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How to Conquer Travel Anxiety

How to Conquer Travel Anxiety

Traveling is often considered an exciting experience. Unfortunately, not everyone finds the process to be entirely positive. If you live with travel anxiety, your symptoms can put a serious dent in something that should really give you great cause for joy and enrichment.

The good news is that you’re not powerless here. Some knowledge, preparation, and a few techniques can help you manage and even overcome your anxiety. This can help free your mind and body to fully drink in all the positive attributes travel has to offer.

Recognize the Causes

Your first step to conquering your travel anxiety is to get a good understanding of what the root causes are. In some instances, there may be an issue that has developed from a specific incident. You might also have a variety of causes that contribute to a wider sense of fear. The more you can learn about these roots, the better you may be able to address them or prevent them.

  1. Some of the common causes of travel anxiety include:
  2. Financial costs associated with travel.
  3. History of negative travel experiences.
  4. Lack of control over the means of travel, such as in airplanes, trains, or a passenger in a car.
  5. Social anxiety related to the need to interact with people during journeys and vacations.
  6. Being disconnected from familiar surroundings and home comforts.
  7. Travel-related phobias — such as hodophobia or agoraphobia — that are based on irrational fear rather than a clearly defined cause.

Each person’s experience of travel anxiety tends to be individual in nature. This means that while there may be common causes, the nature and details of these may be largely unique to you. Therefore, establishing the likely causes could require some analysis. You might be able to perform this yourself. Consider what specifically unnerves you about traveling and what past experiences this relates to. Alternatively, a therapist or psychologist could be a useful tool in helping you dig deeper to unearth the deeper or more complex issues.

Prepare to Minimize Negative Experiences

Preparation is often a good way to handle travel anxiety. The better you can arrange measures in advance, the more effectively you’re likely to be able to control your experiences. Not to mention that the knowledge of having preparations in place may help you to feel more comfortable with the idea of spending some time away from home.

Wherever possible, utilize the knowledge you’ve gained about the root causes of your anxiety to drive your prep efforts. You may find it useful to brainstorm potential arrangements that directly impact the difficulties you face.

For instance:

Financial anxieties

There’s no doubt that travel costs can be stressful. If this is a cause of your anxiety, you may find it helpful to prepare with measures that enable you to travel on a budget. This could include booking your travel well in advance so you can shop around for the best deals. Alternatively, you could book vacations during the off-season to take advantage of lower flight and accommodation costs. Making plans to prepare your own food during trips rather than eating out can also be financially smart.

Social anxiety

The idea of being around a lot of people while traveling can trigger anxiety. You may find it useful to prepare by spending time around gradually larger groups of people in the weeks leading up to your trip. You could also practice relaxation techniques that enable you to be more calm when in close proximity to others. Even loading a device with music or meditation apps may be effective.

Identify Relevant Coping Mechanisms

Adopting effective coping mechanisms for travel anxiety can depend on your symptoms and their severity. Some people find they have trouble sleeping prior to travel, which can also exacerbate further sensations of anxiety. Panic attacks and physical health problems, like body aches and ulcers, are also common. The key is to find activities that ease these experiences while also generating a wider sense of calm.

Some effective mechanisms include:

  1. Practicing grounding techniques. These can help manage panic attacks and restlessness. For instance, breathing techniques or cataloging your surroundings. Indeed, yoga breathing techniques that steady the body and mind may be particularly helpful.
  2. Utilizing medication. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, a psychiatrist or physician may prescribe you medication to ease the symptoms of anxiety. It’s important to use these in line with your doctor’s directions.
  3. Using aromatherapy scents. If you’re experiencing symptoms of stress, lavender, neroli, and ylang-ylang can help to induce calm.
  4. Seeking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). An experienced therapist may introduce you to CBT techniques that help you to navigate your travel anxiety. This could revolve around mindfulness practices. You’ll acknowledge your feelings, analyze the accuracy of your thoughts, and adjust your behavior and mindset accordingly.

Remember, though, that the efficacy of your coping mechanisms may change over time. Not to mention that you may have needs that some general techniques don’t quite address entirely. Be open to experimenting with approaches and exploring new methods that are more attuned to your unique challenges.


Travel anxiety is a difficult experience, but there are tools to address it. Get to know what the causes are and adopt relevant preparation and coping strategies. That said, it’s worth also generally building anxiety-reducing methods into your wider lifestyle. This can empower you to both enjoy greater day-to-day wellness as well as preparing you to make effective adjustments when traveling.

by Katie Brenneman

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