The Complete Guide To Stress-Free Trip – overcome your pre-travel anxiety and enjoy your holidays!

how to cope with anxiety and panic attacks while traveling
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Don't let anxiety stop you from traveling

simple tips and healthy hacks to enjoy your trip even if you suffer from anxiety

Anxious about traveling?

Coping with anxiety while traveling is quite challenging but it can be done in a healthy and effective way. Where a “healthy way” means not using alcohol, sedatives or any other drugs of choice to numb your emotions. Of course, if you are already on therapy because of your anxiety disorder and you were prescribed anti-anxiety meds it’s a completely different discourse. I’m not encouraging anyone to stop using prescribed meds, because I know that anti-anxiety medications can actually save someone’s life. Thus, if you were prescribed any type of meds because of your health issue you shouldn’t feel bad about this. It takes guts to start therapy and meds in many cases are an integral part of this healing process. And, talking about feeling anxious while traveling, you might be surprised how many people actually see a therapist because of anxiety associated with travel. Most of my friends when asked what travel means to them they describe this experience using words like excitement, freedom, joy, happiness but also anxiety, panic, and fear of unknown. And there is nothing wrong with that! Because travel is all about discovering new destinations, exploring new places, seeking new adventures, meeting new people, trying new foods. And, being in new, strange places, away from home, friends and familiar environment can definitely trigger anxiety. Everyone experience anxiety differently, there is no doubt about this. However, sometimes the level of anxiety is so high that it makes it impossible to actually enjoy your trip. If you suffer from travel anxiety you know exactly what I am talking about. Honestly, I cannot tell you the number of times I nearly canceled my trip because I was scared, terrified and panic-stricken. And let me tell you, I’ve reached the highest level of making up catastrophic scenarios in my head during a plane trip. If I told you all this, you would say that I’ve got a very vivid imagination. It’s just what fear does to people. We all know that. But the best way to challenge your fears is to face them! And this is what my tips for the anxious traveler are for.

 

So, without further ado, here are my 15 tips to manage anxiety while traveling in a healthy and natural way: 

1. Know what triggers your anxiety

  • Make a list of all of the things that trigger your anxiety while traveling (past bad experiences, emergency landing, getting lost in a foreign country, being robbed, problems with accommodations, etc.).
  • Make a list of possible bad scenarios and find solutions to them.
  • Create your own SELF-CALMING strategy here 
  • Learn how to manage panic attacks like a boss here 

2. Plan your trip

  • Plan in advance – Schedule – Organize – Realize (Best way to proceed: Answer the questions about your trip: WHERE/WHY/HOW/WITH WHO/FOR HOW LONG and proceed with the plan).
  • Looked or booked hotels in advance using one of the best websites (it’s easy, safe and you can always find a great deal and save some money) booking.com.
  • Time your trip carefully. Going on a trip off-season is a great way to avoid the crowd and high prices (of course we are not talking about going to the Caribbean during hurricane season).
  • If you need a Visa, apply for it in advance.
  • Pick the right suitcase.
  • Look for Airbnb Experiences to find and book unique activities designed and led by inspiring locals here
Booking.com
holiday organisation

3. Do the pre-trip research

  • Learn about the place where you go for a trip (buy a guidebook, search for travel blogs and read stories and reviews that will give you the sense of your destination).
  • Know the facts – learn some basics about the culture and maybe some basic customs of the place you are going on a trip.
  • Learn some basic words and common phrases in the local language.
  • Buy a good paper map before your trip (google maps is great but it is also draining your phone’s battery).
  • Tripadvisor best for reviews, recommendations, and bookings.
  • Useful Travel Apps – you will find my post about BEST FREE TRAVEL APPS here 
  • Do you need to rent a car? Check the best options before going on a trip.
  • Know the local emergency number and contact information for Embassy or Consulate.
Affordable Travel is Totally Possible

4. Make a packing list

  • Make  a detailed list of things you need to take with you (guaranteed way to never forget anything ever, ever again).
  • Keep the essentials close (prescribed medications, power bank, electronic devices, toothpaste, handkerchiefs etc.). 
  • Have a color copy of your documents (just in case you will need them).
  • Download Your FREE Printable
    Travel Checklist, Bucketlist & Organizer BELOW!
prepare yourself for your vacation

Download Your FREE Printable Travel Checklist, Bucketlist & Organizer!

plan your travel budget

5. Plan your budget

  • Making a travel budget is an important part of planning vacation because it saves time, money and reduces stress.
  • Make a dedicated budget for accommodation, transportation, food, activities.
  • Track your travel spending and compare them to your original budget – I use Trail Wallet – Travel Budget & Expense Tracker app on my iPhone to track our expenses.
  • Buy a travel Insurance.
  • Exchange currency for the best rate.
  • You will find my post about traveling on a budget here 
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6. Distract yourself

