Travel anxiety – What causes it & is it curable?

If you’ve ever been as unfortunate to suffer from travel anxiety, you’ll realise it’s no laughing matter. A racing heart, sweaty palms, high-stress levels and an enormous amount of anxiety are all common symptoms of travel anxiety. But what causes it and can it be cured? We’re here to spill the beans, dispel common myths and help you with your fears of travelling. Let’s go…

What is Travel Anxiety?

Travel anxiety is just like ‘normal’ anxiety, but it is brought on by the thought of travelling or the actual travel itself. It’s the anxious thoughts of ‘what if’ that run through our heads, the feeling that all the air has left the room and the chest pain that grips your chest. Around 10-15% of travellers report suffering from emotional or psychological distress when on holiday. With levels of anxiety ranging from mild discomfort to full-on panic attacks, it is certainly not a welcome condition.

Most travel anxiety relates around the fear of flying, with the takeoff and landing being the most anxiety-producing times. This doesn’t mean that you have a true flying phobia though, just situational travel anxiety.

Game-Changing Tips to Reduce Travel Anxiety

You’re heading away on holiday to relax and anxiety is not welcome! While travel anxiety is not curable, it can be managed. Here are five tips to help you feel calm, relaxed and content.

  1. Accept, Acknowledge and Let Go – unwelcome and unhelpful thoughts are going to pop up in your head. First of all, accept that they will arrive uninvited. Acknowledge they are there by simply saying, “Thank you mind.” Then let them go away without dwelling or thinking about them any further.
  2. Use Visualisation – close your eyes and imagine that you are already at your destination or a peaceful place of your choosing. Imagine that you can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, hear the waves lapping on the shore or the gentle chirps of birds in a forest.
  3. Create a Calming Playlist – before you head away, create a playlist on your iPod or phone of relaxing and soothing music. Classical or instrumental music works well. When you feel anxious, plug in those headphones and drift away!
  4. Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation – this is when you deliberately tense muscles in specific areas of your body, hold and then release. Your toes, fingers and shoulders are good places to focus on when you are travelling.
  5. Breath – never underestimate the power of your breathing! Long deep and slow breaths help to lower our heart rate and blood pressure levels. Breath in slowly and deeply through your nose and then out through your mouth.

Just like everything in life, it takes practice to achieve a reduction in travel anxiety with these five exercises. If you are heading away on a long flight, don’t forget to check out our 15 Tips to Make Your Next Trip More Comfortable article too.