10 Tips for Conquering Travel Anxiety
Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes
Do you get cold sweats just thinking about trekking through a big city shoulder-to-shoulder with glaring locals?
Here are some tips to get your foot out the door and into the next city, state, or country!
1. First and foremost, breathe
Please be patient and kind to yourself. Making a decision to even start thinking of traveling can be nerve-wracking.
Give yourself time to gently adjust to the thought of being away from the amenities of your home, and out of the comforts of your warm, soft bed sheets.
Slowly conquering the fear of traveling takes a healthy amount of time and patience. Your journeys will actualize themselves soon enough, breathe.
2. Research, be thoughtful and plan
Doing a bit of research and customizing your searches to meet your current interests is a great way to start the travel planning process.
I say “current interests” because, man-oh-man, the person you will become because of your traveling experiences is currently waiting for you somewhere in your near future (and, I’m sure excited to meet your future self).
3. Book something small
Plan a day-trip or weekend-trip (if you’re feeling brave) and book a lunch reservation, wine or hard cider tasting, or tickets to a museum.
There are so many compelling, thought-provoking excursions, experiences, and tours that will teach you something new and will help you understand who you are and who you are becoming. Allow your surroundings to influence you, a bit.
Check out websites like Groupon.com that offer deals on excursions and pick some that interest you (check out some deals you didn’t quite consider before your search).
4. Discover yourself through new interests
It's hard to pass through this world and not experience a singular, beautiful moment that imprints on your heart.
Some unplanned, unexpected moment with a complete stranger, a piece of artwork, music that suddenly finds its way to your ear, can all have a lasting impact that ripples its way through you.
Melt into those moments, and deeply understand that you are discovering new interests, and know that you, my dear, are changing.
From my travels, I learned that I am definitely in love with street art, murals, and graffiti. Having the opportunity to learn the stories behind the works of art and how they directly tie into the surrounding communities, spurs a gravitational pull on my interests. Having a travel purpose also aids in the distraction of anxious travelers.
I, now, purposefully schedule time in my itineraries to go out in search of these local, cultural, monumental gems.
5. Get comfortable with discomfort
Remember, some of the best things in life come from challenging ourselves.
Yes, traveling requires you to “live out of a suitcase.” And, yes, that can be very uncomfortable, annoying, and cumbersome.
Discomfort is part of the experience. Unless you make millions, having luxury travel accommodations where every comfort is afforded is not usually part of the average traveler's plans (not my preference, either way).
Getting up-close and personal with city-folk and their way of life will most likely give you the most inspirational, influential, and moving experience. And, isn’t that what you’re seeking, anyway?
Know that you will never have the same comforts out-and-about that you have at home but learn to settle into that discomfort (it's not as bad as some might think) and make the most out of your current situation.
6. Be forgiving of failed attempts at something new. Then, be proud of yourself!
Going through with activities never ventured is big-time courageous. Either way, you now have a new, cool story to share with family and friends (and me)!
Part of conquering travel anxiety is walking towards and welcoming new ideas, practices, customs that are beautifully and broadly demonstrated and proudly displayed. Learn about, share in, appreciate and graciously accept these wonderous human interactions.
7. Train your brain to view experiences as learning opportunities
Encourage yourself to consider all new experiences as moments of discovery. Focus on learning about others’ lifestyles, livelihoods, and explore your own feelings and thoughts about it all, through reflection.
Whether it be from cultural experiences with food, art, music, language, or socializing with locals, take the time to appreciate the fact that you are standing there amongst all the beauty and chaos.
8. Envision yourself being the type of traveler you want to become
Set an intention for yourself of who you want to become, what you want to feel, where you want to go, and what sorts of adventures you’d love to have.
Make a vision board (or a Pinterest board) of the places, people, locations, sites and monuments you want to spend time with, and definitely pin some travel gear you'll need for the stay abroad and work tirelessly to get there.
9. Travel changes you
I am no longer the "me" from before because of the experiences I’ve had.
There comes a time during certain trips that I’m incredibly overcome with emotion and engulfed in life, that I feel empowered and guided by an inner light. I’ve coined it “travel euphoria.” This euphoric experience has time-and-time again reminded me and pulled me outside of myself to wonder at the world and all it has to offer.
If you’re like me, you crave these enormous and artful moments that inspire you; that make you feel super small and universally large at the same time; and that force you think of what could be. I shamelessly explore the endless possibilities, opportunities, and choices I could make every time I visit a new place and have a moment. It all helps to deafen the fear of travel that lingers.
I urge you to find your travel euphoria.
10. You are not alone
Traveling anywhere takes forethought, definitely a bit of an adventurous nature, and the fearlessness to take huge steps in the right direction (so, please remember to breathe, honey). After a little research of an area and its surroundings, you’ll find yourself somewhat familiar with the place, its location, and what it has to offer. You might even feel confident enough to book something.
I bet if you looked around any new-to-you place you’ve just so happened to come upon, you might see others in your same shoes with that similar expressive look on their face full of awe and subtle confusion - a possible fellow anxious traveler. Get up and go say hi (I would. I have)!
Wrap all this information up in one big loving burrito of chance and culture and welcome any unusual experiences that will help you transform you as a person and traveler.
Relish in it all and continue to beat down the traveling fear monster with a few swift swings. Take time to discover and continue to learn something new about the communities you visit and do the same for yourself. Now’s the time to discover and introduce the new you (and, give her a hug, why don’t you)!
Disclosure: Please note that some links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission, if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services that I use and the income earned will help to support the Holistic Travelers community and my work.