Last month we did a poll and one of the top questions was tips for managing travel anxiety. Travel can often be anxiety-inducing between flying, packing, and feeling prepared.
I’ve found myself over the few years developing some habits to reduce the stress around travel. Some of them will come with no surprise but are still great to consider. Take a peak at a few of these tips.
5 Tips for Managing Travel Anxiety
1. Accept that it’s normal for the trip to have stress points.
I think we often build up more stress and anxiety when something goes wrong because it’s “no longer perfect.” It’s totally normal for a trip to have a mishap. A missed flight, delayed layover, not quite the hotel room, and more are very normal parts of travel. I try to hedge expectations so that when things don’t go the way I envisioned them, it’s not a complete melt down of emotions.
2. Be prepared.
If you’re headed somewhere new or out the country, knowledge is power. I always recommend getting a few guide books, reading some blog posts, and understanding more about the destination before you arrive. There’s nothing worse than showing up somewhere and not having a clue about it. Being prepared can help reduce anxiety and removes the unknown.
3. Give yourself time and develop rituals.
I am a big believer in showing up to the airport early because I know I get stressed out otherwise. It’s my new habit — I often show up 3 hours before a domestic flight. I settle in, I check into a lounge and I grab a bite. It’s one of my rituals for flying. Finding rituals throughout your travels is important — it helps develop familiarity. My other favorite is always unpacking when I arrive to a hotel, it makes me feel at home immediately.
4. Use facts to help lower anxiety.
It’s easy to play things up, to blow things out of proportion (it’s one of my skills!). If you’re worried about flying, perhaps read some recent studies on airplanes (spoiler alert: they’re incredibly safe in comparison to other modes of transport). It’s good to bring things down as our minds start to spin. And the best way to do so is with hard numbers and facts.
5. Celebrate past wins and keep a reminder note.
If anxiety is crippling, go through your last travel wins that you’ve had. It’s such a great method for combatting present struggles. Successfully took a flight without anxiety? Store this win and pull it out for those moments your body temp rises on the plane. There’s power to lifting up the wins and visualizing how you’d like to feel in this stress points.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: