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5 tips to ease pre-travel anxiety

Author: Cheryl Carmin, PhD

  • Health and Wellness
  • Mental and Behavioral Health
  • Neurological Institute

man looking at watch while waiting for train

  • Try to figure out what it is about travel that is making you anxious. What are you saying to yourself? Can you identify your “What ifs?” Once you’re able to understand what you’re afraid of, ask yourself if the fear is realistic. Even if your worst-case scenario is something catastrophic, does the very small likelihood of its occurrence outweigh the severity?
  • If you have traveled before, what has your experience been? Did any of the things you’re worrying about happen? If they did, how did you manage? There’s a good chance you’re not giving yourself credit for being an effective and resilient problem solver.
  • Is the over-planning, list-making or other strategies really helping? Everyone has their own way of preparing for travel. Making others conform to your way may cause arguments with your traveling companions and more stress.
  • Do you have strategies to help you to relax? Slow, paced breathing is one strategy that many people find to be effective. Try an app for your smart phone, or one of the free relaxation recordings available from Ohio State’s Center for Integrative Medicine that help you to restore your calm equilibrium.
  • Don’t skip the self-care activities. Just because you may think you’re in a time crunch the week before a trip, build in time for exercise. Physical activity is a great way to manage stress. Pamper yourself. A haircut or a manicure may be an important part of your pre-travel preparation to help you de-stress.

What provokes anxiety differs from person to person. This is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ phenomenon. It may be useful to separate out if you’re afraid of the act of traveling or the destination.

  • Our mental health experts are here to help you. Learn more

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pre-trip anxiety

How To Overcome Pre-Trip Anxiety – 13 Life-Changing Tips!

Pre-trip anxiety can be utterly debilitating – trust me, I know from personal experience. But it’s still something that’s so rarely talked about by… well, anyone.

 After all, travel is meant to be easy, breezy, and beautiful, right? If you believe some of the images of travel that we’re presented with, you’re meant to glide through an airport like an international jetsetter, relax on a plane in first class with a martini and a perfect smile, then have a totally perfect experience on a beach in the tropics. But… you don’t feel like it’ll go that way, do you?  You feel like you’ll miss the plane, be involved in an awful crash if you do get on it, and then probably be mugged in your destination.

Don’t worry – everything I wrote in the above paragraph is a lie . All of it. No-one’s travel experience is perfect – but it’s very rarely a total disaster, either. And there’s plenty of simple, actionable things that you can do to help it go as smoothly as possible.

I’m going to give you my best travel tips for squishing pre-trip anxiety for good – and it doesn’t even require over the counter anxiety medication.

A young woman looks anxious as a result of pre-trip anxiety

What is pre-trip anxiety? Is it just a fear of flying?

Although it’s often confused with the fear of flying, pre-trip anxiety can be a completely different beast. After all, there’s people who suffer with travel anxiety but have no fear of flying, and vice versa. Instead, it can be an all-encompassing fear of what lies ahead of you, on your journey into the unknown. 

If we take a look at the official definition of trip anxiety, it’s categorised as a persistent sense of worry and impending doom when thinking about upcoming travels, with the following symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate, and difficulty with breathing
  • nausea or an upset stomach
  • restlessness and agitation
  • Difficulty focusing on everyday tasks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Panic attacks (and if you’re reading this because you’re feeling on the verge of an attack, please read my guide on how to overcome panic attacks when traveling )

If any of the above sounds familiar – don’t worry, you’re in the right place! I didn’t travel for years because of travel anxiety, before I worked out simple ways to overcome it. I even lost a large amount of money because of it. So settle back, because I’m going to tell you my story!

My experience

Ten years ago, I booked a solo trip for myself. I was going to the fly to the United States on my own, then join a guided tour and see the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Sedona, all that good stuff. I was super-excited for it, was absolutely in love with the thought of it (after all, I’d flown to the States twice before, to Colorado and New York). I didn’t foresee any problems.

A month before I was due to leave, I suddenly developed a total, and incredibly upsetting, vacation anxiety. I worried about literally everything – I couldn’t stop thinking about the flight, and the chance of developing blood clots in the fifteen hours it would take me to reach Phoenix. I worried about not meeting up with my group, or not getting along with them. I worried about snakes, scorpions, and my accommodation near the Grand Canyon being involved in a landslide into the abyss. Seriously.

With two weeks to go, I was frantic. I couldn’t concentrate at work, and kept having to dash to the toilets because I felt sick. With one week to go, I cancelled the trip. Because it was last minute, and because there was no medical reason I couldn’t fly, I lost my fee of £1500. Ouch .

I regretted it almost instantly, and swore that I’d find ways to overcome that feeling of irrational fear. It took a long time, and a lot of years, but I worked out what I’d been feeling, and how to counter it. Now, I’m going to share those proven tactics with you!

A young couple take a selfie in London. Pre-travel anxiety can prevent people from taking this kind of trip.

How to overcome pre-travel anxiety

Okay! Let’s take a look at some pretty simple concepts, which can be so completely mighty when it comes to changing up your mindset, reassuring you, and generally chasing all those anxious thoughts out. Because heck, we take enough stuff with us when we travel; we don’t need a whole bunch of anxiety to come along too!

Identify what is making you anxious

There’s some things on this list that will grab you immediately, and others that you might not be so keen on. And whilst you should definitely check all of them out at the very least, this entry is a MUST.

In order to defeat pre-trip anxiety, you have to know what it looks like. Grab a piece of paper and a pen (or your phone, whatever floats your boat), and write down a list of all the aspects of your trip which are causing you travel anxiety. Don’t edit: even if some of them sound silly, write them down.

Now, you’ve identified the enemy. You might have a wide-range of aspects that are causing you fear, everything from packing, to the flight, to eating different food abroad . All of them are legitimate aspects of fear. Sure, fear of flying might be a little more recognised than “what if my resort is invaded by giant human-eating moths”, but these are your fears, and now you recognise them, you can tackle them individually. 

Keep your list at hand, and keep reading. Now you’ve found the aspects that are causing you anxiety, this is going to be a breeze!

Remember that you’re not psychic

First, before we dive into some actionable activities, a reminder: you don’t have superpowers, and you’re not psychic. No, really, you’re not.

Let me guess: every time you feel anxiety symptoms flaring up, your fear-ridden brain says “this is a sign from the universe/God/my deceased granny. They’re trying to tell me that I shouldn’t go.” You start seeing images in front of your eyes: a newspaper with your face on the front page, or news footage of a stricken plane, or your loved ones crying.

Stop that right now.

I hate to tell you this, but you can’t see the future, and you don’t have superpowers. The universe/God/your granny wouldn’t send you a warning message, only to spitefully crash a plane because you dared to ignore it. Banish those fears and images from your mind, because they’re one of the biggest causes of pre-trip anxiety, and they can be safely ignored. Don’t feel like you’re a leaf adrift in the river of destiny – when it comes to your trip, you’re going to make your own destiny. And it’s going to be awesome!

Research everything!

One of the best ways to control travel anxiety is to research everything you can about your trip. After all, part of the anxiety is the fear of the unknown – what will the flight be like? What kind of area is the hotel is, and is it safe? What kind of food will you have to eat? Are there any particular dangers to look out for?

Well, research, research, and research some more! I’ll bet you that if you start looking for the answers to your newly-identified fears, you’ll discover that a lot of them were never a concern in the first place. You’ll discover that the hotel is in a fantastic area, and the food looks great. Simply tailor your fear to your trip, and see if they apply to your destination. Typing  “are there giant human-eating moths in Mexico?” will give you all the info you need to dispel your worries.

You can go into even further depth. TripAdvisor will allow you to look up hotel reviews (don’t panic too much at any bad ones – people love to complain), check out possible places to eat nearby, or plan your itinerary out. Phone apps such as TripIt are a must: not only do they organise your flights, but you can research the safety score of a neighbourhood .

Once you’re more comfortable with your travel anxiety, you’ll feel more confident to do something a little spontaneous. But in the meantime, plan. Make yourself a list of things to do, and schedule them out. Know what you’re going to do each day, know that they’re safe, and even plan out where you’ll eat. You’ll feel so much more in control of your situation!

Sign up for online therapy

Getting therapy for travel anxiety, or any kind of anxiety, is always a good idea – no one is going to be able to help you as much as a trained professional can, and the results are real.

But if you’re worried about feeling extreme anxiety while you’re traveling – after all, who wants to be crippled by fears when you’re in another country? – you might feel like therapy isn’t a viable option for you. After all, you might be a in a situation when you need help now . How is taking a round of therapy before you leave going to work? Should you just buy your therapist a ticket, and bring them along?

Good news: there’s no need to do that, saving you both ticket money and an awkward vacation! Online therapy is a thing, and there’s no-one more experienced and trustworthy than BetterHelp . They offer professional care, and a therapist who can be there for you wherever you are in the world. Thanks to their excellent telephone counselling service , you’ll get all the help you need – and all you need is a phone in your pocket.

And I know what you’re thinking – yes, online and telephone therapy has been researched by psychologists, and found to be just as effective as face-to-face therapy. This makes it an absolute must in your anti-anxiety weapon locker!

Check a flight tracker

Fear of flying can be a major part of pre-trip anxiety. I suffer from it myself; although I’ve largely beaten it thanks to the SkyGuru app, it still creeps in whenever I’ve gone a little while without a flight. You know it’s a safe form of transport; you know it for a fact. But it can still be difficult to reassure yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I like to see some visual reassurance. Such as, lots and lots of planes going about their business, doing their plane thing, having no problems whatsoever. It just makes me feel a bit better when I’m up in the air myself, knowing that I’ve seen with my own eyes how safe air travel is. The good news is that you don’t need to hang around at airports to get that confirmation – you can do it from your computer or phone!

Go to FlightRadar 24 , and you’ll see the world – and all of the planes currently in the air. Seriously, click on it, and take a look – you see how many are there? How many are in the air on a single moment, in a single day? And all of those planes are going from A to B quietly, safely, and efficiently. No big dramas or problems; they’re just coasting on jet streams, like big metallic birds.

It may not work for everyone, but using a flight tracker to see how many flights are safely making their way around the world gives me major reassurance!

Take an online anxiety course

Whenever I write tips on how to overcome pre-trip anxiety, I like to include a link to Lauren Juliff’s How To Overcome Travel Anxiety course . Why is is it my go-to? Simply, because it worked for me. 

Lauren is one of the most awesome people I know, and I first learnt about her by buying her book How Not To Travel The World on a whim. She overcame anxiety so severe that it prevented her from leaving the house, and threw herself on a journey around the world in order to satisfy a lifelong desire to travel. Every sentence resonated, and made me think “that sounds like me!”, and it inspired me to take my own journey back into traveling.

When I discovered that she had a course dealing with pre-travel anxiety, I snapped it up. And I was not disappointed! Every section gives practical advice on how to prepare to travel, especially if you’re considering doing it long-term. There’s tips on what to do if you run into trouble abroad, and how to just take time away from your stress. It’s just all wonderful, useful advice.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without Lauren. It’s that good. Go get it!

Get all the items you’ll need

The thought of an small emergency happening whilst you’re abroad is a big part of pre-trip anxiety, just as much as the thought of a major emergency. You know how it goes; those feelings of “what if I hurt myself, and it gets infected?” “what if my phone runs out of battery, and everyone thinks I’m dead?” “what if the giant human-eating moths steal my luggage?”

Thoughts like these can seriously psyche you out, and convince you that you’re just better off staying at home. It’s just too much stress, right? Well, that’s not true – if you plan, prepare, and get all of the items that you’ll need in the first place, then you’ll be equipped to deal with anything that occurs when you’re traveling. 

One way to do it is to Google packing lists, or to download packing list apps on to your phone. You don’t necessarily have to use them religiously, but you can look at all the item suggestions. Do you need that, or would you feel slightly safer if you had it? If so, pop it on your list. Don’t leave it until the days before you travel: do it as far in advance as you can, and you’re almost guaranteed not to miss anything crucial.

If you want to make life even easier, pop your email address into the subscription form at the top of this page, and I’ll send you a packing list specially designed for anxious travelers. Or you can check out a curated list of items for your anti-anxiety kit – no nervous traveler should be without them!

Pay special attention to your health before you travel

Remember that expression, “you get out what you put in”? Well, the same goes for your body when it comes to travel anxiety.

Eat a ton of processed meats, candy, fried foods and drink a bunch of alcohol and coffee in the week before your flight, and you’re more likely to feel a build-up in anxiety. Ditch the alcohol in particular: you may feel like its numbing your nerves and helping you through it, but it’s actually just making the whole thing a lot worse. Instead, eat whole grains, vegetables, and fish – foods proven to keep anxiety levels down, and your body feeling good.

Similarly, make sure you hydrate as much as possible. Nothing makes you feel strung out and on edge quite like being dehydrated, and keeping yourself well-watered will help a lot. It’s also a huge boon when it comes to the flight, because air travel is hella dehydrating. You’ll feel less anxiety, and feel much better when you get to your destination! Bonus!

Also, step up exercise in the week preceding your trip, and get those muscles working. It’ll get you feeling good, and help with sleeping at night. A hydrated, rested, well-fed body is going to cope much better with the effects of anxiety – it’s a small change, but it can have a massive effect!

People waiting at a baggage carousel in an airport. Airport anxiety is a major factor in travel stress.

Get to the airport early

Travel anxiety doesn’t get spoken about enough, but you know what gets talked about even less? Airport anxiety. Think about it: how many people do you know who hate airports, or get actively anxious when they have to go into one? 

I’m actually one of those weirdos who like airports (I can’t help it; they’re so international-feeling, and looking at expensive perfumes in the duty free is kind of my thing), but I know so many people who absolutely despise airports, and get nervous about the whole trip purely because of having to overcome that big hurdle before the trip even begins.

If you want one, simple tip to defeat airport stress, here it is: get there early. Aim to arrive about three hours early – two, at the very least. It gives you more time to deal with the queues, check in at your leisure, have a bit of food or drink to settle yourself, and not have to run around like a maniac. And a top tip from a friend of mine who works at an airport – getting there early reduces the chances of your baggage going missing. Baggage handling takes a while, and often gets backed up due to volume; the majority of bags that go missing are from passengers who arrived only an hour before their departure.

If airports are a big contributing factor in your pre-trip anxiety, take a look at my guide to airport anxiety for some in-depth tips!

Create a kickass playlist

Music is an underestimated aspect of travel. Songs can take you back to a specific time, place, or moment – I’ll bet that you can think of plenty of tunes which remind you of that trip to Spain in 1995, or what was playing on the radio when your first boy/girlfriend broke up with you. Hey, these things happen.

But I’ve found that you can take advantage of the mood-altering affect of music. Just as that break-up song can affect us negatively, you can use music to affect you positively. Sign up for a free Spotify account, or playlist supplier of your choice, and think about the songs which make you feel really pumped. What makes you feel like an utter rockstar? Or what are some songs that remind you of your destination, and get you excited about going there?

I do this myself. Although I’m pretty much cool with flying these days, I still get a bit nervous on takeoff. So  I bust out my phone, plug in my earbuds, and listen to Dragonette’s We Rule The World . It’s got the right amount of tempo and awesomeness to make me feel like one cool cat, and taking off and looking down through sunny skies becomes a breeze. Works every time.

You can use music any time you’re feeling anxious about your trip – plug in, turn it up, and let those bangin’ tunes take you to another place.

Keep moving forward

Although it’s useful to keep your mindset in a state of moving forward – not staying stuck in time, stuck in anxiety and worry – it’s equally good to keep yourself physically moving forward!

When I flew to the USA for the first time, I was feeling understandably nervous, and when I got to the airport I really wasn’t sure if I could go through with it. I was waiting around in the airport, and I got mentally “stuck”. It’s that feeling of being rooted to the spot, like you can’t do anything because you can’t move, and therefore getting on a plane feels absolutely impossible.

My parents, wise things that they are, took me to walk laps of the airport, swinging by the departures gate each time but walking straight on if I didn’t feel ready. After five laps, I finally felt okay to keep moving forward and go through security – and I was fine. Physically moving forward cleared my head, and got me out of that mindset. Moving forward mentally naturally followed.

You don’t just have to do this in the airport. Any time that pre-travel anxiety strikes in the build up to your trip, take yourself off for some exercise, or give the dog an extra walk (they won’t complain); you’ll find that your mind clears super-fast!

A woman stands on a cliff, arms outstretched towards the view

Tell a flight attendant about your fear of flying

Believe me, way more people suffer with a fear of flying or trip anxiety that you ever thought.  The estimate is that 1 in 3 people will suffer from travel anxiety at some point in their lives, and 25% of Americans have a fear of flying. That’s a lot .

This means that flight attendants are well-used to having passengers who are absolutely terrified, and they’re trained to reassure you so that you can have a comfortable flight. They want you to have a good time, just as much as you do! So don’t feel scared or too shy to tell a flight attendant about your fears as you board; you’ll generally find that they’ll keep an extra special eye on you, and be on hand if you’re feeling the fear.

I had a gaggle of very lovely attendants look after me when I flew with Delta to the States, and they really couldn’t have made me feel better. Apart from feeding me every single meal they had available (they even left snacks on my tray table when I was napping), they would stop and check in on me as they were doing their rounds – and it just makes you feel safer. They’ll even explain all those weird engine noises, and reassure you that it’s totally normal.

Never underestimate flight attendants. They’re not just there to hand out coffee and duty free; they’re highly trained, fabulous at reassuring you, and general badasses!

Remember that you’re not alone

Even the most experienced travelers experience pre-trip anxiety. Every single one of them. If they tell you any different, they’re probably lying.

Never feel like you’re alone in your fears; you’re not crazy, you’re not stupid – it’s a completely natural reaction to an unknown or unfamiliar situation, and your fight-or-flight reflexes are putting you on high alert accordingly. Even people who have dreamed of travel throughout their lives feel that sense of trepidation or fear, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or the fiftieth. I carried out an interview with Nomadic Matt, a longstanding travel blogger, and even he goes through it. It just happens.

But remember that you’re never alone. Talking about travel anxiety helps; sometimes is just takes that friend who says “of course you’re not going to be attacked by giant human-eating moths! Those don’t even exist!”, and it can help melt those fears a little bit. Reach out to people – parents, friends, therapists, random strangers on Reddit.

There are always people there for you, to help you talk through things. And you’re always welcome to email me!

Share this article!

That wraps up our list of tips on how to overcome travel anxiety! You don’t have to suffer through pre-trip anxiety, and I genuinely hope that the techniques I’ve described above help you. Some of them require a little bit of financial investment, and some of them are completely free, but they’re all simple, life-changing things you can do to make your life better with very little effort. Let’s beat this thing!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, how about giving it a share on social media? Give those buttons on the side a hearty click, and you can plaster it all over your favourite social media network – you could be helping someone in a tight spot.

