Managing travel anxiety

The thrill of an impending trip, the anticipation of new experiences, and the joy of new discoveries—travel promises all these feelings and more. But for some, the thought of travel can also conjure up a whirlwind of anxieties and fear.

Whether it's the fear of flying, the uncertainty of the unknown, or simply the stress of being away from the comforts of home, travel anxiety can cast a shadow over what should be an exciting experience. So if you, or someone you know, is apprehensive about travelling, this article may be for you.

Because here, we'll explore what travel anxiety is, identify some of its potential triggers, and unlock practical techniques that may help manage and overcome it, so you can be assured that your next journey is one filled with excitement and joy rather than worry and hesitation.

Travel anxiety, like any form of anxiety disorder, manifests differently in each person. For some, it could be a fear of flying—a very common phobia known as aerophobia. In fact, Stratos Jet Charters reported as many as 33% 40% in the United States has experienced aerophobia. Still, others may experience anxiety due to the unfamiliarity of new surroundings, the fear of the unexpected, or concerns about their mental health while away from home. Whatever your trigger, travel anxiety can manifest as feelings of restlessness, nervousness, or in more severe cases, panic attacks, making the prospect of travel a daunting one to overcome.
The first step in managing your travel anxiety may be   to identify potential triggers. Take time to reflect on past experiences or situations that may have caused you distress while travelling. Is it the thought of being in crowded spaces? The fear of turbulence during flights? Or perhaps the uncertainty of navigating unfamiliar places? By pinpointing the specific triggers that exacerbate your anxiety, you can better prepare yourself to address them head-on.
  1. Focused breathing: One of the most effective ways to manage travel anxiety is through deep breathing techniques. When feelings of anxiety start to creep in, take a moment to pause, and focus on your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, then exhale gently through your mouth. Repeat this process several times, concentrating on each breath as it enters and leaves your body. This focused breathing exercise can not only help calm your nervous system, but it can also reduce stress levels, and promote a sense of relaxation and ease.
  2. Practice relaxation: In addition to deep breathing, practicing relaxation techniques can help alleviate travel anxiety. Consider incorporating activities such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or mindfulness meditation into your pre-travel routine. These practices can help quiet the mind, soothe anxious thoughts, and cultivate a sense of inner peace and tranquility. Find what works best for you and make it a regular part of your travel preparation.
  3. Reduce anxiety: To reduce anxiety while travelling, it's essential to prioritize self-care and well-being. Get plenty of rest before your journey, eat nutritious meals, and stay hydrated to support your physical and mental health. Practice good sleep habits by maintaining a regular sleep schedule and creating a calming bedtime routine. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption, as these substances can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and disrupt sleep patterns. And reduce screen time before sleeping, as studies have shown blue light from devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets, stimulate the brain.
  4. Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation is another valuable tool for managing travel anxiety. Take a few moments each day to sit quietly and focus your attention on the present moment. Notice the sensations in your body, the sounds around you, and the thoughts passing through your mind without judgment. By cultivating mindfulness, you can learn to respond to stressful situations with greater clarity, composure, and resilience, allowing you to navigate travel with confidence and ease.
  5. Consider purchasing travel insurance: Another way to significantly reduce the stress of travelling would be to purchase Travel Insurance before your trip. As we discussed, travel anxiety often manifests due to the fear of the unknown. And with a travel insurance policy—like the ones available through Allianz Global Assistance—you’ll be protected from many unexpected and unforeseen events.

At Allianz Global Assistance, we act as your seasoned travel buddy who is with you every step of the way, by offering comprehensive travel insurance options, and 24/7 hotline assistance. To find a plan that works best for you, visit us online.

While travel anxiety is a common experience that can affect anyone, there are also a lot of people who have overcome it. By understanding potential triggers, practicing relaxation techniques, and cultivating mindfulness, you can learn to manage anxiety and embark on journeys with a sense of calm and confidence. Remember that it's okay to feel anxious from time to time, but it's also important to take steps to care for your mental health and well-being. To better prepare for your next trip, check out other helpful travel tips like this one through our online library.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

Travel protected with Allianz Global Assistance
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