Many people live with travel anxiety, which could include a fear of flying, nervousness when planning a trip, or general anxiety throughout travels. Here are some tips to help you combat that anxiety.
Have A Travel Companion
It can be comforting to travel with someone, especially if they travel frequently. Traveling with someone can give you a sense of security, distract you with conversation, encourage you, and help you get through the difficult parts of traveling (airports, boarding planes, directions). It may be beneficial to discuss your fears or anxieties with your travel partner to prepare them. It could help them if they know which things will specifically assist you in feeling calmer.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques help to make your mind and body feel calmer. If you find that you are anxious on planes, try to focus on relaxation techniques that are calming and distracting.
Center your focus on something calm
Breath deeply through your nose and slowly exhale from your mouth
Tense and relax each part of your body for 10 seconds starting with your feet and working towards your head
Listen to music or watch a movie
Imagine you are somewhere else picturing all the sights, sounds, and smells
Close your eyes
The most important tip is to make sure that you are controlling your breathing with long, deep breaths.
Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are helpful to add a few pounds of pressure, which triggers a calming feeling. There are many different weighted blankets to choose from. Try to get one that is 10% of your body weight for the best results. If you don’t have the space to use a blanket, you can try a weighted lap or shoulder pad. This will take up less space and be effective in a plane or car seat.
Alcohol has different effects on everyone, but it can potentially worsen travel anxiety. Water is the best option while traveling, more than any type of alcohol, coffee, or soda. Whenever you drink sugary or caffeinated drinks, it can dehydrate you and cause energy levels to spike and crash. Overall, these drinks can alter the way your brain reacts to anxiety provoking events.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy while traveling may be difficult at times, but should always be a priority. When you eat foods that do not offer a lot of nutrients or are high in sugar, your anxiety symptoms may be worse. Complete meals will help you to feel less hungry and keep your energy at appropriate levels throughout the day. If you know that you are going somewhere that healthy food is not readily available, you can try to pack some high-quality snacks to eat on the plane or in your hotel room. This will prevent you from having to settle for the less than appetizing options.
Exercise Before You Travel
Unless you are catching an early flight, try to put time aside to get an exercise in prior to going to the airport. Even if you just go on a walk, exercising can help to relax your muscles and distract you from pre-flight jitters. When you sit and think about your flight right before going, you may end up becoming more nervous and trigger panic responses. If you have a layover, you can walk around the terminal and stretch your legs. Your body needs the activity and will be thankful for the opportunity to loosen muscles, especially if you are going to be using the relaxation techniques previously discussed.
Remember Why You're Traveling
Although anxiety comes up frequently during travel, try to remind yourself why you are traveling in the first place. Sometimes anxiety needs to be pushed through so you can focus on your destination.
Keep asking and answering these questions:
Why am I traveling?
What activity do I want to do most?
Who's the first person I want to visit?
Am I going to let one plane ride stand between me and the trip of a lifetime?
Work With A Therapist
While these techniques are proven to be helpful, working with a therapist will help you to fight the anxiety and get to the root of your worries. To work with a therapist or coach who specializes in travel anxiety, click here.