Travel Anxiety: 5 Tips to Help You Cope

If the thought of visiting a new place makes you break out into a cold sweat, here are a few tips to help you enjoy your next vacation or business trip a little more.

If the thought of visiting a new place makes you break out into a cold sweat, here are a few tips to help you enjoy your next vacation or business trip a little more.

Travel anxiety is an issue that countless people deal with and one that can prevent you from having new and exciting experiences. It may not be an officially diagnosed condition, but it’s still worth discussing.

Common Symptoms of Travel Anxiety

Anxiety-related symptoms are different for everyone but here are some of the most common symptoms that are experienced before or during a trip:

  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Agitation

Most of these symptoms can easily be dealt with; it’s when they become overwhelming that the likelihood of a panic attack increases.

Why People Experience Travel Anxiety

There are a number of reasons why people develop travel anxiety but it mostly comes down to having a particularly traumatic experience while travelling. Those who already struggle with anxiety will often develop fears after reading about plane crashes, illnesses or general dangers, causing them to overthink a trip that they should be excited about. Anxiety is linked to a specific part of the brain and research shows that genetics does play a role too.

Related Read: How to Reset Your Internal Sleep Clock While Travelling

Tips to Help You Better Deal with Travel Anxiety

1.Focus on the positive aspects of anxiety

Yes, there is actually a positive side to anxiety. When you spend time preparing for potential problems such as lost luggage, illness or flight delays, you will leave for your trip feeling more relaxed and in control. With this being said, it’s important to remember that you can’t plan for every eventuality and some things really are out of your control, so rather focus on what you can control and prepare accordingly.

2. Do as much reading as you can beforehand

If this is your first time in a new city or country, read up! Along with preparing for your trip and looking at aspects such as visas, do some additional research and reading in order to make your trip more comfortable. Look at things such as:

  • Common phrases
  • Electrical outlets
  • Safety of the tap water
  • Tipping norms
  • Local scams
  • Taking and making calls
  • Local emergency numbers

3. Look for logical conclusions

If there’s one thing that people with anxiety know well, it’s thinking about worst-case scenarios. One way that you can combat this just before or while you’re travelling is to force yourself to think about the most logical conclusion. What are the chances that what you’re thinking about will actually happen? For example, if you’re terrified of getting food poisoning but you really want to try the local cuisine, go through the steps you would take should it happen. Once you break a scenario down into logical steps, it doesn’t seem as scary as it once did.

4. Focus on past travel wins

What are some of the good things that happened during your last trip? Write down the useful tips and amazing experiences that you had so that you can read through them any time you feel yourself getting slightly anxious. Having evidence of positive experiences will help flip the switch in your brain and help you have a more enjoyable time.

5. Speak to someone you trust

If you know that anxiety is a big issue for you, make time to sit down with a trusted friend, family member or your therapist so that you can talk through your concerns. Sometimes, you just need someone to bring you back down to earth to feel better about your upcoming trip.

If you still feel that travel anxiety might disrupt your vacation or business trip, speak to your physician about anti-anxiety medication or even a natural remedy.


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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.