Traveling can be stressful for anyone, but if you struggle with anxiety, you may be experiencing feelings of dread rather than excitement about an upcoming trip. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help yourself feel prepared before you travel and while on your trip to help you manage anxiety. Below, we’ll outline a few tips for managing anxiety when traveling.
1. Do your research. Not knowing what to expect can spike your anxiety, so do some research on the area you’ll be visiting. Take time to get familiar with where you’ll be staying, how you’ll get there, and how you’ll get around once you’re there. Itineraries are a great tool to compile all your research and help yourself feel prepared for each day.
2. Pack mindfully. Gather the essentials you’ll need for your trip and lay them all out before packing your bag to have a complete picture of what you’re bringing. Having a checklist that you can review as you place items in your luggage is great for easing any “Did I forget to pack that?” worries. It’s also helpful to bring along a comfort item to help you manage anxiety, such as a blanket, headphones to listen to soothing music or other audio, a journal, or other self-care items that you know help you feel grounded and calm.
3. Plan to arrive early. Running late can cause anxiety even in those who don’t usually feel anxious, so plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to navigate security checkpoints, boarding processes, check-ins, and other events as you travel.
4. Communicate with travel companions. If you’re traveling with others, it’s a good idea to inform them of your anxiety if you feel comfortable doing so. That way, they can provide support and help you avoid stressful situations as you travel.
5. Keep things organized. It’s worthwhile to invest in luggage that makes knowing where any important documents you need, such as identification, itineraries, and tickets, easy. Travel wallets or backpacks are great for assigning everything its own space, and packing cubes can help you keep your clothing and other items neat and easy to access.