Travelling is fraught with many variables, and it can arouse some anxiety in the best of us. Add to that the growing threat of terrorism and numerous terrorist attacks happening around the globe. It’s enough to make the most seasoned traveller anxious of going out. However if you like me suffer from anxiety disorder then travelling can make you far more anxious than an average traveller. But, if the travel bug has bitten you, then don’t let the anxiety keep you from travelling. Whatever is the cause of your travel anxiety, there are ways to handle it so that it doesn’t overpower you and run your life.
Here are 5 ways I keep my travel anxiety in check:
1. Acknowledge – Sounds stupid, right! I know, but believe me it helps a great deal. I have an anxiety disorder, so that makes travelling a harrowing task for me. I’m constantly worried about all things that can go wrong. I can’t eliminate my anxiousness, but acknowledging it helps me accept it and take conscious and active measure to minimize my anxiousness.
When in flight, I’m worried about Airplane crashing. My solution to managing my anxiousness is talking to the cabin crew frequently, asking them about weird noises and so on. I explain them; I have anxiety disorder, so that they are in loop when I keep pressing the call button again and again for reassurance. And to this date, I have always received help and support from cabin crew of every flight I have been on. My acknowledgment and acceptance of my anxiety has allowed me the freedom to embrace it as a part of myself and find ways to handle it with the help of others.
2. Have a backup – I don’t mean a backup plan. That list will never end. On my 1st solo trip I had booked 5 different hotels, 2 different airplane tickets for each leg of journey, 3 different cabs to take me to and from the airport, believing I had covered all bases. If 1 cab failed to be on time I had 2 other in waiting. If 1 hotel somehow missed my reservation and was full I had 4 other options. Turns out, everything went smoothly. Only the airline misplaced my baggage! So I had 5 hotels to choose from to stay, but no clothes to wear! When the airline informed me of my lost baggage, I broke down at the counter itself. My anxiety took me over completely. What will I do? What will I wear? Some of my office documents were in my bag, how am I supposed to work now? The worst part, airline never found my baggage. That trip was going to be doomed; luckily for me I had a backup person. That trip taught me a very important lesson, that no amount if backup plans can cover all your travel variables. BUT a back-up person can. I had informed my brother of my travel plans, and he had assured me that he would always be available for me to call and speak/help during my entire trip. When things went south with my baggage, I called my brother, and spoke to him for an hr. He helped me calm down, and get together an alternate plan for every item that I had lost with my luggage.
3. Plan and Document – Plan your trip step by step. Book your flight to and from your destination. Then book the accommodation. Next book transportation to and from airport. Next book transportation to take you around at your destination. Create a checklist and tick off all the details. Print all documents and keep them in a safe storage.
I know it’s the online era, and most things function seamlessly without paperwork. But nothing soothes an anxious mind more than taking out those reservation papers and seeing in black and white ink that yes you do indeed have booking to stay in a hotel, you won’t be left on footpath once you reach your destination. So print everything. Internet connections can go bad, phones can go dead, laptops can stop working, but your paper print outs will survive it all. So print.
4. Take Care of Yourself – Anxious mind creates an anxious body, which can cause numerous of your anxious thoughts to come true. Worrying about my trip causes me to miss out on meals, and exercises; this usually results in a tired and cranky me when embarking on my trip. In this state of mind, I’m more likely than normal to make mistakes, forget stuff and even get unwell. All things that can make my anxiety worse. My solution to this is to consciously take care of myself before each trip. A fortnight before my travel plans, I start maintaining meal schedules, to ensure I don’t miss out on meals. I stock my fridge with healthy snacks. I set a reminder for my daily walks. Since dining out with my friends makes me happy, I ensure I dine out with my friends at least once during the fortnight up to my trip. In short I do everything to take care of my emotional and physical health. This keeps me at top of my game when starting my trip, thus making me feel more confident, and also ensuring a smoother less eventful trip.
5. Travel in a Group – I feel much less anxious when I’m in a group. Knowing there are people around you whom you can trust and who will be in same places as you helps deal with the anxiety much better. If worse come worse something goes wrong, you can speak to your group members, and they will help you navigate whatever trouble has found your way.
Travelling is great for soul; it helps widen your horizons and lets you experience the thrill of exploring something new every single time. Don’t let your anxiety hold you back from experiencing the joys of travelling. Remember the more you travel the more confident you will become in handling your travel anxiety, and you never know, one day it just might become a thing of past.
Lysha works at Lalco Residency – Short Stay Apartments Mumbai and she loves her job. Helping clients and monitoring the progress of business strategies along with her leadership skills makes her perfect suit for Hospitality services. You can catch-up with Lysha at Lalco Residency in Mumbai.