Traveling can sometimes be an incredibly stressful, hectic process — especially with the holidays upon us. Therefore, it is not surprising that around 25 percent of all Americans suffer some form of flying anxiety, and for good reason. Flying, and other forms of long distance travel, can be scarring and harrowing, and it can leave a lasting negative impression after just one bad experience.
If you are anxious about traveling, you may feel frustrated that your unease has has prevented you from experiencing new places and people, but fear not; there is hope. The reality is that, while many people suffer from traveling anxiety, many more people find ways to cope with such feelings and get themselves back inside a plane, a train, or even a car.
Here are a few ways to calm your travel anxiety.
Block out preconceptions
A major challenge associated with travel anxiety — or just about any form of anxiety — is the habit of assuming the worst will occur, and ultimately causing this to become a reality. Try your best to practice positive self-talk in the days leading up to your trip; ignore the horror stories your friend is trying to tell you about their last flight; focus on the joy of arriving at your destination rather than the potential stuffiness of your seat. If you can instill this type of thinking in advance, you will be better prepared when the actual trip occurs.
Travelers tend to be creatures of habit, and this is a great characteristic to adopt in the fight against traveling anxiety. Form a routine early into your traveling process, and if you are a regular traveler dealing with anxiety, stick to a routine you know well. This approach will keep you focused on what is in front of you, and it will help you compartmentalize potential stressors along the way.
Focus on the trip, and the trip alone
A common offshoot of traveling anxiety is a set of fears pertaining to outside and unrelated variables. This specific anxiety usually comes in the form of agitating questions: “Will my house be safe while I am gone?” “Will I regret this trip financially?” “What if I get lost after I arrive?”
Tune these thoughts out to the best of your ability, focusing instead on the potential benefits of your trip and all the ways the process might swing in your favor, rather than against you.