If you’re looking to be super-awesome, share the below images on Pinterest! That way, this article gets a share and helps more people, and you get a ready-made bookmark leading back to this page, so you can access the tips when you need them most! 

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think in the comments!

You don't need to suffer with pre-trip anxiety, and miss out on seeing the world. Learn how to overcome travel anxiety with 13 simple, actionable tips! Covering everything from fear of flying, to airport anxiety, to gaining professional help, you'll discover life-changing techniques to deal with your fears. Identify what makes you nervous, defeat it, and enjoy everything that travel has to offer. Get tips from someone who's done it! #travel #anxiety #fearofflying #pretripanxiety

Pssst! This article may contain affiliate links. These incur zero extra cost to you, should you choose to purchase the service provided, but they do give this blog a bit of commission which goes towards running costs. Any extra money earned gets spent on pampering my beloved cat, and keeping her in the manner to which she is accustomed.

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what is pre travel anxiety

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Tips for easing travel anxiety

By Your Headspace Mindfulness & Meditation Experts

As memorable and exciting as travel can be, it may also sometimes feel like an anxiety-inducing experience. For some, it’s the unpredictability of their destination that brings about  anxious thoughts . For others, it’s having to sit through the flight that will take them there. In any case, it’s difficult to fully enjoy all the marvels of a new place if the mind isn’t exactly at ease.

While not considered to be an official type of anxiety disorder, travel anxiety describes an intense feeling of anxiousness surrounding the many variables involved in taking a trip. Before COVID-19, an estimated  40% of the population  reportedly experienced travel or flight anxiety in some capacity. In the aftermath of the global pandemic, many are stepping back out into the world while also figuring out how to manage these anxious feelings for the first time.

Whether travel anxiety is a new experience or an old foe, understanding how to mindfully manage it can help us get the most out of our next trip, whenever and wherever it might be.

In this article

How to use mindfulness to manage anxiety before travel, flight anxiety tips, how to manage travel anxiety during your trip, try 6 meditations to help with travel anxiety.

Key takeaways:

Meditation can help with anxiety before travel and with flight anxiety

Incorporate routines to feel less anxious while exploring a travel destination

Watch a 1-min mediation on breeathing

what is pre travel anxiety

Mini-Meditation: Breathe

While the days and weeks leading up to a trip can be invigorating, they’re also when pre-travel anxiety tends to kick in. During this time, there are many variables we might begin to consider: what time should we arrive at the airport? Where will we stop on that multi-day road trip? Did we remember to pack all the essentials? What happens if we forget something?

This can be a great opportunity to start doing daily  guided meditation . Dedicating time to sit with the mind leading up to a trip is one way to defuse anxious thoughts — we simply learn to observe them and let them go, without allowing them to cause worry or  catastrophizing . By bringing awareness to our thought patterns, we can better manage travel anxiety.

Often, our anxiety is triggered by an old storyline or past event that we project onto our next trip. Meditation shows us how to stop letting the past affect the  present , and this can cause a dramatic shift in perspective that allows us to reframe our whole approach to travel.

Meditation isn’t overly time-consuming, either. A short  10-minute guided meditation  in the morning, before bed, or during a lunch break  has been shown  to effectively help to reduce feelings of anxiety by up to 31%. So we can still pack, prep, wrap up loose ends at work...and look after the mind.

what is pre travel anxiety

“Like any kind of anxiety, a fear of flying is self-reinforcing,” says Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. “You begin with the sense of danger — maybe just the sensation of the plane taking to the air is enough to set you off. This feeling of fear sets the mind racing. You might start to consider how far up in the sky you are, wondering how firmly the wings are bolted on, or how many times the pilot has made the trip. But ironically, this sequence of thoughts, which you perhaps intended to reassure yourself, exacerbates the feeling, which in turn produces more thought.”

Those who struggle with flight anxiety (sometimes referred to as aviophobia), might consider these 2 mindfulness exercises while en route to their destination:

1. Take deep breaths.

When anxious thoughts take hold in the mind, they often cause a physical response in the body. Those prone to anxiety attacks or anxious episodes may be familiar with an uncomfortable tightening in the chest or experiencing shortness of breath. Studies show that practicing a deep breathing exercise can not only help to reverse hyperventilation, but minimize feelings of anxiety overall.

In highly anxious moments during the flight, perhaps during takeoff or during any bouts of turbulence, consider trying a specific breathing technique called box breathing: Inhale for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, wait at the very end of the exhale for a count of 4, and repeat. This very deep breathing exercise has been shown to calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system. Slowing down the breath and allowing CO2 to build up in the blood stimulates the response of the vagus nerve to produce feelings of calmness throughout the body.

2. Practice guided imagery.

In most cases, the reason we’re willing to face flight anxiety in the first place is so that we can enjoy the destination we’re traveling to. Picturing that place in the mind may help us to feel more relaxed while still up in the air. Studies show that using a mindfulness practice called guided imagery can significantly decrease feelings of anxiety in the mind.

The key to successfully reaping the benefits of guided imagery is not to simply close the eyes and picture the destination like a postcard, but to evoke all the senses. If we’re traveling to Italy for example, we might think about how the cobblestone streets feel beneath our shoes, how it smells as we wander into the focaccia shop below your hotel, how the water in the nearby fountain sounds as it gently splashes onto the pavement … As we get specific with mental imagery, the mind has trouble discerning whether an image is real or imagined. So if we can aptly imagine ourselves in a relaxing and pleasing environment, the mind and body will swiftly begin to feel calm.

We’ve arrived at the destination safe and sound. But now we need to navigate a new place and perhaps even a different culture or language. These unpredictable and uncontrollable elements of travel are often what sets vacation anxiety ablaze. For those who tend to struggle with these factors, consider bringing certain elements of a daily routine on vacation.  Studies have shown  that the predictability and control of a regular routine can significantly help to manage stress and bring about a sense of calm.

This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no room for spontaneity or exploration while on a trip. These travel-sized snippets of a daily ritual might be something as simple as having a cup of coffee in the morning or taking some time to  read before bed , just like at home. It only takes a little bit of familiarity to anchor and settle the mind.

Additionally,  those mindfulness techniques  that helped us feel calm throughout the flight can also be used anytime during a trip. Whenever we’re beginning to feel anxious or overwhelmed, we might look for a quiet place to take ourselves through a brief deep-breathing exercise or a few minutes of guided imagery. With this quick timeout, we’ll reset the mind and body so that we can get back to enjoying our time away.

Looking for meditations and mindfulness exercises to help have a calmer trip? The Headspace app offers subscribers several courses, single meditations, and activities that can help us manage travel anxiety and feel more present, including:

Fear of Flying meditation Prior to boarding the plane, focus your attention on a part of the body, to root you in the present moment and interrupt the loop of anxiety before takeoff.

Panicking meditation Anchor your mind and body in the present.

Managing Anxiety 10-day course Cultivate a new perspective on fear and anxiety.

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Having the right mindfulness practices at the ready may help travel anxiety begin to feel less like an impassable roadblock and more like a manageable (or even minimal) part of the overall experience. If and when anxious moments do arise during a trip, we’ll know how to check in with the mind so that these thoughts only feel like a small bump in the road.

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6 Stay-Calm Strategies for Dealing With Anxiety Before a Trip

Have a calmer trip to the airport with these relaxation techniques vetted by psychologists and designed to help when you’re feeling anxious..

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6 Stay-Calm Strategies for Dealing With Anxiety Before a Trip

Photos courtesy of Unsplash and by Kelsey McClellan; design by Emily Blevins

Travel can bring about all sorts of anxious feelings, whether it’s because you procrastinated about packing, you have a fear of flying, or because you’re sitting in gridlocked traffic en route to the airport.

Most of our worries about travel are nothing to, well, worry about. “We have a tendency to pathologize everything,” says Lily Brown, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “But it’s important to realize that if you feel jitters, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything weird or wrong; some amount of anxiety around travel is healthy and probably normal.” Stepping outside of a comfort zone can be daunting for anyone, even the well-traveled, and it’s natural to stress about packing or missing a flight.

However, if you’re spending the days or hours before a trip ruminating on things that could go wrong, there are ways to soothe your anxious mind. Some strategies offer in-the-moment relief; others require a more long-term mind-set shift. All of the following suggestions are backed by psychologists and research. Hopefully, they’ll help you feel more at ease before and even during your trip

[Editor’s note: If you are experiencing ongoing anxiety, or if it is interfering with your day-to-day activities, please seek help with a trained medical health professional.]

Remember your purpose

If you feel your mind racing or your temperature rising when you think about your departure, it can help to remember why you’re traveling in the first place, says Julia Martin Burch, Ph.D. , a staff psychologist at the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to Spain or you’re traveling to see your grandchild. “Checking in with your values and reminding yourself there is a reason you’re doing this, even though you might be fearful or uncertain, is one piece of overcoming anxiety,” she says.

Recall past successes

“Anxiety will often anticipate all kinds of dire things,” says Martin Burch. But, she notes, chances are your flight will land safely, you’ll make it on time, and you’ll be able to get through the TSA line calmly.

Thinking back to past successful travel experiences can provide evidence that you coped with an anxiety-provoking situation previously and help you understand that you’ll be able to handle this trip, too.

A few coping techniques can help you deal with travel anxiety and have a more relaxing vacation.

A few coping techniques can help you deal with travel anxiety and have a more relaxing vacation.

Photo by Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock; design by Emily Blevins

Photo by Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock; design by Emily Blevins A few coping techniques can help you deal with travel anxiety and have a more relaxing vacation.

Soften your body

Mindfulness and meditation experts often suggest softening your body, or relaxing places you feel physically tight, when you’re stressed. It sends a message to your brain that you are OK and calm, explains Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind .

“Body scanning,” or noticing clenching muscles when you become nervous, is a technique you can use throughout your trip. If you can recognize anxiety’s physical manifestations, you can name them (“oh, this is just anxiety”) and by doing so, you put yourself back in the driver’s seat, helping you more objectively handle your emotions, Goldstein says. “I always tell people to be on the lookout for when their body is tensing because catching the body when it starts to fall into the automatic reaction of stress can be quite effective for overcoming anxiety.”

Change your focus

Goldstein explains that anxiety is a nervous-system reaction that occurs when your mind focuses on something. That’s why he suggests trying to identify what you’re focusing on when you feel anxious. Are you worried that you’ll get into an accident on the way to the airport? Or are you short of breath (as can happen when you experience anxiety or panic) and preoccupied with it?

If you are fixating on anxious thoughts or negative possibilities, your emotions will go there, Goldstein says. Instead, try thinking about how your trip might go well or what you’re most excited about. That kind of focus, he explains, will likely bring positive emotions along with it.

Plan slow-down times

“Slowing down is hard,” says Goldstein. “The brain gets used to a certain level of stimulation.” But doing so can help infuse calmness into your day—whether that means slowing your breathing , or other meditation techniques including focusing on one thing at a time, or simply moving more deliberately.

Before you leave, plan a few things that might help you slow down during your travels. Can you arrive at the airport an hour earlier to meditate in a yoga room? How about committing to a phone-free day on your trip? “Giving your brain some direction and being able to see those calm moments in your mind allows that emotion to motivate you,” says Goldstein.

Keep traveling

When you’re consumed with anxiety, you may want to cancel a trip out of fear. “Avoidance helps us feel better and is very effective at decreasing anxiety in the short term,” confirms Martin Burch. The problem: “In the long term, avoidance gets us stuck and keeps us from being able to live the life we want to live.”

So remind yourself of why you travel and follow the strategies outlined above. “It’s by approaching and being brave and facing our fears that we actually push back on anxiety,” says Martin Burch. “The way to decrease anxiety, in the long run, is by doing the hard things and going on the trip.”

>>Next: What to Do When You Have a Panic Attack on Vacation

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Don’t panic — here’s how to handle your pre-trip anxiety

what is pre travel anxiety

If you feel a little jittery in the moments before you leave for the airport, you might be suffering from pre-trip anxiety. It’s an increasingly common malaise in a world of uncertainty and inconsistent customer service.

“Pre-trip anxiety is a form of anticipatory anxiety,” explains Marie Casey Olseth, a psychiatrist based in Minneapolis. “It’s not a specific phobia, such as a fear of flying or fear of driving, although these phobias can contribute to the anxiety felt by someone with pre-trip anxiety.”

Symptoms may include a sleepless night before a trip, an upset stomach, or feelings of dread. To put it more bluntly, you’ll freak out a little before you fly. But don’t panic. Given the modern-day realities of travel, a little anxiety is inevitable and more common than ever. Fortunately, it’s treatable, and perhaps even preventable.

I have a close relative who always has a predictable pre-trip meltdown. It starts with packing her bags days — sometimes a week — before the journey. She insists on arriving at the airport several hours before the flight because she’s afraid of missing the plane. She’s easily agitated, no matter how smoothly the trip preparations go. And she can’t sleep the night before her departure, which doesn’t improve her travel-day disposition.

It would be tempting to blame all of that on pre-trip anxiety, but it’s a little more complicated, says Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist and the founder of the Centers of Psychiatric Excellence, a Durham, N.C., clinic that specializes in treating anxiety and depression. “Believe it or not, some people confuse excitement with anxiety because the symptoms of restlessness and increased adrenaline mimic each other,” he says.

So what’s the difference? Fear, dread and worry set pre-trip anxiety apart from mere excitement, according to Masand and other medical experts. If you’re so agitated that you’d rather call the whole thing off, it might be a severe case of pre-trip anxiety.

Under the best of circumstances, pre-trip jitters can make the journey uncomfortable for you. But under the worst of circumstances, they can affect you and everyone around you.

“It can mean not wanting to go on a trip, being uncomfortable on long car rides or flights, or being intimidated by security announcements, or personnel at the airport,” says Jennifer FitzPatrick, a Baltimore social worker and author who specializes in treating stress.

No one is immune. Consider Valerie Bowden, the author of the book “ Backpacking Africa for Beginners .” She has a graduate degree in social work, which included taking many psychology classes.

“Even with my training, I experienced a lot of anxiety before one of my last big trips,” she recalls. “I was heading to Africa for seven months of backpacking. I broke down in tears in near fetal position during my layover in Frankfurt. I was terrified of everything that could go wrong.”

It would be disingenuous if I didn’t admit to my own fears, so here it goes: I don’t sleep well the night before a trip and I get nervous at airports. Like Bowden, I was also skittish about visiting Africa, although my biggest phobia involved all the shots I had to get. I hate needles.

It would also be unfair to the anxiety sufferers if I didn’t acknowledge that they have a reason to be worried. Accidents happen. We’re also traveling in an uncertain world, fraught with unpredictable events. A closer look at the latest Chapman University Survey of American Fears reveals that many of our top worries have a travel element of some kind, including terrorism, fear of heights and sharks.

Fortunately, there are ways to address pre-trip anxiety. Among the treatments:

Cognitive behavioral therapy: “Ask yourself how likely the negative outcome really is and how terrible it would really be,” says Judith Beck, founder of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. “Take each non-catastrophic prediction and figure out how you’d cope if the negative outcome did happen.” Beck says you should replace any negative images you have with more realistic scenarios.

Exposure therapy: That’s where a therapist introduces you the stimuli that are causing the anxiety. This allows you to work through this anxiety and fear with support. Michelle Maidenberg, a psychotherapist in Harrison, N.Y., does that by watching videos of takeoffs with her patients. “Following this, an individual can come up with alternative responses that refute or reality tests those given fears,” she says.

Exercise: This increases the production of serotonin and norepinephrine, otherwise known as “feel good” chemicals, in the brain. “These can help improve your mood before a trip and relieve some of your anxiety,” says Bryan Bruno, the medical director at Mid City TMS, a Manhattan-based medical center that treats anxiety and depression.

De-stressing: “When you feel anxiety coming on, pause to breathe,” says Carla Marie Manly, a Santa Rosa, Calif., psychologist. “Focus on your inhalation and exhalation. Notice that you can calm your body just by breathing.” Deep breaths can help quiet your symptoms at the moment — when you’re at the check-in counter or pulling into traffic.

But perhaps the best remedy is experience. Take enough trips, and you’ll soon realize that most of your worries are unfounded. If you miss a train, you can always catch the next one. If you forget to pack something, you can buy a replacement when you arrive.

Easier said than done, though. I’ve been on the road almost nonstop for most of my career. Still can’t get a good night’s rest before a trip.

Read more from Travel :

Read past Navigator columns here

what is pre travel anxiety

what is pre travel anxiety

Pre-Travel Anxiety: What It Is And How To Cope

  • 06 Jul 2018
  • Travel tips
  • // Pre-Travel Anxiety: What It Is And How To Cope

Table of Contents

Last Updated on November 12, 2021


Many people experience pre-travel anxiety before a trip, whether it’s their first trip or their tenth. Whether you’re scared of flying or feel stressed about packing for your trip, there are ways to minimise your anxiety.

Travelling can be (and should be) a wonderful experience, but planning for a trip can leave even the savviest, most experienced travellers with knots in their stomachs and butterflies in their chest. Have you packed everything you need? Will you get to the airport on time? Will everything run smoothly back home while you’re away? Maybe you have a fear of travelling abroad, or anxiety about travelling alone. The list can sometimes feel endless, and the lead up to a trip sometimes becomes stressful, rather than a time of enjoyable anticipation.

If you’re familiar with feeling anxious rather than excited in the weeks leading up to your trip, you’re not alone. Here are our tips for dealing with pre-travel anxiety and conquering your nerves.

So first things first – what is travel anxiety?

According to  Calm Clinic , travel anxiety is very a common and complex issue, causing people to feel anxious or depressed when preparing for a trip and the subsequent weeks leading it up to it. Some people have an underlying fear of travel, which manifests as anxiety in the lead up to a trip. Some travellers have an open fear of flying that causes stress, others are influenced by travel ‘horror’ stories they’ve heard from others, and some people worry about things like packing or missing home. If you experience general anxiety, that can also increase your chances of experiencing pre-travel anxiety.

It’s also unlikely that there’s one single cause of travel anxiety. By recognising the  symptoms of anxiety  before a trip; shallow breathing, restlessness, nausea, racing heart, tight chest or excessive fear and worrying, just to name a few, you can acknowledge the pre-travel anxiety and then work towards a solution.

what is pre travel anxiety

Fear of flying is one of the most common travel worries

Many people experience pre-travel anxiety because they have a genuine fear of getting on a plane. In fact, according to Calm Clinic, ‘probably the number one issue with travel anxiety is a fear of flying.’ This is due to a number of factors, ranging anything from lack of control to changes in air pressure and turbulence. They can all contribute to extra stress, and as most travel does involve flying, it makes sense that these fears exacerbate your pre-travel anxiety. Just know that you’re not alone!

Tips for coping with pre-travel anxiety

1. identify the source of travel anxiety.

By pinpointing exactly what’s causing your anxiety, you’ll be able to address the problem and find effective coping methods. Write down a list of everything that you’re feeling stressed about. Is it the fear of flying? Are you scared about travelling abroad on your own? Is it your first trip and you’re worried about getting lost or getting sick abroad?

Once you know the problems, you can tackle them. If you’re worried about your health, talk to a GP or pharmacist before you leave. If you’re travelling on your own, book a group tour for when you arrive (and read customer Jill Reynold’s story  of the concerns she felt before her first solo trip this year and her  follow-up story about how she coped with travelling to the UK on her own ). If you’re concerned about money, set up a daily budget that you can refer to and see if you’re on track. Clarify the reasons in your head and then evaluate them, which will make it easier to eventually conquer them.

2. Look after yourself in the weeks leading up to your trip

Even if you don’t normally experience anxiety, practicing a bit of self-care in the lead-up to a trip is a great way to avoid any anxiety triggers and feel cool, calm and collected before you leave. Make time for exercise; the benefits of exercise for our health, including anxiety and depression, are well-documented – even just an hour of exercise a day can  prevent symptoms of depression . So make time to stretch your legs and get your heart rate up in the weeks before your trip. Spending time with loved ones, eating healthy food, getting plenty of sleep, drinking water and indulging in activities you enjoy are also good ways to practice self-care.

Mindfulness and meditation are also great ways to deal with anxiety, so if you haven’t ever tried meditating, pre-travel is an ideal time to start.  Headspace  have a great app that you can download and is perfect for beginners. Meditation benefits to the nervous system include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Less stress
  • Deeper relaxation

A beginner’s approach to meditation, inspired by  Gaiam , is quite simple with the following technique:

  • Sit upright or lie comfortably.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  • Focus all your attention on the breath, without controlling its pace or intensity. Feel how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.

You may also like:   How to Stay Healthy While Travelling

3. Research your destination

What are you going to do while you’re away? Where are you staying? Read up on where you’re going and plan ahead to alleviate any destination anxieties. Book your hotel, at least the first night, in advance so you know exactly where you’re going when you arrive. Note down emergency service numbers as a precaution and research how to get around. Have a rough guide of what you want to do and read other blogs about that destination for some inspiration. Not only will you likely feel more confident with a rough plan in place, it’s also a great way to get excited about your trip, too.

For more advice on this, solo traveller Marine Dansette gave us plenty of tips about doing research before travelling in our blog  All You Need To Know About Going Solo.

4. Bring a photo of your destination

Tape it onto your desk at work, set it as your laptop background and bring a photo in your carry-on bag with you – anything to remind you of why you’re travelling in the first place and that you get to explore this fantastic destination!

what is pre travel anxiety

5. Tell flight attendants

Remember that fear of flying is one of the most common phobias, so airline staff are used to dealing with these fears. Let flight attendants know that you’re feeling uneasy, and if you’re travelling with friends or family, let them know too. Sometimes knowing that someone is there to help can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with normal aeroplane noises. Rattling noises may sound alarming, but they’re perfectly normal (like rattling cabin luggage and shaking tray tables). By knowing what they are; you can eliminate any catastrophic ‘what if’ thoughts with the actual facts.

6. Get to the airport stress-free

Not having a game plan on how to get to the airport is a sure-fire way to stress out. The last thing you want is to be waiting for an on-demand service that may or may not be available, or sitting in a taxi watching the meter go up and up while you’re stuck in traffic. So find a way to ease your mind beforehand.  Pre-booking an airport transfer  means you already have peace of mind that your driver will arrive at a time that’s already agreed on, and will take you straight to the airport for a prepaid fee. Phew, one less thing to worry about last minute. You can search and compare airport transfers on

You might like:   8 Reasons To Book An Airport Transfer

7. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack

Leaving anything to the last minute is a great way to feel stressed out, so don’t let the task of packing loom over you – just get it done. That way, if you want to add anything or take anything out you’ve got the time, rather than rushing around trying to pack an hour before you leave for the airport. That dreaded feeling of ‘have I forgotten something’ will ease if you’ve been prepared and packed in advance, and you’re less likely to have actually forgotten something. Sometimes that forgetful feeling is hard to shake though, no matter how prepared you are. Remember, unless you’re travelling somewhere very remote, chances are that if you do leave anything behind, you can simply buy it while you’re away.

You might also like:   Your Essential Pre-flight Travel Checklist

8. Give yourself a financial safety net

Having a bit of buffer outside of your travel budget is important not only for emergencies, but also for helping you feel safer. If knowing that you can get a cab home instead of walking, having money to book a day tour so you can meet other travellers, or knowing that there’s cash for a doctor in case you get sick helps to alleviate any pre-travel anxiety, then set that money aside. You may not even use it, but knowing that it’s there can help ease anxiety.

9. And finally… accept your anxiety

You can be super prepared for your trip and still feel anxious – and that’s okay! Trying to not feel anxious can ironically make anxiety even worse, so don’t fight it, master it. Learning how to reduce it from an overwhelming tidal wave to a manageable quiet buzz is a huge win in itself, and is testament that despite experiencing pre-travel anxiety, you won’t let it stop you from travelling. Bon voyage!

what is pre travel anxiety

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The Real Reason for Travel Anxiety

10 anxiety hacks to lower your travel stress..

Posted September 19, 2022 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch

  • What Is Anxiety?
  • Find a therapist to overcome anxiety
  • Now more than ever, air travel has become an anxious mindscape.
  • Airlines profit from creating customer anxiety.
  • There are tactics you can employ to preserve your mental well-being in transit.

mazHur But / flickr

The airport is an unruly place. It’s opposite world. People who otherwise rarely move are seen sprinting to Cinnabon. High fashion is Birkenstocks and yoga pants. Happy hour starts at 7:00 am. Stepping over sleeping adults in fetal positions is expected. And all purchases are made within a 400% inflationary market.

The Boarding Process: Humanity Has Left the Building

In few other affairs is your life status so publicly displayed than during the airline boarding process. This is by design. Airlines publicly grade us by airport megaphone. It’s a grandstand to reward or humble customers based on how much money those individuals have we spend with them. The airline credo? “If you want to travel humanely, you’re going to pay.”

All airlines do the same thing: They move people from one place to another via the troposphere. The way in which they begin their process, however, can greatly vary, with the differences most evident during onboarding.

As soon as the gate attendant blows into a hot mic, people leap to their feet into pole position, blocking all pathways to the jetway ready to blitz the ticket scanner. There are notable reasons we act like stressed Billy goats during the boarding process, including the following:

  • Mob Mentality. A study found that as few as five people can influence a crowd of 100 to follow suit. 1 At the gate we leave our common sense to follow these Pied Pipers to a closed, retractable belt barrier 12 feet away, where we wait for the next gate announcement.
  • Competition . We want to be the first on and the first off the plane. It's why people jockey for the airplane aisle as soon as the seatbelt sign dings off. God forbid if a senior citizen or toddler tries to disembark first. It often becomes every passenger for him/herself, as if airports and planes are vacuums of courtesies.

Impatience . People crowd the gate under the illusion that it will get them to their destination faster. A superior use of time would be to find nearby space and do some birthing squats and jumping jacks to avoid the onset of DVT.

Baggage space . Planes almost always have enough overhead bin space for every passenger. In fact, newer planes have increased bin space. 2 Yet people will still drop their bags on unsuspecting heads.

California-based clinical psychologist Tom McDonagh says, “There has been a measurable uptick in clients who divulge anxiety about travel. Oftentimes clients will express worrisome thoughts about what could go wrong on their flight." These types of cognitive distortions are "future tripping" thoughts. "Get into the habit of seeing anxious thoughts as a symptom, and not reality, to help alleviate your stress," adds McDonagh.

Why Can’t the Airlines Lose My Emotional Baggage?

The airlines employ the art of anxiety seed-planting so you’ll pay a little more to check your bags or opt for earlier boarding. In their defense, airline margins are small and they depend on such fees to remain profitable. In 2021, airlines in the U.S. made an estimated $4.3 billion in baggage fees alone. The scariest thing about flying today are those fees. Which begs the question: "Is that a bag you’re checking, or a griefcase?"

To maximize profits, airlines create the illusion of grossly limited bin space, while continuing to splice boarding groups into ever-thinner stratifications. Consider the many tiers of the boarding processes to understand the psychological game you’ve entered. United boards in six groups, American has nine, and Delta has 10. You board according to your value to the airline.

I ride “basic economy” — the airborne proletariat class. We roll onto the jet bridge like the end credits of a sad movie. Airline personnel avoid making eye contact with us, knowing we barely chipped in for gas. Our shame is palpable. In the future, airlines could operate under any array of boarding and seating procedures, such as including bleachers or removing the seats and tethering each of us to a standing pole. But rest easy, Marco Polo, there are strategies to quell your travel angst.

10 Tactics to Less Stressful, if Not Stress-Free Travel

  • Counter the murmuring lies of anxiety . "Some people are struggling intensely with 'contamination anxiety.' They're worried about catching Covid on a plane," McDonagh says. "We try to help these clients by discussing possibility versus probability. When it comes to fear , we often overassume but just because something is possible, does not mean it's probable."
  • Practice makes progress . Build up your safe-risk tolerance prior to travel day to develop resiliency for the unfamiliar. Think overnight or weekend daytrip, not Burning Man. The goal is to not make your upcoming trip the first big, new experience since Covid and Zoom.
  • Bring a “bug-out” bag . Include all the travel-soothing accoutrements you need for your mental and physical well-being. These might include books, electronics, snacks, medications, that silly neck pillow, and the contact information of those in your support circle.
  • Consider avoiding caffeine and alcohol . Both can leave you feeling dehydrated in a desiccating fuselage. Moreover, they can both increase anxiety. Anxiety kicks in with caffeine, booze, and no control over the window shade.

Normalize feeling abnormal . Remind yourself that it is 100% normal to have worries or stress related to travel. While this skill might seem overly simplistic, it’s incredibly powerful. Telling yourself, “It makes sense that I feel this way given the situation,” is often the reassurance your brain needs. Normalize and nama-stay who you are.

Name it to tame it . Labeling emotions is a proven way to reduce their intensity. This process uses your prefrontal cortex, which brings your more reasonable, thoughtful self back online. It can downregulate the anxiety center of the brain that contributes to stress. Do this by asking yourself, “At this moment, how am I feeling given this situation?” Talking to yourself is a sign of higher intelligence — especially when referring to yourself in the third person. 3 But use a sock puppet if you want to make a statement.

Breathing . An effective way to flip from fight-or-flight response to the rest-and-digest state is by doing the physiological sigh. 4 Take a short inhale through your nose, pause for a moment, and then inhale through your nose again. Then slowly exhale through your mouth. It’s a process our bodies do naturally when soothing from an emotional experience. Imagine a young child or politician at the end of a crying fit and you can see the double intake that naturally happens. Take 5-10 physiological sighs as needed.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) . Muscle tension contributes to stress. To reduce muscle tension, intentionally constrict your muscles for 30-60 seconds. This constriction causes the muscle to be less tense after the constriction period. Try to focus on one muscle group at a time while seated, such as your feet/lower legs and work your way up the body. Flying Frankie says relax.

Acceptance . Acceptance does not mean approval. Simply acknowledge things as they are in the moment. Boarding delays, limited leg space, and lavatory lines will likely be part of the experience. Acceptance removes unnecessary suffering. Acceptance challenge accepted!

Don’t fall asleep before the snack cart reaches your row.

what is pre travel anxiety

If anyone is Christmas shopping for me, I’m a size “window seat.”

University of Leeds. 2008, February 16. Sheep In Human Clothing: Scientists Reveal Our Flock Mentality. ScienceDaily

McCartney, Scott - "Travelers, Welcome to the Revolution in Overhead Bin Size," The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2021

Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., Bremner, R., Moser, J., & Ayduk, O. (2014). Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: How you do it matters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(2), 304–324

Ramirez J. M. (2014). The integrative role of the sigh in psychology, physiology, pathology, and neurobiology. Progress in brain research, 209, 91–129.

Jon Patrick Hatcher M.A.

Jon Patrick Hatcher, M.A., is the author of 101 Ways to Conquer Teen Anxiety and Anxiety Hacks for an Uncertain World.

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How To Tackle Your Pre-Travel Anxiety and Make the Most of Your Trip

By: Author Aly Smalls

Posted on Published: April 13, 2019  - Last updated: October 23, 2021

How To Tackle Your Pre-Travel Anxiety and Make the Most of Your Trip

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Pre-travel anxiety comes in all shapes and forms and can mean different things to different people. Whether you’ve never really traveled before or you take multiple trips per year, a lot of people experience some form of pre-travel anxiety.

Is It Pre-Travel Anxiety or Anticipation?

We all get excited about booking a flight and counting down the days to departure. Anticipation is one of my favorite parts about traveling! But sometimes as we get closer to take off, worry sets in. There’s the usual butterflies, stomach knots, jitters and sweaty palms. Some people panic about the flight or are worried they didn’t pack the right items. Some travelers second guess the itinerary they’ve planned or are worried about language barriers.

Pre-travel anxiety can go further than that though. Have you ever hesitated about booking a trip because you didn’t think you could handle it? Me too! The thought of travel can be a daunting feeling. What if things don’t go as planned? What if I embarrass myself? Guess what, these things are inevitable. Sometimes it helps to take solace in the fact that other travelers encounter these situations every day around the world; but they can now laugh about it and have a funny travel story to tell !

Or, if you’re a millennial like me, you might start to have doubts about whether you should go travel long-term or stay home and be a responsible adult and work at your boring job!

Travel is more accessible than ever before, and for many millennials, it’s viewed as a natural and normal part of early adulthood. Like me, I’m sure many of you struggled with the hard life decision after high school or college. Do I get a job or should I travel?

There are so many factors that go into making a decision to answer that question. Do I have the money to travel? Will traveling help me find my path in life? Should I find a job first and build my career? What will my family think? Is solo travel something I can handle?

Whether you’re a little anxious about a week-long trip or are going through some self-doubt how you’ll handle traveling long term, just know that it’s ok! This is all a normal response to a big and adventurous life decision.

what is pre travel anxiety

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Meaning, on some links if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You Might Also Like: 14 Important Considerations Before You Travel With Your Friends

What Do You Do When Hesitation and Self-Doubt Sets In?

How do you push passed the fear to make the most out of your travel experience?

Travel forces you to make decisions. Sometimes fast decisions, hard decisions, or ones you might be uncertain about the outcome. Travel puts us in an environment we’re not used to and confronts us with new choices. This is where we learn about ourselves. We become accountable , because when we’re traveling, especially solo, we don’t have anyone else to blame or look to.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from experienced travel bloggers who are well on their way to figuring it all out. Below are 13 tips from seasoned travelers who share their stories and experiences to help you push passed any fears or doubts you may have about traveling to help you get the most out of any trip you take.

Before Your Trip

If you’re hesitant about booking, geena of the bartender abroad:.

“For many destinations around the world the flight is the most expensive portion of the trip. South America, Asia, Central America, and parts of Eastern Europe can all be traveled on a tiny daily budget. Keeping this in mind, the most difficult part is booking the flight. Once you have enough saved for the flight, book the trip! Then you can determine your daily budget based on the amount you can save up until the trip.”

I like using JetRadar as my search platform for booking cheap flights. They compare all the leading airline prices so you know you’re getting the best deal. And what I like best is that the price that you find in your search results is the price you pay, no extra taxes or booking charges!

Related Reading: Flying on Swoop Airlines – My Honest and Thorough Review

Ena of Musings and Adventures:

If you’re traveling solo for the first time and identify as an introvert, Ena has some great advice :

“First identify the root of your hesitation. For example, if your hesitation stems from travelling alone in unfamiliar surroundings, do a dry solo run in a familiar area, such as a weekend away or a day trip to a nearby town or city. Somewhere close enough to feel comfortable and have family and friends within close distance but far enough that you cannot walk or take a cheap cab home!

This dry run will help you learn how to navigate while walking, get comfortable with asking strangers for help and directions, doing whatever YOU want to do on your own time and trying new food experiences.”

Related Reading: 15 Unique Staycation Ideas in Canada

Do a Little Homework!

Hazel joy of arrivals hall:.

“Getting socially and culturally informed about a destination is key to overcoming fears and apprehensions. It will also encourage travelers to consider visiting destinations which they may have written-off as undesirable or beyond their comfort zone. Watching a film both set in and made by a filmmaker native to the destination is a great way of engaging with a differing culture, as is a book set in that destination. Making yourself a pre-travel checklist is also a great way to ease any doubts.”

what is pre travel anxiety

Adding to this tip, finding a good book or two about how travel is transformational can help instill new confidence or inspire you to book that trip!

Dale of Wander Her Way:

“Speak the local language! Before your trip, learn a few key words and phrases in the local language and challenge yourself to use them. If you speak the local language already, try practicing it by having a conversation with someone that you meet.”

iTalki is a unique language learning platform where you can have live conversations with native speakers. We all know immersion is one of the best ways to learn a language, so being able to practice it with a real person before your trip will help you be more comfortable once you’re on your trip.

Remember to Enjoy the Journey

Hayley of ms blissness :.

“One of the most important things that travelling has taught me is that it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. Travel is supposed to change you, it’s supposed to make you feel uncomfortable at times. Travelling is about finding places that speak to your soul. Finding beauty in the most unlikely of places. It’s about appreciating all of the differences in the world that bring us all together as one. So make a point of going to places that wouldn’t typically appeal to you.”

Taylor of Travel Colorfully:

“I think it took me a long time to realize that you don’t have to like every single place you travel to. And when I first started traveling, I would go out of my way to find things about certain destinations that would make me like it. But, the fact of the matter is that you just won’t find a connection to every destination you visit and that’s totally okay. Just because someone else raves about a destination, doesn’t mean that you’ll enjoy it as much as they do. And that goes both ways… if you know someone who traveled somewhere and disliked it, go there for yourself and draw your own opinion! You’ll be happy that you did.”

Rachel of Trailing Rachel:

what is pre travel anxiety

“Eat local and on the street! If you’re going to travel around the world and you want to eat as authentically as possible, you’ll often find the best food on the street. Don’t be afraid! I know it can be intimidating to order when you don’t speak the language (or you have no idea what it is they’re cooking), but most locals are happy to sell you whatever it is! Money is an international language, and hey, you can always point at what you want. So many people are afraid of getting sick, but if it looks good, smells good, or it’s a busy stall, you should be eating it! Not to mention, it’s a great way to save money and keep your budget in check.”

Keep the Focus on You

Sara-jane of listen to the wild.

“Here’s a key tip that helped me to maintain motivation while travelling long-term. It’s so easy to get run down travelling long term. You feel like you need to be seeing things every day, to be moving all the time, to make the most of your time in a new place. Staying motivated can be exhausting, so continue to remind yourself that there is no pressure to be a ‘good tourist’ all of the time. Do what you want to do, not what you think you’re supposed to do.”

