sleepy nights, and a non-existent work life. Simply dreaming about a vacation like this can brighten a dreary day in office.

However, there are several people out there who quiver at the very thought of leaving their cul-de-sac. Anxiety brought upon by the prospect of travel is a disorder that plagues a sizable chunk of the population. The degrees of despair may vary, however, what remains common is the abhorrence for either the journey, or the idea of having a change of scenery. Whether for work or for pleasure, travel becomes a drudgery that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Travel anxiety as a disorder is something many choose to live with, just because it may be possible for them. However, avoiding it altogether is not something to be recommended. Instead, making attempts to get over this fear can give an unmatched sense of accomplishment to the individual, and raise his/her level of confidence.
Tips to Deal With Travel Anxiety
Listed below are a few tips that may come to your aid the next time you set out on a journey. So, take a deep breath, let the calmness take over, and begin reading...
Stand up to your fears
As someone suffering from travel anxiety, it is very easy to keep postponing your travel plans with whatever excuses you can muster up. You can pretend to be ill, or even go underground, but remember that you are simply letting your fear overpower you and live rent-free in your mind forever.
terrified passenger on plane
So what can I do?
Firstly, stop thinking of travel in a negative sense. The more you delay it, the further your fears multiply. Why build up a sky scraper of fears, when you can just go where ever you have to, and be done with it? Easier said than done, right?
worried anxious man
Wrong. To begin with, you just have to picture the impending trip in your head. Imagine that you're packing, taking the transport, living away from home, and eventually coming back. Keep focusing on how important your trip is, and how you will benefit from it. Remove all negative associations with travel.
Identify what the big deal is about
What is the scariest part? The wobbly aircraft? A rickety train ride? The germs in your hotel bed? Identify your demons and take concrete efforts to slay them. Discuss your apprehensions with someone you trust - friends or family. Open up to someone who can give you a whole new perspective on things and make you realize, after a point, that your fears are unfounded.
woman looks at the train
But there's more to it than what appears...
In some cases, a horrific experience may trigger travel anxiety. If you've experienced a near-fatal accident, or even a hijack, your fears are definitely justified. However, there is always professional help at hand. Discuss your feelings with a counselor or a therapist, who will be able to guide you accordingly. Eventually, you may or may not decide to travel again, but this way, you would be sure of having allayed your fears.
...And make a big deal of travel
Yes! Involve your family and friends in your travel plans. Discuss everything - from luggage size to flight bookings, to everything possible. This way, you'll find it easy to come to terms with the fact that traveling is not a hideous, green monster that you imagine it to be.
friends are planning trip
And you know what would make it better?
If you could find someone who's gone through the same, and has emerged triumphant. While talking to people you know will be helpful, you may sometimes feel that they don't really understand what's going on with you. So, you may look up for self-help groups that will let you interact with those who've gone through this phase, and have managed to overcome their fears.
Finally, make some real plans
Somehow or the other, you have to get used to the idea of traveling. So bring a trusted aide along, and get out of your home for real. Maybe spend a day at the beach in the town close by? Or perhaps just a weekend? Start small and basic, to help you get into the groove.
woman planning with notebook
What if it worsens my symptoms?
Hmm, that's a possibility. But how will you know unless you actually travel? What if you begin to warm up to it? Even this is a possibility. To know for sure, you simply have to make it happen.
Tips to Ease Out Traveling Blues
● Before you begin your journey, ensure that you have everything covered, which you suspect may trigger an anxiety attack. It could be anything from locking the cupboards to shutting the windows - make sure that it's taken care of.
closet lock
● Carry along something comforting on your journey; it has to be something that calms you. It could be a favorite blanket or a jacket, or even a scarf.
woman standing in corridor
● Carry a book or some music or a movie that will let you focus your attention elsewhere.
woman reading book
● It is always recommended that you dress appropriately for your trip. Wear comfortable and loose clothing.
● Always, always breathe steadily. Take a deep breath to the count of three, hold it to the count of three, and slowly exhale to the count of three. Deep breathing will help relax your mind.
● If you suspect these methods would be inadequate, you may discuss this issue with your doctor, who can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to carry along.
doctor talking with patient
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