Most of us enjoy exploring new places and spent a lot of time thinking about and planning holidays. But more and more of us struggle with the journey. Fear of flying, anxiety about terrorism, worries about delays and setbacks and travel sickness can make getting to our destination a stressful experience that we could do without before having a relaxing holiday. What is travel anxiety and how can we deal with it?
Many people don’t even realise that they have travel anxiety. If you already suffer from anxiety, then travel can represent change and just be another thing that you avoid or believe that isn’t available for you. Travel represents change and distance from home comforts, and can involve navigating unforeseeable circumstances and dealing with challenging people.
Normally travel anxiety doesn’t have one specific cause. Some people can suffer from travel anxiety their entire lives, for others it can start as a result of a bad experience. There are many different types of travel anxiety, including:
- Fear of flying
One of the most common types of travel anxiety. The main issue for people is the lack of control and the fear of crashing, not necessarily the fear of flying. Choosing not to fly can severely restrict your ability to see the world and make journeys a lot longer – there’s much more change of being involved in a car crash than a plane crash. Some airlines run courses to help people to overcome their flying fears using simulators. Having therapy for aviophobia can help you to overcome your fears.
- Post trip worries
You could be anxiety-free before your trip, but worries start to kick in during the trip about about planning and getting around in an unfamiliar place, the return trip, communication issues if you are visiting a country where you don’t speak the language or jet lag could make your anxiety worse.
- Horror stories
Often we subconsciously store news stories about travel disasters, terrorist attacks on tourists, accidents abroad, even kidnappings which rear their heads when we’re about to travel and can cause us to lose sleep or even consider not travelling, especially if these things happen just before you travel. It’s best not to read the detail about tragedies as this can start automatically playing on your mind when you’re in a travel situation, like getting on a plane or on an underground train.
Overcoming travel anxiety
There are a variety of strategies and tips to deal with travel anxiety and stop it from interfering with your enjoyment of life.
- Discover your fears
What is the underlying cause of your fears? What is causing you to avoid travelling? Is it a fear of flying? Fear of the unknown or not being in control of events? Worry about terrorism? By identifying and writing down the things that are holding you back, you can then start to address them.
- Get prepared
If your anxiety is linked to organisation, then make plans further in advance. Don’t leave it until the day before you’re travelling to pack, tell the neighbours you’re going away, deal with the mail and pets. This will help you to manage your anxiety and feel more prepared and organised.
- Plan an empty holiday
If you’ve never been abroad before and feel anxious about fitting lots it and travelling whilst your there, then why not plan an empty holiday where all you need to do is just get there and then stay in the complex, by the pool. This will ease you into travelling and being in a different environment. Then if you feel like it you can venture further afield or take a trip whilst your there.
- See a therapist
Therapy to overcome your anxiety is an effective long-term measure to deal with phobias and fears . Your therapist can tailor treatment to you and your specific worries and concerns, and use a variety of therapies to help you to reduce and overcome your anxieties. Your therapist can also teach you techniques and strategies to use yourself when you’re feeling anxious and to prevent anxiety in the first place. I use a combination of techniques (hypnotherapy, EFT, BWRT) to help you to conquer travel anxiety and can teach your EFT techniques to use when you can feel the anxious feelings rising.
Travel anxiety can be a symptom of overall anxiety or a more complex anxiety disorder which can be effectively addressed in therapy sessions. I have effectively helped clients who struggle with travel anxiety and I’m here to help you to overcome your fears and enjoy your life to the fullest!