Rebecca of She Roams Solo:

“This is the best opportunity you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. This moment and destination where nobody knows your name or will be around to remind you if something goes wrong. All you have is the chance to grow. The perfect setting to try something new that you always wanted to do or were curious about. Talk to that person – they probably want you to talk to them. Go on that hike or day trip, it may be the coolest experience on the trip. Eat that food you have never tried, it is probably really tasty or it wouldn’t be on the menu. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen . Imagine it. I doubt it will happen so any other result is just a bonus.

You Might Also Like: How to Make the World a Better Place Through Responsible Travel

Advice for Staying in Hostels

Hostels are well known to be great places to meet other travelers, but sometimes they get a reputation for only appealing to extroverted travelers who love to party. The good news is that there are hostels who cater to more introverted travelers!

Ellie of The Wandering Quinn

“My biggest tip to ensure you get a hostel that is right for you is to look at the reviews! It’s pretty easy to work out when a hostel is a party hostel because they’ll feature it in the name or it will be highlighted in the description with party looking photos, avoid these! Look for a hostel that seems smaller, look for one with no social area, find reviews that say it’s a quiet hostel.

This way you can benefit from the budget friendliness of hostels and you will probably meet some like minded travelers and fellow introverts if you wish but with no pressure.”

Hostelworld has one of the best platforms for searching and booking hostels around the world. The user interface makes it super easy for searches, they have a free app and lots of great blog posts.

what is pre travel anxiety

Anya of Unexpected Occurrence:

“If you’re introverted, I think staying in hostels is a great way to meet people. You’re put into a situation where everyone’s just trying to have a good time, so people are generally more open and friendly. I like to have snacks on hand at all times, and sharing these is a great way to make some new friends. I also like to bring a travel journal with me to reflect when I do need my space. It’s nice to be able to write down your thoughts and daily activities; looking back on these journals is when I get bitten by the travel bug the hardest!”

Remember That Others Are Likely in the Same Boat as You

Priyanka of on my canvas:.

“If you like to travel and are scared of leaving your home or visiting an unknown place, remember that the whole world is inhabited by humans. We all are kind and considerate and face similar problems around the world. You might have missed your bus or you don’t like eating alone or you won’t have the best warm shower while traveling as you have at home, but if you ask someone they might send you to another bus stand or accompany you to dinner.”

Crystal of Adventures With Crystal:

“Don’t be afraid to talk with strangers. Really! I would not have found some of the best local restaurants, hidden beaches, and amazing street art if it wasn’t for striking up conversations with strangers: the bartender or server, the person at customs, a tourist taking a photo on the street. Not sure how to safely do this? I simply will tell someone I’m traveling (no need to give other details) and ask them what they’ve enjoyed and recommended in the area! I find everyone sees it as a compliment when you value their opinion and everyone is open to helping.”

what is pre travel anxiety

Travel right now, while you’re young, mobile and able to do so.

Take a leap, try something new. You never know what will happen.

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what is pre travel anxiety

Sunday 21st of April 2019

Nice one, Alyssa! Good to read and earn more from other travel bloggers regarding pre-travel anxiety.

Overcoming Travel Anxiety: Your Guide to Pre-Trip Stress Relief

what is pre travel anxiety

Table Of Contents

  • 1 . Understanding Travel Anxiety
  • 2 . Is It Normal to Have Travel Anxiety?
  • 3 . Causes of Pre-Travel Anxiety
  • 4 . How to Manage Pre-Travel Anxiety?
  • 5 . Addressing Specific Pre-Trip Fears
  • 6 . When to Seek Professional Help
  • 7 . Practical Tips for Managing Travel Anxiety

Dealing with anxiety or even fear for your big next trip? This practical guide explains the main reasons for this feeling and what to do about it. Whether it’s planning activities to the minute on your first day or physical exercises - we got you covered!

Key Takeaways

Identify Triggers: Recognize your specific anxiety triggers and address them directly with tailored strategies. Understanding the root cause helps alleviate anxiety.

Plan and Prepare: Plan the essentials of your trip, such as accommodation, activities, and budget. Flexibility and preparation minimize stress.

Practice Relaxation: Incorporate relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and exercise. Regular practice can reduce pre-trip and travel-induced stress.

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Understanding Travel Anxiety

You’ve applied for time off work and booked the plane ticket? Or have you quit your job and hired the movers? Whether it’s a short trip or a longer stay abroad, managing travel anxiety is a common challenge during the preparation stage. Are you fretting about missing events your friends and family are talking about? Are you worried about finances? Did someone make a negative comment about safety at your destination?

Then you are probably experiencing pre-travel anxiety. Travel anxiety is a spectrum of symptoms that can be triggered by different aspects of travel. It can be mild, like feeling a little uneasy in a crowded airport terminal, or severe, like experiencing intense physical symptoms such as shaking hands, dizziness, or a racing heart. In some more serious cases, it may even lead to reconsidering your travel plans.

Is It Normal to Have Travel Anxiety?

Travel anxiety is common, and a certain amount of it is normal and even beneficial. A little anxiety can keep us focused and on top of things. However, it becomes a problem when it escalates into severe anxiety that hampers your ability to enjoy your trip or even stops you from traveling altogether.

Symptoms of Travel Anxiety

Symptoms can vary, but typical signs include:

Checking travel documents or packing lists excessively

Difficulty concentrating on tasks due to worry

Physical symptoms like clammy hands, dizziness, or rapid heartbeat

Feelings of fear or dread when considering travel plans

Social anxiety in crowded places like airports

If these symptoms sound familiar and impact your ability to travel, you're not alone, and there are strategies to help.

Causes of Pre-Travel Anxiety

While the triggers for travel anxiety are unique to each person, common concerns include:

Fear of flying: This fear is a significant hurdle for many travelers and can lead to avoiding air travel altogether.

Safety concerns: Concerns about personal safety in unfamiliar destinations can cause stress before and during travel.

Financial worries: Budgeting for a trip can trigger anxiety, especially when the financial impact of unexpected expenses is unknown.

Communication barriers: Fear of navigating a foreign language can make traveling to an unfamiliar place more daunting.

Navigating transportation systems: Using unfamiliar transportation methods or routes can trigger anxiety.

Social anxiety: Interacting with strangers or being in unfamiliar social settings can make people with social anxiety feel even more stressed.

Dietary concerns: Dietary restrictions or health conditions can lead to worry about food choices in new places.

Fear of loneliness: Being away from loved ones for an extended period can trigger feelings of isolation.

FOMO (Fear of missing out): Missing out on events back home can be a major source of travel anxiety.

How to Manage Pre-Travel Anxiety?

Understanding the root cause of your anxiety is the first step to managing it. By identifying the triggers, you can implement effective strategies tailored to your needs.

Strategies to Overcome Travel Anxiety

Physical exercise.

Physical exercise can be a nature’s magic solution to many of our physical and mental challenges. And it doesn't necessarily require engaging in intense sports. Even a simple walk outdoors can stimulate the release of endorphins, promoting a more positive outlook on life.

Avoid Behaviors that Increase Anxiety

Not sleeping enough, eating junk food high in sugar, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol – all of these can increase anxiety. Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself is to try and live as healthily as possible before your trip.

Meditating is not for everyone but many people swear by it. If you find that meditation helps quieten your mind, then be sure to incorporate a meditation session into your daily routine. If you are new to meditation but would like to give it a whirl, there are quite a few guided meditations on Youtube or apps that support you in your meditation journey like Headspace.

Walking or Hiking

Nothing gets your spirits up as much as just being in nature. Indeed, just half an hour looking at fresh greens can do wonders for your mental state. For those who do not want to do a full-on cardio routine as well as those who do not feel meditation is any help to calm their anxiety, walks or hiking are a great option.

Get creative

Find a creative outlet that helps you express your inner thoughts and turmoil. This may be journaling, singing along at the top of your voice to some of your favorite tunes or painting; for most of us there is a creative activity that brings us release from negative thought loops and obsessive worrying. Find yours and really get stuck in. You’ll be amazed at how effective it is.

Spending Time with Loved Ones

Especially if you are relocating more permanently, you want to use as much as you can of the time you have left with the people you love and are leaving behind – either temporarily or for a longer period of time. Make sure you meet up with them as much as you can before your trip.

Plan your first 24 hours down to the minute

Often our anxiety comes from facing the unknown. Try and eliminate the unknown as much as you can from your first day in the new location by envisioning and writing down your first 24 hours.

Things to consider when planning your first 24 hours at your destination:

Plan the route and mode of transport in advance.

Make your first exciting sightseeing plan. Even if you are permanently relocating, this is a great thing to do on your first day to really get you excited about your new city of residence!

Pick the restaurants and embark on a flavorful adventure at your destination

Addressing Specific Pre-Trip Fears

Once you have identified what exactly is causing your anxiety, you can also find strategies to alleviate it. Here are some scenarios and suggestions of how to deal with them.

Fear of Flying

There are a whole host of strategies to deal with fear of flying, find some detailed suggestions here: How to overcome a fear of flying .

Quick tips include avoiding caffeine, distracting yourself with games and technology as well as sleeping as much as possible.

Fears for your safety

You can find all location-specific safety information as well as emergency contacts in your Vigilios app

Invest in your sense of safety by going for the more expensive accommodation in the better district

Do research on the public transportation system at your destination. In the Vigilios app you can find the most reliable ways of commuting.

Worries you won't enjoy yourself

Plan activities that relax you, whether that is sitting in a cafe reading a book or working out at a gym. Remind yourself that you hold the reins on this trip and that you can be flexible if you decide you do not like any activity.

Worries about food

Especially for those of us with sensitive stomachs or digestive health conditions going to a new location with unfamiliar food can be nerve-wracking. Learn about the food at your destination in advance to figure out which dishes will most likely agree with you. Look up highly rated restaurants on review platforms to ensure a certain standard of hygiene. For emergencies, look up international restaurant chains with familiar foods.

For a short trip, take some of your favorite, stomach-calming foods with you (as long as they are allowed past customs). For a long-term relocation find out where to buy your favorite, stomach-calming foods; look for international supermarkets or check out online stores that ship internationally. Have medications on hand that can calm your stomach such as charcoal tablets or medication to alleviate IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

When to Seek Professional Help

If your anxiety persists or is severe enough to prevent you from enjoying your trip, consider seeking professional help. Anxiety disorders can significantly impact your mental health, and getting help from a psychologist or therapist can offer the coping tools you need.

Understanding your triggers and adopting strategies to overcome travel anxiety will allow you to travel confidently. With the right mindset and preparation, you can enjoy your adventure without the burden of stress. Safe travels!

Practical Tips for Managing Travel Anxiety

Develop a relaxation routine.

Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery before and during your trip to help you stay calm and centered.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Expect the unexpected and be flexible with your travel plans. This will help you manage unexpected changes or disruptions, reducing the chances of feeling overwhelmed.

Plan Your Budget

To alleviate financial worries, create a travel budget that accounts for transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. Set aside extra funds for emergencies to avoid unexpected stress.

Seek Support from Loved Ones

Let friends and family know about your travel plans and your concerns. Their encouragement and support can help you feel more confident and reduce anxiety.

Break Down Tasks

Break down travel preparations into smaller, manageable tasks. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and make the process more enjoyable.

Focus on Positive Experiences

Instead of focusing on the things that could go wrong, remind yourself of the positive aspects of travel, like exploring new places and creating memorable experiences.

Prepare a "Comfort Kit"

Pack a small bag with items that provide comfort and help you relax during your trip, such as headphones, snacks, a book, or a stress ball.

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How To Manage Travel Anxiety

Traveling can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it can also seem intimidating if you live with anxiety. The prospect of navigating unfamiliar situations and managing logistics can be stressful, and you might worry that you won’t be able to fully enjoy your trip as a result of your symptoms. How can you manage travel anxiety so that your journey is a success? While each person and travel scenario is different, there are a variety of techniques you can try that may help keep your travel-related anxieties in check so that they don’t hold you back from exploring new places.

Defining travel anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder (gad), panic disorder .

People with this disorder  experience panic attacks  along with potentially disruptive fears about how or where these attacks may manifest in the future. They might find it hard to stop worrying about what would happen if they had a panic attack while in an airport or in a place where they don’t speak the language.

Social anxiety disorder

Also known as social phobia, this involves an intense fear  of being watched, judged, humiliated, or rejected by other people. Since traveling virtually always means interacting with strangers and being around large groups, it can be a trigger for those with this disorder.


Techniques for managing travel anxiety.

So, how can you avoid letting nerves ruin your travel experience? The following strategies could help you manage your symptoms so you can enjoy your time away.

Identify your triggers

Even if you feel anxious about the entire idea of the trip you’re planning, there are likely certain aspects of travel that are particularly stressful for you. Many people with anxiety disorders have specific triggers that tend to provoke their most severe travel anxiety symptoms. Recognizing these triggers and thinking ahead about how to cope with them can be helpful in managing your travel anxiety.

What parts of the journey are you most anxious about? Is it the thought of looking foolish because of cultural norms you don’t know? Do you worry a lot about something going wrong with your flight? Are you concerned you might have a panic attack and be unable to get help?

Journaling or otherwise writing down your thoughts and feelings about traveling could be an effective way to identify travel anxiety-related triggers. In addition to helping you figure out which elements of the journey are causing you the most stress, studies suggest that this process  could help reduce symptoms  of anxiety and depression in and of itself.

Create a detailed plan

You might be tempted to avoid thinking about what could go wrong during your travels, but this approach may only increase your fear related to travel anxiety. Instead, it could be best to confront the possible negative scenarios a week before your travel date and create a plan for how to cope with them. For instance, if you’re worried about missing your connecting flight, you could research alternative travel arrangements and deliberately leave some wiggle room in your planned arrival time. This type of planning can help make the sources of your travel anxiety seem more manageable and avoid negative psychiatric consequences.

In addition to planning for mishaps, you may also want to create a detailed itinerary to help you organize your travels. Research indicates that proactive planning  may help lower stress  by reducing uncertainty. However, you may also want to remind yourself that it’s okay if some things don’t go according to plan and that you’ll be able to adapt if things change.

Pack for self-care

It can be easier to manage and overcome travel anxiety if you have some small sources of comfort to help bring you calm while you’re away. You may want to pack things that you can use to create little rituals of relaxation and a comfort zone no matter where you are. Possible examples include:

  • Scented sachets or sprays, since research suggests that  some types of aromatherapy  could help you feel calmer in the face of travel anxiety
  • An eye mask to help you get quality sleep while you’re away, which  can help keep anxiety under control
  • Noise-canceling headphones to help you avoid overstimulation and find calm
  • Books, crossword puzzles, handheld games, or other forms of distraction
  • Workout clothes, since a short workout or even a brisk walk  may help decrease symptoms of anxiety
  • A scalp massager to help ease anxiety by releasing some physical tension

Plan and budget for relaxation

Learn some anxiety reduction techniques.

Exercises for mental and physical relaxation may help you reduce your symptoms of travel anxiety in the moment. Learning and practicing methods like these before your trip may help prepare you to better cope with any difficulties that could arise.

  • Sensory grounding.  Grounding techniques  can redirect your attention to the world around you instead of your own anxiety, potentially preventing a panic attack. A common method is to take notice of concrete things you can perceive with each of your five senses. As a bonus, this can also help you take note of the novel sights and sounds of your travel destination.
  • Meditation.  Mindfulness meditation  has shown considerable effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms in many people, as evidenced by research on the neural correlates of mindfulness meditation anxiety relief .  You can practice it for 10–20 minutes per day from anywhere by sitting still, breathing deeply, and noticing the thoughts and feelings that arise without judging them or trying to control them. 
  • Earthing. Some studies suggest that being in contact with the ground may help lessen symptoms of anxiety, perhaps by conveying a sense of stability and comfort. This is known as “earthing”. You can try it for yourself by sitting, lying down, or planting your feet firmly and paying attention to the sensation of touching the ground.
  • Expressive journaling. As we noted above,  journaling may help with worry and anxiety. Writing about what’s making you anxious instead of bottling it up could provide a constructive outlet for your emotions to lessen their intensity. Plus, taking time to also record the positive and interesting things about your travels could help cement happy memories for you to look back on later.

Connect with a loved one

In the internet age, going to a new place doesn’t mean you can’t still lean on your support network. When your travel anxiety gets particularly strong, you may want to reach out to an understanding friend, partner, or family member to let them know what you’re feeling. You may not be able to talk with them over the phone right at that moment, but even writing out a text message or email may be comforting on its own, and you could check in via phone or video chat then or later if possible. A simple conversation with someone you trust could go a long way toward helping you feel less alone or worried in the face of travel anxiety.

Talk to a therapist about anxiety 

Talk therapy can be an effective way to manage and treat anxiety, including travel anxiety. If you’re getting ready for a trip and are feeling anxious about it, reaching out to a therapist beforehand to discuss your worries could be a good way to mentally prepare for travel. If you connect with a therapist online, you may be able to continue your sessions during travel as well. The ability to talk with a mental health professional from anywhere you have an internet connection is one significant benefit of online therapy platforms.

The stress that can be associated with travel may exacerbate the mental and physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Reducing uncertainty by planning ahead for potentially triggering situations may help you feel less anxious. You can also incorporate techniques for relaxation and mental grounding into your journey. Staying in contact with supportive friends and/or a mental health professional  may provide additional relief when your travel anxiety feels most severe. Also, therapy may serve as an effective long-term anxiety treatment even when you’re not traveling. Take the first step toward relief from anxiety and contact BetterHelp today.

There are many reasons why you might feel anxious before traveling, also known as "travel anxiety". Your previous negative experiences, such as a major car accident during young adulthood, could create feelings of anxiety. It could be related to a fear of flying, being in crowds, or being in an unfamiliar place. Also, you might worry about your safety or feel concerned about family or obligations back at home. If you experience health conditions, you might also be nervous about finding health services while traveling.

Making a conscious effort to relax while traveling can help you avoid or decrease feelings of travel anxiety. You can focus on maintaining healthy routines as best you can, such as sleeping enough, eating well, and exercising. If you’re traveling with others in an unfamiliar place, taking time to yourself away from them may also help you recharge and relax. You can also practice meditation, breathing exercises, or similar techniques to help yourself relax no matter where you are. You might also feel more at ease if you ensure that your travel or health insurance will cover any incidents that might occur during your trip. 

What is the best sedative for flying?

If you experience high anxiety or panic attacks during air travel, it’s usually recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional for help coping with symptoms. A healthcare professional may ask about your physical health and any medications you’re taking and then prescribe medications for anxiety and fear of flying.

Is fear of flying a mental illness?

How can i relax when flying.

If you experience flight or travel anxiety, it may help to meet with a mental health professional to address your symptoms. You can also try to engage in various coping mechanisms to keep yourself calm, such as trying breathing techniques and grounding exercises, challenging distorted thoughts, and avoiding substances like caffeine that can intensify feelings of anxiety.

