5 Signs You Have Travel Anxiety And Easy Ways To Deal With It


Recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve become anxious before booking a flight or traveling to a new location, even though I love adventure and exploration. To help unpack these feelings, I’ve contacted Dominique Mortier, associate therapist, for some insight. 

She believes that traveling can be a wonderful experience filled with anticipation and excitement, but that doesn’t negate having feelings of anxiety. “For certain people, traveling can also bring up feelings of dread, uncertainty, and anxiety. You may worry about completing tasks at home before leaving, getting lost, becoming unwell, or being overwhelmed with planning,” says Mortier.  “These emotions can make traveling a negative experience that can increase avoidance in the future. When our brain goes into a fight, flight or freeze response, it is focused only on the immediate threat or danger.”

Travel anxiety is the fear and stress associated with traveling away from home. For some folks, getting from one place to another is overwhelming; for others, it is the experience of being in an unfamiliar place. Also, traveling may be deemed dangerous because of past negative experiences, not knowing what to expect, or expectations from yourself or others about what traveling is ‘supposed’ to be. This makes creating space for anything else in our lives extremely challenging, and it can feel suffocating.

Here are a few signs that you may experience travel anxiety:

Preoccupation with planning for every possible scenario, specifically what may go wrong.

Difficulty focusing on daily tasks because your thoughts become focused on traveling.

Physical symptoms include gastrointestinal issues, shortness of breath, shakiness, and fast heart rate.

Feelings of guilt for not feeling excited as the trip gets closer, but instead increasing feelings of dread.

Avoiding opportunities or experiences if traveling away from home is required.

Here’s how to deal with travel anxiety:

Be aware of your triggers. If you experience intense emotions, consider what is happening around you.

Cope ahead by thinking of strategies that engage your five senses and can be used when you feel panicked. These can include soothing objects or scents, such as a blanket, photos, essential oils, etc.

Use distractions to cope with stressful experiences that are not within your control, such as flight changes and loud noises.

Seek support, such as bringing a travel buddy or a travel group.

Incorporate days for relaxation and flexibility to recharge and recenter yourself.

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