Are you struggling to deal with travel anxiety or a fear of flying? Keep on reading to discover my top tips for managing anxiety while traveling.
Traveling on its own can be – while exciting – a daunting experience which can trigger some type of travel anxiety. When you are traveling with anxiety such as a flight anxiety, fear of flying, it can really deflate any excitement and fun you might be feeling for your upcoming trip.
Anxiety feels different for people, depending on who you ask. I have recently been able to pinpoint exactly how I feel when I’m dealing with it. Remember the scene in the movie Titanic near the end, Jack is handcuffed to a pipe in a room that is quickly filling with water? This is how I can accurately describe my experience with anxiety.
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I can’t actually explain why I get anxiety though. I love traveling, I personally love flying, I love (most) airports. I am comfortable in airports and on airplanes. All I know, is on the way to the airport, I panic. I live 10 minutes from the airport, so my Mom always drives me, but I never let her come in with me. I prefer to get going quickly as possible because the sooner the bags are checked and I’m through security, the sooner I can try to relax. Maybe my travel anxiety is caused by the thought of leaving my comfort zone.
When I am traveling, waiting around the gate and looking at the stores is fun and it takes my mind off of my anxiety. I enjoy stopping somewhere to get a meal and a bottle of water while I people watch. (Typically I’d be a coffee drinker, but that’s not going to help traveling with anxiety at all)! Below the surface my anxiety is bubbling. It hinders my excitement, and it doesn’t feel fair. It’s as if my excitement is being taken away from me. Once I’m on the plane, my anxiety begins to subside. I enjoy the flight, and don’t suffer much more for the rest of the trip.
I’ve always had anxiety, I just didn’t know what it was. I thought I was just shy and that was that. It turns out however, I am anxious and an introvert, which is ironic because I am highly social and love to explore the world beyond my comfort zone.
My anxiety seems to get worse, with the older I get. This causes me to worry about my future. I want to make traveling my career, and it makes me worry that it will hold me back from being able to live out my dreams.
If you too are dealing with anxiety, especially while traveling, here are five tips that I find to be helpful when it comes to staying calm. I know that I mentioned that personally I don’t have a fear of flying but I’m hoping that these tips can help those of you who have a flight anxiety or general airplane anxiety, as well as those of you who experience anxiety just from stepping out of your comfort zone (like me)!
If any of you have tips or stories on overcoming fear of flying, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
I find that when I slowly sip on water, it helps my nerves to calm down and it helps everything in my mind and body feel less overwhelmed from my travel anxiety. Also, keeping hydrated is always a good thing!
Eat A Bit Of Food
I find that it’s helpful to keep a full stomach when you’re feeling anxious. One situation I had was on the bus home from college one day. I was hit was so much anxiety out of nowhere, I was sure I was going to end up having to run off the bus for air. I ended up eating a granola bar, and it helped tremendously. So make sure your body is getting what it needs.
You hear this a lot when it comes to anxiety, but it’s true. Taking deep, calculated breaths can help keep your anxiety under control.
Also if you’re wondering “what can I take for anxiety?” one suggestion that has been sooo helpful for me is taking some Rescue Remedy. A reader recommended it to me after I originally made this post and I’ve used it ever since! The drops are small enough to bring on a plane, but they also have a gummy version if that’s more your speed.
For me, reading during an anxiety attack can be a hit or miss solution. I find it works best if it’s a book you’re already very interested in. This way it’s easier to find yourself swept up in the story. It’s harder to keep distracted if you’re trying to get into a new storyline. You might find that after you’ve read the first chapter, you don’t actually remember any of what you just read.
I find that playing games on my phone can be really helpful. When you have to use your brain to strategically win a game, it keeps a lot of your mind focused on that end goal, which can help distract you from your flight anxiety. Just be sure to have a battery charger because games can be a real battery killer.
Anxiety is awful no matter what situation you find yourself in. I hope that by reading this, you realize you aren’t alone and that travel anxiety is a real thing that can happen to anyone.
Hopefully you find the aforementioned tips helpful in the way you handle your travel anxiety. If you have any other tips, I would love to read them in the comments below!