There are various relaxation techniques you can try to manage anxiety, even if it's not related to travel. Some of these include practicing breathing or grounding exercises, journaling, making healthy lifestyle changes, and speaking with a therapist.

What is the best medication for traveling anxiety?

There’s no one medication that’s right for everyone who experiences symptoms of travel anxiety, and medication in general might not be the answer for each individual who is living with an anxiety disorder. To find out what type of long term anxiety treatment might be right for you, it’s typically recommended that you consult with a mental health professional for advice and guidance that pertains to your specific situation.

Can traveling relieve stress? 

Traveling can relieve stress in some people and increase it in others. It depends on the individual, the type of trip, and other circumstances. 

Can you be a pilot if you have anxiety?

Since anxiety disorders are generally considered to be treatable, it is generally possible to pursue the career path of your choice even if you’re experiencing symptoms and/or have been diagnosed with one.

  • A Convenient Way To Seek Help: Mental Health Phone Services Medically reviewed by Paige Henry , LMSW, J.D.
  • Understanding And Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant , LMHC
  • Relationships and Relations

The Globetrotting Teacher

5 Tips to Overcome Pre-Travel Anxiety

Has your travel anxiety and fear of traveling held you back even though you really want to travel the world?

Well, I can totally relate because I’ve dealt with and continue to deal with travel anxiety and the uncomfortable symptoms that inevitably come along with this real and personal challenge.

I’m Mr. TGT and I’m taking over my wife’s travel blog for this post. She’s not bothered with pre-travel anxiety or any type of anxiety related to travel but I am.

So, in this guide, I’m going to share how travel anxiety affected me and what I did (and still do) to manage it. And, not just deal with it to get through a trip but to actually enjoy traveling without feeling like my head and chest are caving in.

If you can relate, keep reading! My hope in sharing my own personal experience with travel anxiety is it’ll help you tackle your anxiety before travel, as well.

What is Travel Anxiety?

Passengers lining up at check-in counter at the modern international airport

If your pre-trip anxiety is anything like mine, you may have booked a great vacation only to have the days leading up to the trip be full of racing thoughts about each worst-case scenario to the point where you’re actually thinking about not going….even after you’ve already paid for your trip!?!?

I’m happy to say that over the years things have gotten much better. How I approach this travel phobia and flying anxiety now has made all the difference in getting past my travel anxiety symptoms.

Before continuing, though, I want to be clear. I am not a doctor. I am not a mental health expert. This guide is not a professional diagnosis or a form of medical treatment.

Dealing with an anxiety disorder, phobias, and depression are significant medical issues to be discussed with a qualified doctor.

I’m just a regular guy with some issues who’s hoping to share my experiences in the hopes it’ll help you travel more.

Travel Anxiety Symptoms

Emirates Airplane flying in a blue sky

Those of us who might be afraid of traveling, have a fear of flying, or experience travel nerves seem to have a lot in common. The fear of traveling away from home, flight and airport anxiety, and even the fear of traveling in a car all come with a common thread connecting travel and anxiety.

Your experience is unique to you but do you feel any of these trip anxiety symptoms before traveling?

  • Racing Negative Thoughts
  • Panic/ Excessive Worrying
  • Difficulty Sleeping/Insomnia
  • Hyperventilating/Tightness in the Chest
  • Upset Stomach
  • Body Pain & Headaches

There are probably a few I missed but these are the most common for me.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic button to make all of these pre-travel anxiety symptoms go away. If there was, I would’ve jumped on it a loooong time ago!

Travel anxiety hits yours truly in a couple of different ways and these negative feelings and thoughts would build and build the closer I’d get to departing for a trip. Once the wheels in my head started to turn, it was an endless obsession on all things negative.  

There were times when the anxiety symptoms and panic attacks became so overwhelming the only relief came when I just avoided travel altogether. I admit that in these cases the thought of an unfamiliar place, the travel it would require to get there, and new experiences were anxiety triggers for me.

Now, it’s not like I avoided traveling completely. I had to travel for work and my wife (a travel blogger!!), friends, and family members wanted to travel. But, it was always a struggle and my feelings of anxiety weren’t getting better.

It was actually getting worse. The cycle of pre-trip negative thoughts had reached a point where I’d become highly irritable, retreat inward, and could be flat-out emotionally hurtful to anyone around me. Usually, this would peak the night before and on the day of travel. I was not at all pleasant to be around.

beach in Puerto Rico

The low point came on the morning of what was sure to be an amazing trip. It had been planned for a long time but our big trip came and went with me rolled up on the couch “not feeling well” and consumed by negative emotions and thoughts.

I had such guilt and regret. How did I let this thing beat me?! I vowed to myself and to my all too understanding (& amazing) wife I’d never let my travel anxieties take control again.

5 Tips on How to Overcome Pre-Travel Anxiety

2 people sitting on a big orange bench with vineyard vines in the background

1. Discuss it with others.

It was time to fix this and the first place to start was to ask a really basic and obvious question.  

Why is this happening?  

It seems overly simple at first but it’s an important place to start. 

How to deal with travel anxiety doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. But, I’d recommend you openly talk this question through with the people you can confide in as a starting point.

Personally, I’d never discussed my pre-travel anxiety openly. I’d just try to plow through but clearly, that wasn’t working. So, I opened up about what I was thinking and feeling more with my wife and with some of my closest friends, even though I felt self-conscious and a little embarrassed.  

Inevitably they all asked the same question.

Why do you think this is happening?

One friend even asked, “What are you thinking about in these moments of anxiety?

What am I thinking about?!? It feels like a million thoughts hitting my head at the same time!

the word stress written thousands of times on little pieces of white paper

Before I knew it, I’d taken an important step. I decided to open up about how I was feeling and I felt a slight immediate relief. I didn’t feel so alone and locked in my own head.

Also, funny things happen when you open up to people. They open up back to you, too. I actually had a close friend tell me he too experienced a good amount of stress before traveling which he described as his “typical pre-travel jitters and anxiety.”

Although it didn’t seem to consume him as it did me, it was still a relief to hear I wasn’t alone on this stress island. In fact, over time I’ve come to realize plenty of people are scared to travel. Not exactly Turks & Caicos but I’ll take knowing that I’m not alone.

In talking, one of my friends had a great suggestion. “Why don’t you write down all these negative thoughts?” Spoiler alert for #2 of my list of travel anxiety tips.

2. Write down your thoughts.

Male putting his ideas into writing in a notebook with a laptop nearby

 You’re not writing a book or submitting an article to anyone else but yourself so don’t get caught up on what you’re writing on or how it looks.  Use the back of a napkin if you need. Just write down your thoughts and feelings as they come to you.

Focus on what you’re thinking about when you get anxious about traveling. It could be 5 words or 500. It doesn’t matter. It’s for you to reflect on so you can make some sense of these thoughts as you continue to write and read them back to yourself.  

But, you have to be honest. Again, you’re doing this for yourself to help YOU.

At first, it looked like I was just jotting down jibberish. Sometimes I’d just stare at my notebook and not write anything, thinking only this was a silly exercise. It’s even ok if you struggle writing at first. I did.

But, I kept reminding myself about the time I bailed on a trip because of my amount of anxiety and the vow I made to fight this.

Start by answering, “What’s the worst part of traveling for me?” Then take it from there.

Actually, after I did this for a while I found it was a cathartic exercise just to write. It eventually led me to the core of the anxiety, the worrying, the negative thinking, and the accompanying physical symptoms.

And just so you don’t think I’m an experienced polished writer, here’s a snippet of the babbling stream of consciousness that came out.

I dislike flying well flying is ok I like planes they’re fascinating airports make me crazy I can’t get comfortable in a plane seat or sleep so I’m shot when we get there and annoyed but that turbulence kind of sucks what is that anyway? I mean we’re stuffed in a metal tube going 500 mph over dark oceans and mountains getting bounced around how long is this flight?  Do we have to connect? the security lines make me nuts is there a terror threat? and did I pack right why do I have 16 t-shirts for a 5-day trip what time do I need the car? traffic always stinks and it’s probably going to snow or rain and we’ll be stuck in a foreign country do I have my passport? what if I get sick? I got sick the last time it was probably the plane and its germs who will I end up sitting next to? the middle seat is horrific and I will have jet lag is the healthcare there good? how hot is going to be? is the water ok? wait we need a car I have to drive? what side of the road are they on? who’s watching my dogs? are they ok? is there a contingency plan if one of them gets sick and blah blah blah…

Notice there wasn’t one positive thing in there. Not ONE!  I’m headed out on an amazing trip to Paris and all I can think of is the worst-case scenario instead of imagining the wonderful experiences I could have on my trip.

travel anxiety tips

Once you have a better understanding of what’s consuming your mind, you can make a battle plan about how to handle it. I went back to my writing and ranked things in order of what seemed to cause me the most anxiety.

As I ranked this mind-flooding negative stream of thoughts, I was astonished to come away with what has been my biggest insight to date.

3. Most of what you’re thinking about & anticipating doesn’t actually exist.  

Passengers sitting on their chairs in airplane cabin

As I read and re-read what I had put on paper, it just popped out at me.

Most of what’s in there is not actually happening!

Before traveling, I’m in an endless loop of anticipatory anxiety & thinking. When you’re in this perpetual state and it’s all negative, it’s actually impossible NOT to be anxious.  

Remember perpetually anticipating the pure excitement of Santa Claus arriving back when you were a kid? Same premise here. But instead, it’s the twelve days of hell for the middle-aged guy with plane tickets to Finnish Lapland .

Planning a Trip to Finnish Lapland

You are what you eat AND what you think. If you’re constantly thinking about the 10-hour flight in the middle seat sandwiched between a crying baby and someone coughing up a lung…well then you’re going to FEEL like that’s your reality.

Cue all the uncomfortable symptoms associated with anxiety. You’ve literally thought your way into a sleepless night and given yourself an upset stomach and headache all before you’ve even left for your upcoming trip!

You. Are. What. You. Think. So, change what you’re thinking about. Not to be dramatic but this was my Aha! moment.  

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy. Controlling your thinking is far from simple. If I tell you not to think of turbulence while flying you’ll, in all likelihood, think of turbulence while flying.

Thoughts happen fast because the human brain is amazing. BUT, it can also be your own worst enemy because it can AND IT WILL create a reality for you that doesn’t exist if you let it.

While doing a little research, I came across a bit of amazing information.

The brain doesn’t distinguish between what is real and what is not!

I was blown away!! This means you’re likely to have travel anxiety symptoms just by imagining things going wrong before and during your trip.

Do your best to start changing what you’re thinking about and use the brain like any other muscle. The more you work it out the stronger it will be. So whether this is journaling, mindful meditation, or something else, you need to find the right exercises for your brain.

This won’t happen overnight. (Not even close!) BUT! The more I reminded myself that what was making me anxious were scenarios that weren’t actually happening, the better the days leading up to a trip got.

4. Accept what you don’t have control over.

Image of passengers feet and suitcases on floor at international airport terminal

My writing also revealed I was getting anxious and worked up about scenarios over which I have ZERO control. This is a total waste of time.

In general, humans tend to fear what we can’t control, right? This fear of the unknown removes you from your comfort zone.

I learned the hard way, it’s also a waste of energy. Imagine how awful it was to spend the entire week of a ski trip in the Swiss Alps sweating out a fever because my anxiety before flying had taxed my immune system to the brink.

A female skier skiing without a helmet alone on the ski slope towards majestic Matterhorn mountain on a beautiful sunny day with a thick layer of snow in ski resort Zermatt, canton of Valais in Switzerland.

I don’t want to sound too simplistic because I get how frustrating and annoying it is to be told by someone “Hey, you can’t control this so just don’t let it bother you.”  

But, it does make sense if you stop, take a breath, and tell yourself not to get worked up about things out of your control, like a snowstorm or airport delays. Get to a place where you know this and FEEL it!

5. Control what you can.

Baggage claim at airport

Mitigate the uncontrollable by taking the wheel of the controllable.

You can’t control the long lines to check your bag but you can control what you pack, the time you leave for the airport, and who’s taking care of your home and precious pooch. These things can reduce the stress of travel plans.

If getting to the airport 2 hours before your flight feels rushed and causes stress, leave earlier and make use of the airport lounge access you get with a travel rewards credit card . (I have my wife to thank for being such a guru with miles and points!)

If you’re nervous about forgetting your passport, set up a reminder on your phone. Create a packing list for yourself or confirm your flight and hotel reservations.

Pack what will make you comfortable on the flight. Do you need a travel pillow , your favorite socks, or noise-canceling headphones ?

Also, overcome travel anxiety by taking care of yourself in the days before your departure. Do what you need to get enough sleep. Eat healthy foods and drink water. We even take travel probiotics for extra immune support.

man witha  backpack standing on the ledge looking out at Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Above all else, be kind to yourself. Remember you’re a human being, not a robot. Feeling anxious or a little nervous before a trip is actually pretty normal for nearly everyone. But these feelings shouldn’t own you.

For me, I let go of the things that didn’t exist and stopped dwelling on what I couldn’t control. Little by little, this made dealing with my travel anxiety manageable and allowed me to fully enjoy my travels.

Your pre-travel anxiety will get better the more you put into overcoming it.

Think of what you do when beach weather approaches. You work out and eat right to get in better shape. It’s the same approach here. You need to put the work in to get the results you want. (You know if you’re sneaking donuts and doing a half-hearted workout!)

Work out the brain and the results will come. The world is wide and just waiting for you to get out and explore it!

What are your tips for overcoming pre-travel anxiety?

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Do you have travel anxiety? The fear of flying and feeling anxious before traveling can completely ruin that long awaited dream vacation. Get 5 tips to help deal with your travel anxiety so you can feel happy as you travel the world. #travel #travelanxiety #traveltips

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19 thoughts on “5 tips to overcome pre-travel anxiety”.

what is pre travel anxiety

hi there thanks for the information

what is pre travel anxiety

Thanks for reading! 🙂

what is pre travel anxiety

can’t wait to show my daughter who suffers from travel anxiety thanks for enlighting others who dont understand

Thanks for reading, Antoinette.

what is pre travel anxiety

Good, simple tips. Thanks! I’m going to start writing down thoughts today!

Your welcome!

It’s a good start to put thoughts on paper and so happy to help!

what is pre travel anxiety

I’m really grateful for this article. I’ve traveled a lot for work and vacations and at first it was super easy. I didn’t worry a bit about it. But a few years ago I started to get anxious before traveling. There was no event that triggered this. i’m not usually a neurotic person. I’m not afraid of planes at all and I’m not worried about anything bad happening while on travel. That’s what makes it difficult for me to understand why I get so anxious.

I’m ok until the last couple of days before traveling. Then I get super cranky and moody. It gets worse if I’m traveling for work and my wife stays home, but it also happens if we’re going together. I even get cranky before short backpacking trips, which I absolutely love. I have tried to understand what makes me anxious. I’m probably used to be home and a change in my routine makes me uncomfortable. I also feel uncomfortable about knowing that I have this thing to do at a precise time and date, so I feel like it’s a deadline. It’s like I can’t do other simple things because I just have to go in that day and time. Which is kind of dumb, because I don’t have that many things to do.

The crazy thing about it is that I really love to visit other places. Once I get across security at the airport or get in the car to go out of town, the anxiety immediately goes away and .i have the most wonderful time. So, what I think happens to me is that I don’t cope well with the feeling of being “in between two states” the days before traveling. I’m not yet on travel but I can’t make my regular life either because I will leave a couple of days or hours later. Am .i crazy?

Thanks for reading and sharing your experience, Alex. What you described is what I’ve seen my husband go through for many of our past trips. The couple of days before can be full of anxiety but the minute we’re in the destination, it’s gone and we have a wonderful time. It’s something he constantly works on because, like you, he likes to visit and explore other places. 🙂

what is pre travel anxiety

Hi Alex, I too have this anxiety, I got sick 4 1/2 years ago when I was on my way to go to Italy , since than I get bad anxiety before going on a trip, thinking am I going to be sick and not make my flights, disappoint people! It’s not the plane at all, I can’t wait to get there stuff and once am there it’s amazing !

what is pre travel anxiety

Fantastic piece. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for reading, Mitchell. 🙂

what is pre travel anxiety

Thanks a lot for this wonderful article! I have travelled places and have done many abroad trips but it so recently happened that i had a panic attack in a bus travel. Since then i have started feeling not good about travel especially when alone. I now also fear flying, irony is that I actually work on Aeroplanes. I am hoping the techniques mentioned do help me and i get to doing what i love the most- Travel ?

Thanks so much for reading, Vinay. I hope some of the tips help you get out and travel more. 🙂

what is pre travel anxiety

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I’ve had the worst week ever and cancelled two bookings due to my anxiety. This is actually my second experience after two years and its by far the worst. Monday I made it to the airport on my first booking and returned home. Yesterday made my second booking for today only to get so worked up before leaving I cancelled last minute. I’m currently on my third try but nerves are getting the best of me. I hope to one day be able to get to the place where this is all behind me.

Thanks for reading, Sally Ann, and I’m so sorry to hear about your week and anxiety. Sending positive vibes and encouragement that 2020 will be a better travel year for you. 🙂

what is pre travel anxiety

This was such a great post. I’ve never had travel anxiety before but I’m going on my first international trip next week to a place I’ve always wanted to go (London!) and I’m a mess. My husband doesn’t get bothered by much so he doesn’t understand and I was starting to think there was something wrong ? Your piece really helped, and I stepped it up a notch: after I wrote out the list of worries, I did a second one, writing down how smoothly and easily each thing will end up being, and if there is a snag, how we’ll take care of it. Now if I can just keep that one in mind over the next few days 🙂 Thank you again!

what is pre travel anxiety

I’m so happy you found this helpful, Heather.

Great work doing the writing.

You will love London. Have a wonderful trip!

what is pre travel anxiety

GREAT ARTICLE!! Well written and totally relatable. I too suffer the unknown and stresses associated with pretty much all aspects of travel, until I land safely at my destination. Will keep this one handy!! Thanks so much for sharing and opening up – hugely helpful to know i’m not alone!!

Thanks so much for reading, Marina! I’m glad the article is helpful! You are definitely not alone. 🙂

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What is Travel Anxiety: Signs, Tips, Prevention, and More

Swarnakshi Sharma

Who doesn’t like to travel to places far and wide? If I had the time and resources to do so, I’d be traveling around the world, exploring cultures, learning languages, and just enjoying every moment of my life. As much as anyone loves traveling, there are times when many feel anxious about their travels. This travel anxiety can stop you from enjoying your time on trips with your loved ones.

While it’s not an official diagnosis, it could feel as real as any to anyone who feels anxious about traveling. Even though it’s not a formal term, travel anxiety or pre-trip anxiety is a real and valid experience.

