A lot of people get nervous about traveling. The anxiety before traveling is sometimes so high that it may even make people refrain from traveling altogether. If you also suffer from this anxiety, read this article to learn ways to cope with it.
Do we have anxiety before traveling?
The fear of seeing new and unfamiliar places and the stress of making travel plans as planned may lead to a condition known as “pre-travel anxiety.” Of course, pre-travel anxiety is not officially one of the registered mental illnesses, but travel anxiety can be very serious and acute for some people and prevent them from traveling and enjoying the trip. This anxiety can even affect your daily life in the days before the trip.
Below are some of the symptoms of travel anxiety. We also mention tips on coping with this anxiety that can be useful to reduce stress and with their help you can enjoy your trip more.
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Symptoms of pre-travel anxiety
Anxiety symptoms are different for different people. Of course, if you suffer from travel anxiety, when you think about going on a trip, you may experience these symptoms:
- fast heartbeat;
- chest pain or difficulty breathing;
- restlessness and agitation;
- Decreased concentration or difficulty concentrating;
- Sleep problems or insomnia.
If these problems are severe and persist, they may eventually lead to a panic attack.
What causes pre-travel anxiety?
Travel anxiety and negative thoughts about it can be caused by different experiences. In one of the researches, it has been determined that 65% of people who have experienced a serious car accident usually suffer from anxiety before traveling.
It is possible that experiencing a panic attack in an unfamiliar environment will eventually lead to pre-travel anxiety. In addition, simple events such as hearing about negative travel experiences can trigger anxiety in some people, such as plane crashes or unknown illnesses.
Sometimes the underlying factors of pre-trip anxiety are biological. Some research has proven that sometimes genetics cause travel anxiety in adulthood or youth.
Corona and pre-travel anxiety
Corona and the worry of contracting it is one of the factors that has increased anxiety before traveling in some people. Do you have an important trip ahead of you and worry about Corona has caused you great anxiety? Well, you are not the only one in this situation. The following solutions can reduce your worries.
Tips for coping with pre-travel anxiety
If pre-travel anxiety is having a negative impact on your life, following these tips can help you overcome these issues. Of course, seeing a counselor can help you control this anxiety. Sometimes you need to do drug treatments to get the best result; Therapists will recommend the appropriate medication. With the help of these tips, you can have a happy and worry-free trip.
1. Find anxiety triggers
Anxiety triggers aggravate your anxiety symptoms. These triggers can be related to the trip itself, such as planning a trip or getting on a plane, or they can be influences from the outside world, such as:
- The news you hear;
- the stress you already have;
- Caffeine consumption.
With the help of a psychotherapist, you can identify the factors that trigger your anxiety and examine and address these factors before you go on a trip. If you are concerned about health issues, reduce this concern by planning ahead. For example, carrying disinfectants and masks in sufficient quantity and other necessary arrangements according to the type of travel.
2. Plan for some special circumstances
Pre-travel anxiety is usually caused by the thoughts we have about the events and happenings during the trip. For example, you think: “What should I do if I run out of money?” Of course, it is not possible to plan for all the events and incidents that may await us during the trip, but you can consider the worst possible events that come to your mind and make a plan to deal with them. Consider the following examples:
- What if I run out of money? I can call friends and family and ask them to send me money, or I can carry a bank card for emergencies.
- What should I do if I get lost? I can take a paper or digital map with me and find my way with the help of my phone.
- What should I do if I get sick while traveling? I can get travel insurance before I travel or make sure my current insurance covers travel accidents and illnesses. Many insurance companies announce a list of their partner medical centers in different cities and countries around the world so that you can travel safely.
By preparing for these possible scenarios, you’ll find that most travel problems have solutions and some of your stress will be reduced.
3. Plan your household responsibilities before your trip
The cause of travel anxiety in some people is the thought of leaving home. Leaving home, children or pets can be very stressful. Of course, just like planning for travel events, you can also plan for your responsibilities at home to reduce some of your worries.
Get help from a caretaker or leave the house to a trusted friend to take care of things in your absence. For example, water the pots or take care of pets. You can keep in touch with them during your trip to make sure the house is in good condition and enjoy your trip without any worries.
4. Create a distraction for yourself
What is an activity that you enjoy doing and that reduces your stress? For some people, video games and watching movies and series are the best way to pass the time and distract them from worries and negative thoughts. Some people also like relaxing activities such as reading books or solving puzzles.
Enjoyable distractions can distract you from negative thoughts and give you something positive to focus on.
5. Try relaxation
Before leaving home for a trip, learn relaxation techniques and use them during the trip. Research shows that these methods, such as meditation, can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms. Deep breathing and muscle relaxation also help you relax and deal with anxiety.
6. Travel with your friends
If traveling alone makes you anxious, travel with someone. If you plan to travel with someone, in addition to close friends and acquaintances, you can also join group travel tours. If you have someone with you, you may be more comfortable and accepting of traveling and new adventures. One of the advantages of traveling in a group is that by the end of the trip, you can find some new friends who will always travel with you.
7. Try drug treatments
If counseling and planning and creating distractions do not help to reduce travel stress, drug therapy is one of the other options. Two types of drugs are usually prescribed for anxiety: antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
If you have a panic attack while traveling, a benzodiazepine such as lorazepam can provide immediate, short-term relief. Before starting the trip, consult your doctor about your condition so that he can prescribe you medicine if needed.
8. See the positive aspects of travel
Traveling is one of the popular leisure activities. People welcome every opportunity to travel to new places and gain new experiences. Getting to know different cultures and various cuisines and seeing beautiful landscapes are only a part of the attractions of travel.
Before you start your trip, anticipate and write down all the positive aspects of your trip. Think about the destination and plan to enjoy its attractions and beauty. When you feel anxious and worried during your trip, look at the list of positive aspects.
When should we see a therapist for pre-travel anxiety?
Anxiety becomes a serious problem when its symptoms negatively affect the quality of daily life.
One of the most common diagnostic tools for disorders such as anxiety is the use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5 for short. According to this criterion, if you have the following symptoms, you have an anxiety disorder:
- For more than 6 months, you have excessive anxiety most days.
- For more than 6 months, you experience at least 3 of the common anxiety symptoms most days.
- You can’t control your anxiety.
- Your anxiety has caused mental pressure and hindered your daily life.
- You do not have any other mental illness that has caused anxiety symptoms.
If you have a certain number of these symptoms and pre-travel anxiety has negatively affected your daily life, it’s time to see a doctor. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, your doctor may diagnose you with an anxiety disorder or a phobia.
You can deal with and reduce pre-travel anxiety through counseling, medication, or a combination of both.
If you suffer from pre-travel anxiety, you may not be able to fully enjoy this fun and exciting pastime. Before the trip, you can reduce travel anxiety by doing a few things, for example, plan for possible problems and think about the positive aspects of the trip and keep negative thoughts away from yourself. During the trip, things like creating attractive distractions and even taking medication can reduce anxiety.
If your problem is very severe and cannot be solved with these methods, it is better to see a doctor and seek help from specialists and counselors. Psychotherapy and medication together help you control your anxiety disorder and enjoy traveling with your friends and loved ones.
What do you do to reduce anxiety before traveling? Share your experiences about travel anxiety and its reasons with other “yeta” companions in the comments section.
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