Travel anxiety is very common and can happen even to someone on their 100th trip. You can be perfectly normal and can still experience travel anxiety, not necessarily someone with an anxiety disorder. Some people are terrified of flying while some may feel stressed about the preparations leading to trip such as packing and planning. There is no definitive spectrum for travel anxiety.
It’s an uncomfortable, vague feeling which is very much normal considering one is moving out of their comfort zone, jumping into unfamiliar environment and for some people its an overwhelming sensation of emotions that lead people to commit to some kind of social faux pas, fearing that everyone around them think they are crazy but it really is what it is. It’s your feeling and emotions others can not even begin to fathom until they are in those shoes.
Travel anxiety sometimes could be too much to handle that sometimes lead to a feeling of mental exhaustion and breakdown, wanting to go back home back to the comfort zone. For some people who tend to have general anxiety are also highly likely to suffer from travel anxiety. For few people, it can be an overwhelming situation in which it helps to shift once focus onto something else, some activity or looking forward to the next thing they have planned to do and taking it to step by step.
Anxiety during traveling is very a common and yet a complicated issue and it can often be a cause behind the feeling of anxiety and depression when on going trip is in the queue. Some people have an initial fear for traveling which leads to a confusion of anxiety in the initial preparation of a trip.
How to overcome travel anxiety:
Some people completely psych themselves out just being away from home not knowing why or about what they are anxious. The important question to ask is how can we reduce anxiety during travelling?
Reducing anxiety becomes easier by some small steps:
- Coping Skills: One of the most important things to overcome anxiety is a person’s coping skills. The way of dealing with a situation changes the way and the extent of anxiety attacks. Meditation and relaxation techniques can be of great help in coping up with anxiety.
- Planning everything properly: If you plan the first few days of your travel efficiently the chances of anxiety are reduced to 20% only. The feeling of anxiety bumps in when things seem out of control therefore planning can reduce anxiety considerably.
- If you are travelling abroad, know about the country: One basic issue experienced by many people is lack of knowledge. Travelling to new locations without any knowledge can lead to problems as rules vary from place to place. Some of the uncontrollable events may occur due to a new place so knowing about the place is important.
- Know your anxiety and challenge it: Only a person suffering from anxiety can know when it’s at the peak and how to fight it. Logic can never go out of style. Anxiety can be beaten with logic every time it strikes. Lead the situation to a logical end and that’s how you beat it.
- Carry your medical kit: it is important to take your medical kit with you all the time. Let’s say you have nausea that is prolonged even after the careful measure of steps. In such a case, medications might be helpful. Tablets for vomiting are also available in the market.
- Ask for help: If you travel with a companion let them know about your anxiety issues and ask for help whenever it seems uncopiable. Asking for help is very important as anxiety needs to be o to make travelling enjoyable.
Travelling anxiety symptoms
Anxiety can be experienced by anyone but when it comes to travel anxiety the reasons become a bit specific such as the planning of a trip, the unexpected delays and the conflicts that may arise while the trip itself.
Some noticeable symptoms related to travel anxiety are as follows:
- An increased heart rate
- Chest convulsions or gastric pains
- Breathing problems (especially if the individual is suffering from Asthma)
- Irritation, restlessness and agitation like feeling
- Diarrhoea and nausea ( very common)
- Trouble in focusing or concentrating
- Insomnia ( unable to sleep)
- Motion sickness ( unable to look at devices while travelling, vomiting)
In certain cases the symptoms exceed in order to lead to a condition known as panic attacks.
Panic attacks are an increase in all the symptoms of anxiety which causes body sweats, shaking and other similar extreme situations. Immediate attention is required in this kind of situation as the condition is usually triggered by the surroundings a person resides in or by the way an he or she feels.
Causes of Travel Anxiety
It is unfair to categorise the fear of travelling by just one reason. The causes of a negative reaction towards travelling have more to it than just one cause.
Some of the causes of anxiety during travelling can be as such :
- Accidents: People who have experienced any kind of car accidents or other vehicle-related accidents develop a fear of travelling again.
Although research explains that accidental events lead to anxiety development only in a certain percentage of people. It has been discovered that a huge number of 65% individual are affected by accidental incidents.
- A previous memory: To explain this better, consider a past travelling experience where everything went wrong. The flights were delayed, there was continuous nausea, the feeling of not belonging in addition to some fights with friends and work deadlines slipping out of hand.
These situations lead to the development of a fearful situation that may stay with an individual leading to mental hindrance and anxiety about travelling.
- Hearing to triggering events: Sometimes even hearing bad news on the television or a horrifying story by an acquaintance can trigger the travel anxiety.
There might be a fear that might suggest “what if I encounter the same thing?” and this can act as an anxiety inducer
- Genetical factors: Genetics also play a major role in anxiety issues. A study shows that if parents of an individual have anxiety issues, chances are that the individual has them as well.
In most cases, anxiety is considered to be an important element of travelling as one can never be sure of the events that might occur even though it is planned perfectly.
Mild anxiety is natural but if the anxiety is severe that it is stopping you from going out then help might be asked for.
- Knowing what triggers you: Triggers might be different in different individuals. Identification can be achieved on a personal level by an individual or via professional help. Anything can act as a trigger, the work you have pending before hitting the roads, medical conditions of an individual or other factors.
Once an individual knows the triggers it is easy to find an alternative or a solution for the problem.
- Find arrangements for the work when you are away: One of the most haunting things that trigger anxiety are the work left behind while you are away. If proper arrangements are made for work, there are chances of reduced anxiety.
- Plan your travel: One can never be sure of the scenarios that might happen during travelling therefore it is of utmost importance to plan for every situation. Preparation of mind about certain conditions such as “if the flight is late” or “ if money is insufficient”. If one is already prepared for these conditions, chances of panic reduce.
- Fight anxiety with distraction: Everyone has a hobby that can boost their mood. One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to avoid the circumstances. Indulging in writing, painting, songs, movies etc could be of great help.
- Travelling with friends: Travelling alone can be a bit tiresome when you are alone and more chances of having anxiety are there as well. Having a travel buddy can help with the issues. The more the merrier. Travelling with a group is always another option.
The reason for travelling is to refresh from the daily routine and enjoy for a while. If anxiety keeps bulging into this feeling of joy, travelling will become unworthy hence it is very important to know the anxiety issues and dealing with them. Coping with anxiety is an important part of any trip.
Travelling becomes effortless with everything well planned and well organised in order to enjoy every moment of the trip.