Travel anxiety can prevent you from enjoying the experience, relaxing on your vacation, and even preventing the restorative rest your mind and body need. If you already struggle with anxiety disorders , then you could be more susceptible to travel anxiety, however, even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, you can still experience the pre-trip jitters.

Keep reading to learn how you can identify the symptoms and causes of your travel anxiety and 7 quick tips to overcome travel anxiety, so you can enjoy your trip without extra worries.

Travel Anxiety Symptoms: Do You Have Them?

Anxiety symptoms can be different for everyone, so what others experience doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the same. Here are some of the common travel anxiety symptoms you should look out for anyway.

If you feel anxiety before a trip, you may experience;

  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Sleep troubles
  • Panic attacks (in severe cases)

If you experience panic attacks, then you may experience trembling and shaking in your limbs, become disoriented, experience dizziness, and feel a disconnection from reality.

But what may cause travel Anxiety?

Well, if there’s been a negative experience before in your life related to travel, then it could cause you to experience pre-travel anxiety. Many people who’ve survived car accidents, airplane accidents, etc. are more likely to develop travel anxiety.

If you have a panic attack (unrelated to travel) in an unfamiliar place, city, or country, then it could also trigger travel anxiety. Sometimes, hearing about negative experiences in an area can also trigger travel anxiety.

If we talk about anxiety disorders, then having a history of the same in the family could be a reason for you developing anxiety or travel anxiety. Yes, your genes can be responsible for your pre-travel jitters.

7 Tips To Overcome Travel Anxiety

Here’s how you can cope with travel anxiety, so your vacations remain worry-free!

1. Find The Cause

Identifying what triggers your travel anxiety can go a long way in helping you overcome your travel anxiety. When you know the cause of your anxiety, it becomes easier to manage them and get them under control.

Ask yourself what made you feel so anxious before traveling. Was it the flying? Being away from home? Being scared of the unknown ? Or FOMO about work?

2. Do Thorough Research

Once we know what we’re facing or when we know what to expect, anxious thoughts might lose some of the effects. It’s OK to feel out of control when you’re unaware of the circumstances, so do thorough research before traveling.

Read the reviews of the places you’ll be staying in, and the destinations you will be visiting, or talk to people who have already been there or live there. This will help you calm your anxious thoughts.

3. Plan Ahead

Before traveling, plan ahead of time so that there’s no fear of the unknown making you feel anxious. I understand that you can’t plan for everything , but planning can help you cover all the worst-scenario cases that your anxiety throws at you.

Try to book your accommodations beforehand, reserve the rentals, plan out an itinerary, schedule your transportation, keep a backup for your important documents, bring your self-care kit with you, etc.

4. Try Grounding Exercises

When we become anxious, it’s normal to spiral downwards and forget about the now . You can learn to stay in the present and not lose yourself in your worries by practicing grounding exercises . These exercises can help you soothe your worries and calm down your physical anxiety response.

Here are some quick grounding exercises you can try;

  • The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
  • EFT tapping
  • 1 or 2-minute mindfulness
  • Deep breathing
  • Fidget toys

5. Don’t Forget Self-Care

Traveling – planning and executing – can be exhausting and can make the negative and anxious thoughts worse. To prevent this, you can try your self-care routine. Now, you might wonder, “How can I practice self-care while traveling?”

Also Read: Best Self Care Ideas for a Healthy Mind Body & Soul

Well, I have some simple self-care tips you can try;

  • Quick meditation in the morning
  • Setting positive intentions
  • Deep breathing when stressed
  • Eating a comfort meal
  • Listening to music, or
  • Drinking a cup of hot tea

6. Listen To The Positive Thoughts

While the temptation to listen to anxious thoughts may be heavy, make sure you intentionally pay attention to the positive ones. Think about the most exciting activity you want to try on your trip. Remind yourself about the fun things you’ll be trying on your trip.

Also Reas: 30 Positive Self Affirmations On Your Wall To Keep You Going

Having anxiety does not mean that you can’t enjoy your travels. You can still enjoy your trip while struggling with anxiety. Just remember to acknowledge your feelings and actively try to manage them.

7. Talk To Someone

If you are struggling with anxiety before a trip, then you can talk to your support group or a loved one to express your concerns. A loved one or a support person can help you make sense of your thoughts and support your moments. You can also connect with your loved ones while on your trip.

If your anxiety becomes overwhelming, then you can talk to your therapist about it – either beforehand or during the trip. They can be a good source of support during anxious times.

Get 20% Off on Betterhelp Appointment

Traveling Can Be Fun…

Even if you struggle with anxiety. Travel anxiety is common, but not impossible to overcome. With the right coping skills and relaxation techniques, you can learn to overcome your travel anxiety and enjoy your trip worry-free.

Just keep the above tips in mind. Know your triggers, research beforehand, be ready for everything, and most importantly, don’t forget to give yourself some self-care time.

Traveling doesn’t have to be a source of discomfort anymore! I hope these tips will help you manage your pre-travel anxiety and soothe your anxiety while traveling.

For more, you can write to us at [email protected] or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments below.

Stay Safe and Happy Travels!

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About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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Passing Thru Travel

Passing Thru Travel

Wander Freely – 10 Proven Strategies to Tame Travel Anxiety

Posted: March 5, 2024 | Last updated: March 5, 2024

<p><strong>Travel, while exciting, can often be a source of anxiety for many. Whether it’s the stress of planning, fear of the unknown, or discomfort with changes in routine, travel anxiety is a shared experience. This guide offers practical strategies and tips to help nervous travelers manage their anxiety, ensuring a more comfortable and enjoyable</strong><strong> journey.</strong></p>

Travel, while exciting, can often be a source of anxiety for many. Whether it’s the stress of planning, fear of the unknown, or discomfort with changes in routine, travel anxiety is a shared experience. This guide offers practical strategies and tips to help nervous travelers manage their anxiety, ensuring a more comfortable and enjoyable journey.

<p><span>Effective pre-trip preparation is your first line of defense against travel anxiety. It involves creating a comprehensive plan to guide you through your journey. Start by thoroughly researching your destination. Understand the cultural norms, weather conditions, and local customs to avoid any surprises. Detailed planning of your itinerary, including accommodations, transportation, and activities, can significantly alleviate the stress of the unknown.</span></p> <p><span>Make a checklist of all the essentials you need to pack, considering the specific requirements of your destination. This level of preparation not only equips you with practical information but also gives you a sense of control over your trip, which is crucial in managing anxiety.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Consider using travel planning apps or tools to organize your itinerary, reservations, and packing lists. Having all your travel information in one place can simplify your planning process and reduce anxiety.</span></p>

1. Pre-Trip Preparation

Effective pre-trip preparation is your first line of defense against travel anxiety. It involves creating a comprehensive plan to guide you through your journey. Start by thoroughly researching your destination. Understand the cultural norms, weather conditions, and local customs to avoid any surprises. Detailed planning of your itinerary, including accommodations, transportation, and activities, can significantly alleviate the stress of the unknown.

Make a checklist of all the essentials you need to pack, considering the specific requirements of your destination. This level of preparation not only equips you with practical information but also gives you a sense of control over your trip, which is crucial in managing anxiety.

Insider’s Tip: Consider using travel planning apps or tools to organize your itinerary, reservations, and packing lists. Having all your travel information in one place can simplify your planning process and reduce anxiety.

<p><span>Flight anxiety is a common challenge among travelers, but there are effective strategies to manage it. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the flight process, from check-in to landing. Understanding what to expect can demystify the experience and reduce fear. During the flight, engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or calming music.</span></p> <p><span>These methods can help in managing panic attacks or general unease. If your anxiety is particularly intense, consult a healthcare professional before your trip to discuss the possibility of medication or other therapeutic options. Choosing the right seat can also make a difference; some travelers find that sitting in an aisle seat or near the front of the plane helps reduce discomfort.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Bring items that contribute to your comfort, such as a neck pillow, a cozy blanket, or noise-canceling headphones. Familiar and comforting items can make the flight experience more bearable.</span></p>

2. Managing Flight Anxiety

Flight anxiety is a common challenge among travelers, but there are effective strategies to manage it. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the flight process, from check-in to landing. Understanding what to expect can demystify the experience and reduce fear. During the flight, engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or calming music.

These methods can help in managing panic attacks or general unease. If your anxiety is particularly intense, consult a healthcare professional before your trip to discuss the possibility of medication or other therapeutic options. Choosing the right seat can also make a difference; some travelers find that sitting in an aisle seat or near the front of the plane helps reduce discomfort.

Insider’s Tip: Bring items that contribute to your comfort, such as a neck pillow, a cozy blanket, or noise-canceling headphones. Familiar and comforting items can make the flight experience more bearable.

<p><span>Booking your tickets and tours in advance is crucial in navigating peak-season travel. Many popular attractions offer online ticketing options that can save you from standing in long ticket lines. These pre-booked tickets often come with the added benefit of skip-the-line access, a valuable perk during busy times. This saves time and ensures your spot, as some attractions limit the number of visitors per day.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Look for combo tickets that offer access to multiple attractions or tours, as they often come with discounts and priority access.</span></p>

3. Coping with New Environments

Adjusting to new environments is a significant aspect of travel that can be overwhelming for anxious travelers. To ease this transition, start by choosing destinations that are not too far removed from your comfort zone. Gradually exposing yourself to new experiences can help build your confidence. Once you are at your destination, allow yourself time to acclimate to the new surroundings.

Try to maintain a routine similar to what you have at home, as this can provide a sense of familiarity and stability. Simple things like maintaining your regular sleep schedule or meal times can make a big difference in adjusting to the new environment.

Insider’s Tip: Create a personal sanctuary in your accommodation, such as arranging your toiletries in a familiar way or setting up a small area to relax that reminds you of home. This can create a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar setting.

<p><span>Long-term travel offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in diverse cultures and understand and respect local customs, traditions, and social etiquette. Investing time in learning about your destinations’ history and cultural nuances enriches your experience and fosters deeper connections with local communities.</span></p> <p><span>Language is a key to unlocking these cultural insights. While fluency is not necessary, knowing basic phrases makes daily interactions smoother and demonstrates respect for the local culture.</span></p> <p><span>Regular practice through language learning apps or local classes will enhance your confidence and ability to engage with locals more meaningfully.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Use language learning apps or take local language classes upon arrival to quickly pick up essential phrases.</span></p>

4. Dealing with Language Barriers

Language barriers can significantly contribute to travel anxiety. To mitigate this, invest time in learning basic phrases in the local language of your destination. This not only aids in essential communication but also demonstrates respect for the local culture.

In today’s digital age, technology can be a tremendous ally. Utilize language translation apps to help bridge communication gaps. These tools can translate signs, menus, and even spoken language in real-time, making navigation in a foreign country much less daunting.

Insider’s Tip: Remember that non-verbal communication like gestures can be incredibly effective when language barriers are challenging. A smile or a polite gesture often goes a long way in facilitating communication.

<p><span>After the trip, gather feedback to understand what aspects were successful and what could be improved for future group travels. This feedback is invaluable for refining your group travel planning and management approach. Organizing a post-trip get-together can be a great way to share stories, photos, and discuss the overall experience.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Organize a post-trip get-together to share stories, photos, and discuss the overall experience.</span></p>

5. Staying Connected

For many anxious travelers, staying connected with friends or family back home provides a crucial lifeline. Before departing, share your travel itinerary with someone you trust. This not only ensures your safety but also offers a sense of security, knowing that someone is aware of your whereabouts.

Regular check-ins via phone calls, texts, or social media can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide an opportunity to share experiences or seek support if needed.

Insider’s Tip: Consider setting specific times for check-ins to create a routine. This ensures regular communication and gives you something to look forward to, especially during longer trips.

<p><span>Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your travel routine can be a game-changer in managing anxiety. These practices help ground your thoughts, bring your focus to the present moment, and alleviate overwhelming feelings. Engage in mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or simple breathing exercises, especially during moments of high stress or panic.</span></p> <p><span>These techniques can be practiced anywhere, whether in your hotel room, on a flight, or exploring a new city. They help in calming the mind and reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Download a meditation or mindfulness app before your trip. Many of these apps offer guided sessions that can be particularly helpful for beginners or when you find it challenging to focus.</span></p>

6. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your travel routine can be a game-changer in managing anxiety. These practices help ground your thoughts, bring your focus to the present moment, and alleviate overwhelming feelings. Engage in mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or simple breathing exercises, especially during moments of high stress or panic.

These techniques can be practiced anywhere, whether in your hotel room, on a flight, or exploring a new city. They help in calming the mind and reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Insider’s Tip: Download a meditation or mindfulness app before your trip. Many of these apps offer guided sessions that can be particularly helpful for beginners or when you find it challenging to focus.

<p><span>Beginning your day early is a strategic move to avoid crowds, especially at popular tourist sites. Attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the Vatican Museums are significantly less crowded in the early morning, allowing you a more peaceful and intimate experience.</span></p> <p><span>This approach helps you avoid the midday rush and lets you witness these sites in the soft light of morning, which can be a magical experience. Additionally, starting early means cooler temperatures during the summer months, making your exploration more comfortable.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Check if the attraction offers sunrise tours or early bird tickets for an even quieter experience.</span></p>

7. Healthy Habits

Maintaining healthy habits is crucial, especially when traveling. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and dehydration can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Prioritize getting enough rest, even if it means adjusting your itinerary to include downtime. Eat balanced meals and stay hydrated, particularly if you’re in a different climate or at a higher altitude. Be cautious with caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can affect your mood and sleep patterns.

Insider’s Tip: Carry a reusable water bottle and healthy snacks like nuts or fruit. This ensures you have access to hydration and nourishment throughout your travels, helping maintain your energy levels and mood.

<p><span>If travel anxiety significantly impacts your life, seeking professional help is important. A therapist or counselor specializing in anxiety disorders can provide you with effective strategies and tools to manage your anxiety.</span></p> <p><span>They can offer support in understanding the root causes of your anxiety and developing coping mechanisms that work for you. This step can be crucial in transforming your travel experiences from stressful to enjoyable.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Look for therapists who offer teletherapy sessions, so you can continue your therapy while traveling if needed. This can provide continuity in care and support.</span></p>

8. Seeking Professional Help

If travel anxiety significantly impacts your life, seeking professional help is important. A therapist or counselor specializing in anxiety disorders can provide you with effective strategies and tools to manage your anxiety.

They can offer support in understanding the root causes of your anxiety and developing coping mechanisms that work for you. This step can be crucial in transforming your travel experiences from stressful to enjoyable.

Insider’s Tip: Look for therapists who offer teletherapy sessions, so you can continue your therapy while traveling if needed. This can provide continuity in care and support.

<p><span>June in Machu Picchu demands layers since it can be quite chilly, and researching trekking routes enhances the experience. The tranquility of Machu Picchu in the afternoon is a unique privilege. Whether a one-day trek or a more extended adventure, the beauty lies in savoring every moment spent taking in breathtaking landscapes and ancient history.</span></p> <p><span>More Articles Like This…</span></p> <p><a href=""><span>Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs</span></a></p> <p><a href=""><span>2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities</span></a></p> <p><a href=""><span>Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand</span></a></p> <p><span>The post <a href="">Unveiling the Beauty of Machu Picchu – A Memorable Day in Peru’s Iconic Wonder</a> republished on </span><a href=""><span>Passing Thru</span></a><span> with permission from </span><a href=""><span>The Green Voyage</span></a><span>.</span></p> <p><span>Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / MarinaTP.</span></p>

9. Joining Travel Groups

Traveling in a group can sometimes alleviate the stress of managing all aspects of travel alone. Group travel provides a sense of security and can be particularly comforting for anxious travelers. Consider joining a travel group or planning a trip with friends or family. Being in the company of others can provide a support system and make the travel experience more enjoyable.

Insider’s Tip: Choose a travel group or companions that understand your anxiety and are supportive. Traveling with people who are patient and empathetic to your needs is important.

<p><span>Embracing the travel experience, including the challenges it brings, is part of overcoming travel anxiety. Accept that it’s normal to feel anxious and that each trip is an opportunity to confront and manage these feelings. Celebrate small victories like navigating a new city or managing a panic attack. Remember that travel is not just about the destination; it’s also about personal growth and overcoming your fears.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Keep a travel journal to document your experiences, feelings, and how you dealt with anxiety. Reflecting on these entries can provide insight into your progress and encourage you on future trips.</span></p>

10. Embracing the Experience

Embracing the travel experience, including the challenges it brings, is part of overcoming travel anxiety. Accept that it’s normal to feel anxious and that each trip is an opportunity to confront and manage these feelings. Celebrate small victories like navigating a new city or managing a panic attack. Remember that travel is not just about the destination; it’s also about personal growth and overcoming your fears.

Insider’s Tip: Keep a travel journal to document your experiences, feelings, and how you dealt with anxiety. Reflecting on these entries can provide insight into your progress and encourage you on future trips.

<p><span>Travel anxiety is a common challenge, but it doesn’t have to limit your exploration of the world. By preparing adequately, employing coping strategies, and gradually pushing your comfort zone, you can manage your anxiety and enjoy the enriching experiences that travel offers. Remember, each journey is a step towards becoming a more confident and relaxed traveler.</span></p> <p><span>Acknowledge your anxiety, but also recognize the strength it takes to face it. Every trip you embark on is a testament to your resilience. With each journey, you’ll find yourself growing more adept at navigating travel challenges.</span></p> <p><span>More Articles Like This…</span></p> <p><a href=""><span>Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs</span></a></p> <p><a href=""><span>2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities</span></a></p> <p><a href=""><span>Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand</span></a></p> <p><span>The post <a href="">Wander Freely – 10 Proven Strategies to Tame Travel Anxiety</a> republished on </span><a href=""><span>Passing Thru</span></a><span> with permission from </span><a href=""><span>The Green Voyage</span></a><span>.</span></p> <p><span>Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Soloviova Liudmyla.</span></p> <p><span>For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.</span></p>

The Bottom Line

Travel anxiety is a common challenge, but it doesn’t have to limit your exploration of the world. By preparing adequately, employing coping strategies, and gradually pushing your comfort zone, you can manage your anxiety and enjoy the enriching experiences that travel offers. Remember, each journey is a step towards becoming a more confident and relaxed traveler.

Acknowledge your anxiety, but also recognize the strength it takes to face it. Every trip you embark on is a testament to your resilience. With each journey, you’ll find yourself growing more adept at navigating travel challenges.

More Articles Like This…

Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs

2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities

Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand

The post Wander Freely – 10 Proven Strategies to Tame Travel Anxiety republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage .

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Soloviova Liudmyla.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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What Is Anxiety? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Lindsey Konkel

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry that typically occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. It differs from fear, which is the body’s natural response to immediate danger.

Anxiety is part of the body’s natural reaction to stress, so it can be helpful at times, making you more alert and ready for action.