  • Make a checklist of your travel outfits (use my 3 steps rules: simple, comfortable and practical).
  • Bring your favorite items, especially your favorite comfy sweatshirt and socks!
  • Avoid over packing and bringing uncomfortable outfits that you probably won’t even wear. (Nothing can kill the mood during the trip as much as an uncomfortable outfit. I’ve seen many times women in high heels and miniskirts struggling while sightseeing ancient monuments at Rome. In some places like Ancient Sities in Greece wearing high heels is actually banned by law.
  • Learn about “dress code” for visiting Italian churches (the rule is simple: shoulders and knees have to be covered and you have to wear shoes).
  • Learn about travel safety and “dress code” before visiting a foreign country.
  • Learn about the Airlines’ dress code to avoid being denied boarding (we all know that it happens).
feed your passion
pack your suitcase

7. Comfortable travel clothes

  • Make a checklist of your travel outfits (use my 3 steps rules: simple, comfortable and practical).
  • Bring your favorite items, especially your favorite comfy sweatshirt and socks!
  • Avoid over packing and comfortable outfits that you probably won’t even wear. (Nothing can spoil a mood during the trip as much as an uncomfortable outfit. I’ve seen many times women in high heels and miniskirts struggling while sightseeing ancient monuments at Rome. In some places like Ancient Sites in Greece wearing high heels is actually banned by law.
  • Learn about “dress code” for visiting Italian churches (the rule is simple: shoulders and knees have to be covered and you have to wear shoes).
  • Learn about travel safety and “dress code” before visiting a foreign country
  • Learn about the Airlines’ dress code to avoid being denied boarding (we all know that it happens).

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8. Prepare your favourite healthy snacks

  • Bring your favorite healthy snacks (Healthy Raw Cacao Bites Recipe Here!).
  • Avoid foods that make you sick.
  • Avoid overeating and being hungry.
  • Don’t forget a bottle of water.
nourish yourself
cope with travel anxiety

9. Get another perspective

  • Observe carefully.
  • Remember that thoughts are not facts.
  • Shift your attention to what is happening in the present moment.
  • Observe other people’s behavior and ask yourself a question: Are they calm and relaxed? Is there any real danger?
  • My golden rule on a plane is: when a flight hits turbulence I observe other passengers and stewardesses. If everyone seems calm I immediately calm myself down.

10. Accept your feelings

  • Emotions are natural phenomena that serve to protect us and cause us to act not to harm us.
  • Learn to respond not react to the situation you found yourself in – be mindful.
  • Learn how to control your emotions don’t let them overwhelmed you (observe and describe).
  • Give yourself permission to experience your emotions – it’s OK to feel anxious.
  • Remember that you cannot control everything.
simple ways to cope with anxiety during holidays
journal while traveling

11. Keep journaling (Observe and write everything down)

  • Use your journal for self-care and managing anxiety.
  • Don’t leave your home without your journal. (I keep my journal on my cloud storage – it’s password protected of course).

12. Don’t drink or take anti-anxiety meds (unless you were prescribed it by your doctor)

  • For many MANY reasons, it is NOT a good idea.
  • Stick to the healthy food and beverages options.
mindfulness and relaxation techniques

13. Try mindfulness & relaxation techniques

  • Create your anxiety self-kit (self-calming strategy) here 
  • Try relaxation Apps.
  • Don’t forget about breathing exercises (become aware of your breath – especially if you start to feel anxious).
  • Do a guided meditation.
  • Try progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Talk out loud to yourself – Don’t leave your house without your Bluetooth Headsets and pretend to make a phone call.
  • Bring more mindfulness into your daily life 

14. Go on trip with your friends

  • Some people like to travel by themselves others don’t. It’s a personal preference.
  • I prefer to go on a trip with my friends because I love to travel to a good company and share my experience with those who I care about.
  • If you are afraid of traveling by yourself go on a trip with your friends or family.
travel with your friends
how to cope with anxiety while traveling

15. Have a backup plan

  • I personally believe that having a plan B is always a good idea (in case of bad weather conditions you can go to the museum).
  • Keep in mind that mother nature can ruin your holiday trip plans (get travel insurance that covers trip cancellations, trip interruptions, delays, and lost baggage).
Travel Like a Pro

P.S.

Don’t let anxiety stop you from traveling!

Face your fears.

Allow yourself to experience emotions.

Stay safe and explore the world!

xo Kate  

Traveling With Anxiety – 15 simple tips to make it through

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fantac.cisse
Guest

Delightful blog! Thank you for sharing with us! I love your posts, everything is witty, well-written and insightful. I’m happily following you.

Robin
Guest

Hi Kate! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am the definition of an anxious traveler and rarely travel beyond a good road trip. These were all really excellent ideas and good advice. I would never even considered there is a dress code in an Italian church. There are many things to take into consideration when traveling, and calming my anxiety is at the top of the list. Lists are a good idea. Great tips and wonderful post! 😊🌼

About Me

Hey, I’m Kate. I am a blogger with a holistic & mindful approach to life. If I am not here it’s because I’m enjoying my creamy cappuccino in one of my favourites coffee shops… 😎

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