Anxiety disorders and normal feelings of anxiousness are two different things. Many of us get anxious when faced with particular situations we find stressful, but if those feelings don’t subside, the anxiety could be more chronic. When feelings of fear or nervousness become excessive or difficult to control, or interfere with daily life, an anxiety disorder may be present. Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions in the United States.

It’s common to think about anxiety in a way that may hinder our ability to overcome it. “The biggest misconception about anxiety is that it’s to be feared and avoided at all costs,” says  Noah Clyman , the director of NYC Cognitive Therapy, a private psychotherapy practice in New York City.

“I teach my clients that negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, and fear, are important to our survival, and emotional discomfort is a very normal, universal human experience,” he says.

Common Questions & Answers

Self-care tips for anxiety.


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Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Your heart beats fast, and your breathing speeds up. Your chest may feel tight, and you might start to sweat. If you’ve ever felt it, you know that anxiety is just as much a physical state as a mental state. That’s because there’s a very strong biological chain reaction that occurs when we encounter a stressful event or begin to worry about potential stressors or dangers in the future. Other physical symptoms include headaches and  insomnia . Psychological symptoms may include feeling restless or tense, having a feeling of dread, or experiencing ruminative or obsessive thoughts.

Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Feelings of apprehension
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Irritability
  • Tremors or twitches
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Nausea or upset stomach

When Should I Seek Treatment?

When the symptoms of anxiety and the associated behaviors are having a detrimental impact on your well-being and day-to-day functioning, it’s important to get help.

Suma Chand, PhD , the director of the cognitive behavioral therapy program at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, says a person who has  panic disorder  is “very avoidant of many situations that could trigger [their] panic symptoms,” and the panic disorder is likely impacting their ability to go to work regularly, go shopping, attend church, and the like. The ability to function while in these situations is negatively impacted as well. If you’re avoiding situations that trigger your anxiety, or you experience tremendous discomfort and can’t function effectively when you’re in those situations, it’s probably a good time to seek treatment.

Learn More About Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Causes and Risk Factors of Anxiety Disorders

Researchers think that various factors may contribute to anxiety. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the likelihood that they’ll develop an anxiety disorder, notes Dr. Chand.

  • Family history  Having a family member with anxiety increases the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder. Although this may suggest genetic transmission, Chand explains that “there is also the possibility of learning anxious responses from family members with anxiety.”
  • Temperaments of behavioral inhibition, negative affectivity, and anxiety sensitivity  Starting in infancy, according to Chand, people with a temperament of behavioral inhibition have heightened reactions to new and different situations and stimuli. This tendency may lead them to withdraw from new or unfamiliar social situations as they grow older. Negative affectivity is the tendency to experience negative emotions, while anxiety sensitivity means you’re inclined to believe that symptoms of anxiety are harmful.
  • Traumatic events  Children who have endured abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual) or other traumatic experiences are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. Adults exposed to traumatic experiences can also develop overwhelming anxiety.
  • Drug or alcohol  use, misuse, or withdrawal can cause anxiety.
  • Brain structure  Changes in the areas that regulate stress and anxiety may contribute to the disorder.

An author of the study,  Koraly Perez-Edgar, PhD , a professor of psychology at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, says that this focus on threat may be one way that anxiety begins to take hold.

“Individuals who attend to aspects of the environment that they consider threatening can potentially create a cycle that strengthens biases toward threat, as well as toward the view that the environment is threatening, which can then lead to social withdrawal and anxiety,” she says.

“People can learn to be anxious in various situations,” says  Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD , a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

“This can occur through experiences in which anxiety or fear becomes associated with a specific stimulus or a stressful or traumatic event, by learning about something fearful, and through vicarious conditioning,” he says.

Vicarious conditioning, says Dr. Abramowitz, occurs when you watch someone else experience a stressful and traumatic event — like food poisoning or being bitten by a dog — and come to see certain situations as dangerous.

Learn More About Causes of Anxiety Disorders: Common Risk Factors, Genetics, and More

How Is Anxiety Diagnosed?

When you visit your healthcare provider, you can expect that your doctor or nurse will ask you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and order lab tests to rule out other health problems. If tests don’t reveal any other conditions, your doctor will likely refer you to a  psychiatrist  or psychologist to make a diagnosis.

A mental health professional will identify the specific type of anxiety disorder that’s causing your symptoms. They’ll also look for any other mental health conditions that you may be experiencing, including depression.

The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

What is agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia is often comorbid with panic disorder — meaning people often suffer from both conditions at the same time. It’s an intense fear of not being able to escape whatever place you’re in if you were to have a panic attack or an embarrassing experience such as incontinence, and it can often lead to an avoidance of leaving the house. People with agoraphobia can fear situations where this anxiety might flare up and typically don’t feel comfortable or safe in public, crowded places.

Learn More About Agoraphobia

What Are Some Other Phobia-Related Disorders?

What is generalized anxiety disorder (gad).

Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition in which your worries about a wide range of things overwhelm you to the point where your daily routine may be difficult to carry out, and you have been worrying this way for at least six months. You may feel on edge and have difficulty focusing on tasks. There may be a tendency to fear and expect the worst; some call this catastrophic thinking. You may know that your worries are perhaps irrational, but you continue to worry.

Learn More About Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What Is Panic Disorder?

Everyone has probably experienced a feeling of panic, or something like it, at least once in their lifetime: on a disturbingly turbulent airplane, or before giving an important presentation, or after realizing you hit reply all when you really, really should not have. We all know the paralyzed feeling and the heightened physical sensations. But panic attacks and panic disorder take a different shape. Panic attacks have many physical symptoms and tend to peak around 10 minutes and may last for 30 or more. Panic disorder is diagnosed by having recurrent, unexpected panic frequency of these attacks, along with unhelpful changes in behavior and/or the fear of having them.

Learn More About Panic Disorder

What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Many of us may know what it feels like to be nervous before a party or when meeting new people or making an important phone call. Those with  social anxiety disorder  have very intense versions of those fears — intense fears of being judged by others that trigger intense distress and may cause them to avoid those kinds of situations. For most people, fears of social situations usually subside once the intimidating event has been faced. But in social anxiety disorder, these feelings are more pervasive and usually last for at least six months.

Learn More About Social Anxiety Disorder

Duration of Anxiety

It is possible to manage anxiety with therapy or medication, or through a combination of therapy and medication. It may also be helpful to reexamine your relationship with your anxiety.

According to Clyman, “You might start to consider your emotions as changing experiences that are always fluctuating. When we feel distressed, it can seem like the distress is going to go on and on forever until we emotionally combust. But instead, emotions act more like a wave, at times increasing and becoming more intense. Inevitably, they’ll reach a plateau, subsiding and finally passing.”

Treatment and Medication Options for Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are treated through medication and therapy. You might feel embarrassed talking about the things you are feeling and thinking, but talking about it, say experts, is the best treatment.

A particular form of therapy has the most research support: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, which offers patients strategies to help change the negative thought patterns that have reinforced their anxiety.

The types of medication most frequently used to  treat depression  are the drugs that also work best for anxiety disorders.  Anti-anxiety medications  are also used.

What Are the Most Common Types of Treatment for Anxiety?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach in  treating anxiety , but the most common methods are a combination of medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy).

Medication Options

There are dozens of drugs that can be prescribed to treat anxiety. Since each person responds to medication differently, there’s no one drug that works perfectly for everyone. You may have to work with a psychiatrist to find the medication, or the combination of medicines, that’s most beneficial to you. The drugs that are used to treat anxiety over a long period of time are antidepressants, which affect  serotonin ,  norepinephrine , and other  neurotransmitters  in the brain.

Learn More About Medications for Treating Anxiety Disorders

What Are Some Anxiety-Relieving Techniques?

In addition to medication and therapy, exercise can be helpful.  Aerobic exercise  “has been found to improve mood and anxiety by releasing  endorphins  and neurotransmitters such as  dopamine  and serotonin,” says Chand, adding that “regular moderate exercise also helps with sleep, which in turn has a beneficial impact on anxiety.”

Research suggests that yoga, meditation, and acupuncture may also reduce anxiety symptoms by  reducing stress . Anecdotal evidence, notes Chand, indicates that massage therapy may be helpful in improving a sense of overall well-being.

More scientific evidence is needed to support treating anxiety disorders with aromatherapy and essential plant oils, such as  lavender , but some people find they have a calming effect. Chand points out that certain scents work better for some people than others, so it’s good to try a variety.

Learn More About Treatment for Anxiety: Medication, Therapy, and Complementary Techniques

Prevention of Anxiety

According to Chand, here are some important ways to prevent the development of an anxiety disorder:

  • Build a repertoire of stress management strategies, such as: break tasks down into manageable steps, plan and schedule tasks and activities in a flexible manner, and delegate and share responsibilities instead of taking on everything yourself. Routinely incorporate meditation and relaxation practices into your life to keep stress at bay.
  • Good relationships and a social support system act as a protective force. Build interpersonal and communication skills to reduce stress associated with social interactions, which can sometimes be challenging.
  • Create a healthy lifestyle with good  sleep hygiene , healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and self-care.
  • Develop coping skills geared toward facing rather than avoiding stressful problems. Use of problem-solving coping skills has been found to be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.
  • A more optimistic outlook can be achieved consciously by recognizing skewed negative thinking and establishing a more balanced perspective. The earlier this is done, the more likely it will help with prevention of anxiety disorders.

Good mental health education is also vital, says Chand. “While several steps can be taken to prevent mental health problems, people often feel helpless when they’re not armed with information. Mental health education paves the way for a society that is more mentally healthy. Early mental health education starting in schools would be ideal,” she says, adding that the initiation of such programs has yielded positive results.

Can My Diet Affect Anxiety?

Dietary changes are no substitute for treatment, but what you eat can indeed have an effect on your anxiety levels.

Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can worsen feelings of anxiety.

Learn More About Anxiety and Diet

Complications of Prolonged Anxiety

Research and statistics: how many people have anxiety disorders and when do symptoms tend to start.

Many people first develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder during childhood. Some anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias and social anxiety disorder, are more likely to develop in childhood or the teenage years, while others, such as generalized anxiety disorder, are more likely to start in young adulthood.

Are Anxiety Disorders More Common in Women?

What is known for sure, says  Beth Salcedo, MD , a past board president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of American (ADAA), “is that more often than not, women definitely experience an uptick in anxiety before  menstruation , around  perimenopause , and after giving birth.”

How Common Are Anxiety Disorders in Children and Teens?

Anxiety disorders and black and asian americans, conditions related to anxiety.

Anxiety often coexists with other chronic health conditions, including:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic migraine

Depression and How It Relates to Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are different disorders, but it’s very common for someone with an anxiety disorder to suffer from depression, too.

If you have both anxiety and depression, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Decreased energy and increased fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Apprehension

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety

While obsessive-compulsive disorder is no longer officially classified by the American Psychological Association as an anxiety disorder, it shares many traits with common anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder. In both conditions, you may know that your thoughts are irrational, but you feel unable to stop thinking them. Often, but not always, these thoughts may concern cleanliness, sex, religion, or a fear of causing harm.

With obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may also think you need to carry out certain actions in order to relieve anxiety or prevent something bad from happening. For instance, you might not be able to leave the house without locking all the doors and checking all the appliances — multiple times. And the compulsion to carry out those actions may make it difficult to get through your day.

Learn More About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Resources We Trust

  • Mayo Clinic:  Mayo Clinic Q and A: Understanding High-Functioning Anxiety
  • Cleveland Clinic:  Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • American Psychiatric Association: Anxiety Disorders
  • National Institute of Mental Health: Generalized Anxiety Disorder: When Worry Gets Out of Control
  • Anxiety & Depression Association of America:  Managing Stress and Anxiety

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

Everyday Health follows strict sourcing guidelines to ensure the accuracy of its content, outlined in our editorial policy . We use only trustworthy sources, including peer-reviewed studies, board-certified medical experts, patients with lived experience, and information from top institutions.

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  • What Are Anxiety Disorders?  American Psychiatric Association . June 2021.
  • Specific Phobias.  Anxiety and Depression Association of America . March 6, 2023.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Symptoms and Causes.  Mayo Clinic . May 4, 2018.
  • Anxiety Disorders.  Cleveland Clinic . December 17, 2020.
  • Coping With Anxiety: Can Diet Make a Difference?  Mayo Clinic . May 24, 2017.
  • Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety.  Harvard Health Publishing . August 28, 2019.
  • Pain, Anxiety, and Depression. Harvard Health Publishing . September 16, 2021.
  • Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates [PDF].  World Health Organization . 2017.
  • Statistics: Any Anxiety Disorder.  National Institute of Mental Health .
  • Remes O, Brayne C, van der Linde R, Lafortune L. A Systematic Review of Reviews on the Prevalence of Anxiety Disorders in Adult Populations.  Brain and Behavior . July 2016.
  • Anxiety Disorders.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health . February 17, 2021.
  • Andreano JM, Dickerson BC, Barrett LF. Sex Differences in the Persistence of the Amygdala Response to Negative Material.  Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience . September 2014.
  • Van Wingen GA, van Broekhoven F, Verkes RJ, et al. Progesterone Selectively Increases Amygdala Reactivity in Women.  Molecular Psychiatry . March 2008.
  • Clark T. Nervous Nellies.  Slate . April 20, 2011.
  • Platt J, Prins S, Bates L, Keyes, K. Unequal Depression for Equal Work? How the Wage Gap Explains Gendered Disparities in Mood Disorders.  Social Science & Medicine .  January 2016.
  • Anxiety Disorders.  Boston Children’s Hospital .
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in Children and Teens.  Stanford Medicine Children’s Health .
  • Childhood Anxiety Disorders.  Anxiety and Depression Association of America . September 2015.
  • Vanderminden J, Esala JJ. Beyond Symptoms: Race and Gender Predict Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis. Society and Mental Health . March 2019.
  • Anxiety Disorders — Facts and Statistics.  Anxiety and Depression Association of America . October 28, 2022.
  • Bittner A, Goodwin RD, Wittchen H-U, et al. What Characteristics of Primary Anxiety Disorders Predict Subsequent Major Depressive Disorder?  The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry . May 2004.
  • Lamers F, van Oppen P, Comijs HC, et al. Comorbidity Patterns of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders in a Large Cohort Study: The Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry . March 2011.
  • Meier SM, Petersen L, Mattheisen M, et al. Secondary Depression in Severe Anxiety Disorders: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Denmark. The Lancet Psychiatry . June 2015.
  • Anxiety Disorders.  National Alliance on Mental Illness . December 2017.

Clear vs TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry: What's Worth Your Money?

Clear, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are all competing for your time and money at airports.

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It all used to be so simple when you went to the airport. You'd just get there a bit ahead of time, make your way through security, board your flight and head to your destination. Now, though, we're constantly confronted with choices like airline points, rewards credit cards, and a whole mess of services to sign up for that are supposed to save you time at the airport, like TSA PreCheck, Clear and Global Entry. 

But what exactly are each of these services, what do they cost, and what do they actually save you? It's hard to keep track, especially when it feels like something new pops up every time you fly. 

So, let's break it down, piece by piece, to determine what — if anything — is worth it for you between Clear, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

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Clear vs TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry: What's the Difference?

These three services offer different values at different touchpoints along the flying experience. We'll review them in chronological order based on when you'd encounter each. 

Clear: Clear is essentially a company ( YOU ) that uses biometrics for security clearances. When you get a Clear membership, the machines take scans of your eyes and fingerprints as ways to subsequently identify you. 

So, if you have Clear, when you walk into an airport and get to the TSA security checkpoint, you can go to a Clear security line. At that line, you'll reach Clear-branded machines that scan your boarding pass and eyes or fingerprints to identify you. Once you're identified, a Clear employee will escort you to the front of the security line, bypassing non-Clear members. 

You then have to go through TSA, as in put your carry-on bags through the X-ray machine and walk through a screener yourself. You will still have to do things like take your laptop out of a bag and take your shoes off. 

Main benefit of Clear: Bypass the line at the start of TSA security screening. 

TSA PreCheck: Now, if taking off your shoes is an annoyance, TSA PreCheck is what you're looking for. Unlike Clear, TSA PreCheck is a government program run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

If you have TSA PreCheck, when you walk into an airport and get to the TSA security checkpoint, you can go to a TSA PreCheck security line. Unlike with Clear, you will have to wait on that line until you reach the TSA agent who will check your boarding pass and ID. You may even see Clear members getting escorted to basically "cut" you in line to reach that agent. Although it is still typically a faster-moving line than if you have neither, since it's a line only for PreCheck members and because people move through security more quickly with PreCheck.

But TSA PreCheck has the upper hand vs Clear once you pass the TSA agent. When going through security with PreCheck, you do not have to make certain efforts like taking off your jacket and shoes or removing a laptop from a valise. You can also typically walk through the easier metal detectors rather than standing at attention at the newer body scanners. 

Main benefit of TSA PreCheck: Less hassle getting yourself and your bags through security. 

Global Entry: Now, Global Entry doesn't kick in until you've returned to the U.S. from an international destination. Global Entry, like TSA PreCheck, is run by the government — this time, by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

You know when you finally land after your long-haul flight and all you want to do is get home, but first you're confronted with a massive line at passport control? This is where Global Entry comes into play.

If you have Global Entry, you can go to a specific Global Entry lane at passport control. There, rather than talking to an agent, you can typically use a machine by yourself to get clearance into the U.S. Like Clear, the machine will take a photo to confirm your identity. Once cleared, the machine prints a receipt you can take to an agent to approve the process and let you through. 

Main benefit of Global Entry: Skip long lines at passport control when reentering the United States. 

In sum: Clear gets you to the front of the security line; PreCheck gets you through security, and Global Entry gets you home from abroad more quickly. 

Clear vs TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry: Applications and costs

Clear application: Sign up online or at a Clear station at the airport for Clear Plus. You will have to do your biometric screening the first time you visit a Clear station after signing up. Smile! 

Clear cost: $189 annually for an individual. You can also pay $189 annually and add up to three adults (family or friends) for $99 each under the Family plan. 

Clear discounts: Certain airline rewards programs (through United and Delta) offer discounts or free memberships to Clear, depending on your status with the airline. Some credit cards (primarily through American Express) also get you free Clear Plus membership. 

TSA PreCheck application: Submit an application online or at an enrollment location. The TSA says most applications are approved in three to five days, but some can take up to 60 days. As part of the approval process, you'll have to go to an in-person appointment at an enrollment location where, like with Clear, TSA will collect your fingerprints and photo. You will also pay for your membership at the in-person appointment.

After you're approved, you'll get a Known Traveler Number that you can file with your airline rewards profile and/or submit any time you book a flight. That will make it so that your boarding pass says "TSA PreCheck" on it. 

TSA PreCheck cost: The first-time cost depends on the enrollment provider you end up with. If it's Telos, it's $85; if it's Idemia, it's $78. You can also — don't get too confused now — enroll with Clear, in which case it's $77.95. These memberships last five years, and renewals range from $70-78, depending on the enrollment provider. 

TSA PreCheck discounts: Some travel rewards credit cards will reimburse you the cost of TSA PreCheck. 

TSA PreCheck + Clear bundle: You can also get Clear and PreCheck together. The bundle for both currently costs $199.95. Do you need both? Theoretically, getting both can speed up your time through security as it means you can skip the line (Clear) and not take off your shoes (PreCheck). The bundle makes Clear cost less for the first year of membership and can also save you some hassle in signing up for and renewing both memberships.

Airplane flying above tropical trees

Global Entry application: You can apply online . CBP will conduct a review and background check, and if accepted, you will have to schedule an interview at an enrollment center. Like with PreCheck, this is an in-person appointment to finalize your enrollment. 

Global Entry cost: There is a $100 one-time fee for your application. The membership lasts five years, and then you have to renew it. After this October, the price will increase to $120. 

Global Entry + TSA PreCheck: One important benefit: If you are approved for Global Entry, you also get PreCheck. So, you would not have to pay for both . You do have to remember, though, to include your Known Traveler Number when booking flights to get the PreCheck tag on your boarding pass and thus access that security line. 

Clear vs TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry: How to choose

It's important to note these programs are all largely for American citizens and largely function at U.S. airports.

There are some other limitations. These services are not currently present at every airport in the U.S. If you are considering signing up for one of them, you should check to see if the airport you use the most offers it. Clear is available at over 50 airports (it's also used at some event venues), see list here . TSA PreCheck is available at over 200 airports, see list here . For Global Entry, see list here . 

Figuring out what works for you may take some evidence gathering. 

Global Entry is the most cost-effective of these options, but if you don't travel internationally very much, it may not save you all that much time. In fact, the TSA recommends PreCheck over Global Entry if you fly internationally less than four times per year. You may also get familiar with how long the passport lines are at your typical home airport. If you've never gotten stuck on a passport line, you may not need Global Entry. CBP also recently put out the Mobile Passport Control app , which also serves to save you time upon your return to the U.S. — for free. 

If you often run late to the airport, Clear could save you tons of time, stress and missed flights. However, with more and more people joining, the lines for Clear are getting longer at some airports. Anecdotally speaking, I've been to airports where the Clear line is longer than TSA PreCheck or even the regular security line. In fact, my Clear membership is up for renewal this month and I decided to let it lapse due to this phenomenon. 

If you don't like the hassle at security, TSA PreCheck would be valuable. Personally, I find this one the most useful of the three. TSA PreCheck security lines are often shorter and move much faster than regular security lines, and I appreciate not having to unload my backpack to go through security. You should note, though, that you also don't have to remove your shoes if you're over 75, per TSA rules . 

That said, if you can get one of these services for free through a rewards program, go for it. You can always choose which security line to go on based on what's shortest when you get there. 

There is one more important caveat here: Many people have privacy and security concerns over, say, giving your biometric information to a private company or allowing the government programs more oversight in the name of saving a few minutes at the airport. The Washington Post recently reported on privacy concerns around Clear, while The Verge recently discussed TSA PreCheck and government surveillance. What you're comfortable with is your personal choice. 

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Alexandra Svokos is the senior digital editor of Kiplinger. She holds an MBA from NYU Stern in finance and management and a BA in economics and creative writing from Columbia University. Alexandra has a decade of experience in journalism and previously served as the senior editor of digital for ABC News, where she directed daily news coverage across topics through major events of the early 2020s for the network's website, including stock market trends, the remote and return-to-work revolutions, and the national economy. Before that, she pioneered politics and election coverage for Elite Daily and went on to serve as the senior news editor for that group. 

Alexandra was recognized with an "Up & Comer" award at the 2018 Folio: Top Women in Media awards, and she was asked twice by the Nieman Journalism Lab to contribute to their annual journalism predictions feature. She has also been asked to speak on panels and give presentations on the future of media and on business and media, including by the Center for Communication and Twipe. 

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what is pre travel anxiety

How flights to nowhere can help 'lessen the anxiety' for travelers with autism

what is pre travel anxiety

  • Breeze Airways hosted a boarding demonstration for travelers with autism on April 30.
  • The exercise was part of Breeze’s partnership with Autism Double-Checked, an organization that aims to make travel more streamlined for travelers on the autism spectrum.
  • The airline said they hope to provide more notice for future events.

“Accessible Travel” is a six-part series focusing on the travel industry’s preparedness to welcome travelers with disabilities. If you'd like to contribute to our future reporting and share your experience as a source, you can click here to fill out this quick form .

PROVO, Utah ― Breeze Airways ’ flight 9951 to Provo, Utah, on April 30 was a lot like any other flight: all the pre-departure announcements were made in the gate area, passengers boarded by zone, the flight attendants gave their safety demonstration, snacks were served – the whole nine yards. But the plane never left the ground.

That’s because flight 9951 was a different kind of trip for the passengers and staff onboard.

“We don’t fly much in general, and with them, we’ve been intimidated by the process,” passenger Travis Hoki said pointing to his son. “Max is doing well, and we figured this group would be understanding if he’s loud and crazy.” 

Max, Hoki’s 3-year-old son, has autism, and flight 9951 was designed for travelers like him to get familiarized with air travel.

“It’s an opportunity to do something that’s just so meaningful for a group of travelers that, in many cases, wouldn’t be travelers if it weren’t for this type of event,” said Breeze Airways’ President Tom Doxey. “When you can do an event like this, and especially if it’s in a smaller community … it’s even more meaningful.” 

The boarding demonstration on April 30 was Breeze's third such exercise, but it was the airline's first in Provo. The previous two took place in Hartford, Connecticut.

The exercise is part of Breeze’s partnership with Autism Double-Checked , an organization that aims to make travel more streamlined for travelers on the autism spectrum.

“From a passenger point of view, this isn’t a one-and-done,” Alan Day, co-founder and CEO of Autism Double-Checked, told USA TODAY. He said many travelers with autism take a long time to feel comfortable in new environments and exercises like the Breeze boarding demonstration are just one way they can get more familiar with how air travel operates.

“The goal is to make it blend together so it becomes seamless,” Day added.

The gate area in Provo was crowded and a little rowdy as guests waited for the exercise to start. Many of the participants knew each other from specialized schools in the area or from parent networks. In many ways it was like any other flight – kids played with toys and ran around the terminal before boarding began.

Onboard, the scene was a little louder than on an average trip. People were chatty and excited on the plane. They may not have observed the seatbelt sign as closely as they would have needed to on a real flight, but overall the experience was pretty authentic.

Breeze flight attendants received training in how to interact with autistic passengers. The crewmembers who participated in the exercise on April 30 all did so as volunteers on their own time.

Their training included practical advice for making travel easier for those with autism, such as closing the bins more softly to avoid making a sudden or unexpected noise.

Although the plane remained on the ground, passengers onboard had the full flight experience. Flight attendants checked to ensure everyone was buckled up after the boarding door closed and came around with snacks. The pilot made an announcement about estimated flight time (5 minutes, although the flight got to the gate early), and the cabin crew passed through the aisles again before arrival to collect trash.

One passenger excitedly noted to USA TODAY that she had never flown before, and it was her first time using airplane mode on her phone on an actual airplane.

For participants, the experience meant future travel would be easier.

'Moment of panic:' Disabled traveler's video went viral. She hopes it helps others in her situation.

Breeze and Autism Double Checked advertised the event through local neurodiversity groups and institutions, and said they often partner closely with the host city to get the word out. Spokespeople for the airline said this first event in Provo came together pretty quickly and that advertising was a “grassroots effort” that happened mostly through word of mouth, but that they hope to provide more notice for future events. Some prospective participants heard about the April 30 demonstration too close to the start, so there’s already interest in a repeat.

“We’re getting ready to go on a big family reunion trip this summer,” Kohleen Jones, whose sons Miles, 8, and Alden, 5, both have autism, told USA TODAY. “When we heard of this we were immediately like, ‘we should take advantage of this.’ ”

Both boys even brought practice carry-on luggage in preparation for their trip, and Jones said the exercise was a chance for her kids to ask questions and see what flying is like.

“Just to practice to lessen the anxiety when we’re actually going on our real trip,” she said.

The Hoki family felt the same way.

“We’ve wanted to take our kids on a plane but have felt intimidated,” Lindsey Hoki told USA TODAY. “We saw it, and we were very excited.” 

In addition to the boarding exercises, Breeze Airways has made ongoing commitments to be more supportive of travelers with autism. As part of their partnership with Autism Double-Checked, they will publish a travel guide and institute an autism concierge helpline so travelers have a point person to reach out to for accommodations ahead of their trips. They’ll also begin accepting the organization’s autism passport, a document that travelers can fill out once and submit to any participating travel company. It contains information about the specifics of their condition and what kind of accommodations they may need.

“This should be commonplace,” Day said. “We want to make the special, commonplace.” 

The reporter on this story received access to this event from Breeze Airways. USA TODAY maintains editorial control of content.  

Have you, or someone you know, had issues with accessibility while traveling? What happened?

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected].

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more .

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Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep

You're not doomed to toss and turn every night. Consider simple tips for better sleep, from setting a sleep schedule to including physical activity in your daily routine.

Many factors can interfere with a good night's sleep — from work stress and family responsibilities to illnesses. It's no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive.

You might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep. However, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep. Start with these simple tips.

1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don't need more than eight hours in bed to be well rested.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle.

If you don't fall asleep within about 20 minutes of going to bed, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you're tired. Repeat as needed, but continue to maintain your sleep schedule and wake-up time.

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don't go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Discomfort might keep you up.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can interfere with sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

3. Create a restful environment

Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light in the evenings might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.

4. Limit daytime naps

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. Limit naps to no more than one hour and avoid napping late in the day.

However, if you work nights, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.

5. Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. However, avoid being active too close to bedtime.

Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.

6. Manage worries

Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.

Know when to contact your health care provider

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. However, if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your health care provider. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

  • Mayo Clinic Minute: Sleep Spoiler - Tips for a Good Night's Rest

Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D.: When you don't sleep well, bad things happen.

Vivien Williams: Dr. Virend Somers is a cardiologist who studies sleep.

Dr. Somers: Sleep is very much a multidisciplinary specialty for good reason because sleep affects all the organs of the body.

Vivien Williams: Poor sleep may increase your risk of conditions such as heart disease, obesity, depression, dementia. And it even affects how you look. Dr. Somers offers the following tips: Avoid alcohol and big meals before bed; don't exercise right before bed; and turn off all screens, including your smartphone, an hour before bed.

Dr. Somers: We've got bright lights all over the place, and then we switch the lights off, we lie in bed and expect to sleep. The bedroom, the bed is for sex and sleep. It's not for spreadsheets, it's not for watching TV.

Vivien Williams: He also suggests keeping your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. Healthy sleep for a healthy life. For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.

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  • Winkelman JW. Overview of the treatment of insomnia in adults. Accessed April 11, 2022.
  • Sleep deprivation and deficiency: Healthy sleep habits. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed April 11, 2022.
  • Healthy sleep habits. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Accessed April 11, 2022.
  • Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed April 11, 2022.
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  2. RV Travels update on my travel anxiety! #rvlife #mentalhealth #healing


  1. 5 tips to ease pre-travel anxiety

    Don't skip the self-care activities. Just because you may think you're in a time crunch the week before a trip, build in time for exercise. Physical activity is a great way to manage stress. Pamper yourself. A haircut or a manicure may be an important part of your pre-travel preparation to help you de-stress.

  2. What Causes Travel Anxiety and How to Overcome It

    Some common causes of travel anxiety include: Fear of flying. One of the most common issues in people who have travel anxiety is the fear of flying. This fear might be triggered by: Air turbulence ...

  3. Travel Anxiety: Signs, Tips, Prevention, and More I Psych Central

    Travel anxiety — aka vacation anxiety — is a feeling of worry or fear that occurs in relation to traveling. Having travel anxiety can make planning and going on trips difficult. Just the idea ...

  4. How To Manage Travel Anxiety

    Maybe take a nap, read a book for an hour or try doing yoga or meditation to slow your thought process and come back to your original reasons for why you're on vacation. "Maybe take some time ...

  5. Do You Get Pre-Trip Anxiety?

    Anxiety before traveling is very common. The mind floods with things to worry about. Travel journalists are not immune from pre-trip anxiety. I was walking with my friend Harriet the other day ...

  6. Travel Anxiety: 7 Ways to Cope While You're Traveling

    setting positive intentions for your trip. taking a bath or shower after a long day. taking deep breaths when you feel stressed. eating a favorite snack or comforting meal. drinking a cup of hot ...

  7. Travel anxiety: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

    sleeping problems leading up to the travel date. being unable to control feelings of worry and concern about traveling. feeling restless or on edge while in airports or train stations. being ...

  8. How To Overcome Pre-Trip Anxiety

    2.6 Take an online anxiety course. 2.7 Get all the items you'll need. 2.8 Pay special attention to your health before you travel. 2.9 Get to the airport early. 2.10 Create a kickass playlist. 2.11 Keep moving forward. 2.12 Tell a flight attendant about your fear of flying. 2.13 Remember that you're not alone.

  9. Pre-Flight Anxiety: What Causes It, What Stops It

    The sympathetic nervous system up-regulates us when stress hormones are produced. Oxytocin inhibits the release of the stress hormones. Prior to flying, an oxytocin-producing memory is linked to ...

  10. Tips for easing travel anxiety

    Panicking meditation. Anchor your mind and body in the present. Managing Anxiety 10-day course. Cultivate a new perspective on fear and anxiety. Remember the Blue Sky guidance. The calm we're looking for is already there. Travel Day workout. Move your body and stretch your muscles before or after a long journey.

  11. How to Deal With Pretrip Anxiety

    Keep traveling. When you're consumed with anxiety, you may want to cancel a trip out of fear. "Avoidance helps us feel better and is very effective at decreasing anxiety in the short term," confirms Martin Burch. The problem: "In the long term, avoidance gets us stuck and keeps us from being able to live the life we want to live.".

  12. Don't panic

    It's an increasingly common malaise in a world of uncertainty and inconsistent customer service. "Pre-trip anxiety is a form of anticipatory anxiety," explains Marie Casey Olseth, a ...

  13. Pre-Travel Anxiety: What It Is And How To Cope

    Many people experience pre-travel anxiety because they have a genuine fear of getting on a plane. In fact, according to Calm Clinic, 'probably the number one issue with travel anxiety is a fear of flying.' This is due to a number of factors, ranging anything from lack of control to changes in air pressure and turbulence. ...

  14. The Real Reason for Travel Anxiety

    Anxiety kicks in with caffeine, booze, and no control over the window shade. Normalize feeling abnormal . Remind yourself that it is 100% normal to have worries or stress related to travel.

  15. How To Tackle Your Pre-Travel Anxiety and Make the Most of Your Trip

    Watching a film both set in and made by a filmmaker native to the destination is a great way of engaging with a differing culture, as is a book set in that destination. Making yourself a pre-travel checklist is also a great way to ease any doubts.". Adding to this tip, finding a good book or two about how travel is transformational can help ...

  16. Overcoming Travel Anxiety: A Comprehensive Guide to Pre-Trip Stress

    Then you are probably experiencing pre-travel anxiety. In more serious cases, it may even lead to reconsidering your travel plans. Don't worry too much. Overcoming travel anxiety is something even seasoned travelers must sometimes contend with. If you're dealing with these feelings, we have a detailed breakdown of potential causes and ...

  17. Pre-Travel Anxiety

    Pre-Travel anxiety is any fear or uneasiness that comes before a vacation or trip away from home. It usually stems from a loss of control over one's surroundings. Some of the most common fears include flying, driving, safety, well-being and money. Travel anxiety covers a broad range of emotions and symptoms that are brought on by an upcoming ...

  18. How To Manage Travel Anxiety

    A common method is to take notice of concrete things you can perceive with each of your five senses. As a bonus, this can also help you take note of the novel sights and sounds of your travel destination. Meditation. Mindfulness meditation has shown considerable effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms in many people, as evidenced by research ...

  19. 5 Tips to Overcome Pre-Travel Anxiety

    5. Control what you can. Mitigate the uncontrollable by taking the wheel of the controllable. You can't control the long lines to check your bag but you can control what you pack, the time you leave for the airport, and who's taking care of your home and precious pooch. These things can reduce the stress of travel plans.

  20. What is Travel Anxiety: Signs, Tips, Prevention, and More

    If we talk about anxiety disorders, then having a history of the same in the family could be a reason for you developing anxiety or travel anxiety. Yes, your genes can be responsible for your pre-travel jitters. 7 Tips To Overcome Travel Anxiety. Here's how you can cope with travel anxiety, so your vacations remain worry-free! 1. Find The Cause

  21. Wander Freely

    Effective pre-trip preparation is your first line of defense against travel anxiety. It involves creating a comprehensive plan to guide you through your journey. Start by thoroughly researching ...

  22. Anxiety: Symptoms, types, causes, prevention, and treatment

    Anxiety is a normal emotion that causes increased alertness, fear, and physical signs, such as a rapid heart rate. Read on to learn more.

  23. What Is Anxiety? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

    Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry that typically occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. It differs from fear, which is the body's natural response to immediate danger.

  24. Fog in the airplane? Here's why you shouldn't worry

    Mist in an airplane cabin often gets mistaken for smoke and can cause anxiety or panic among passengers. Here's the science behind it and why it's perfectly harmless.

  25. 11 Ways to Cope With Pre-Travel Anxiety

    11 Ways to Cope With Pre-Travel Anxiety. We all get a little nervous before traveling. Here's how to overcome those pre-travel regrets, fears and anxieties. 1. Focus on what's ahead. "Don't focus on what you're leaving behind, or the "what-ifs". Immerse yourself in all the cool things you're about to do!" says our Editorial ...

  26. Clear vs TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry: What's Worth Your Money?

    It all used to be so simple when you went to the airport. You'd just get there a bit ahead of time, make your way through security, board your flight and head to your destination. Now, though, we ...

  27. Adrenal Hormones

    Anxiety and depression may also be linked to high cortisol levels. Low cortisol levels can cause a condition known as primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease. While rare, primary adrenal insufficiency is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the adrenal glands. Symptoms may start slowly, but they can be quite serious.

  28. Here's how flight demonstrations for people with autism work

    How flights to nowhere can help 'lessen the anxiety' for travelers with autism ... "Accessible Travel" is a six-part series focusing on the travel industry's preparedness to welcome ...

  29. Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep

    Meditation also can ease anxiety. Know when to contact your health care provider. Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. However, if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your health care provider. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

  30. Banking

    Banking. From high-yield savings accounts to no-fee checking accounts, CNET helps you get the most out of your bank accounts.