What is the best part of a vacation? The planning, packing, or flight? Goodness no!
Everything that goes into taking the perfect getaway can be very anxiety inducing, especially if you’re the type to worry.
Navigating the lines and crowds at every juncture along the way takes an ace traveler with a lot of tools in their belt. And we got just what you need.
Coping with the stress of traveling is not for the frail of mind. Dealing with lost luggage or a three-hour wait in customs can catapult you straight into a nervous breakdown if you aren’t prepared.
Here are some common stressors when it comes to traveling and the solutions that will ease you right through them with peace of mind – and all your hair!
- Delay, delay, delay
One thing you can count on is somewhere along the way, there is going to be a delay.
Dr. Indra Cidambi, MD, psychiatrist, addiction medicine specialist, and medical director at the Center for Network Therapy, tells Real Simple that, “Studies have shown that 50 percent of travel-related anxiety relates to delays.”
The root cause of anxiety from weather delays, aircraft maintenance issues, and the like is the feeling of a lack of control.
Being helpless in a situation is no one’s cup of tea, so try to build in extra time in your itinerary for the things that don’t go according to plan.
Dr. Cidambi suggests:
“The best way to address this stressor is to build a slack day around a vacation or ensure there are no critical deadlines to meet at work the day after return.”
2. Lost luggage
You know you are not alone in stressing over whether your luggage made it to your destination or not.
While you always want to have your current contact information on all of your luggage, this still doesn’t relinquish you completely from worry.
Dr. Cidambi tells travelers to do what they can by splitting up their clothes between checked and carry-on luggage.
This will leave you with enough items on your person to not feel completely hopeless should your luggage get lost. 3. Incessant lines
“Going through airport security and customs can also be a stress-inducing process, either due to long lines, anxiety over potential questions asked, or language barriers,” Dr. Cidambi says.
Long lines give your mind time to wonder and overthink every aspect of your trip.
Should I have brought my favorite sunglasses? Did I spend too much on that hotel upgrade? Did I pack enough socks? Why didn’t I arrive at the airport earlier?
You never know how quickly a line will move, leaving you fearful that you’ll miss your flight or event.
One solution to this is to give yourself ample time to get to your destination.
Dr. Cidambi wants travelers to use knowledge as a tool, saying:
“Familiarize yourself with the process and types of questions they may ask and you’ll be less anxious and less likely to be caught off guard.”4. Is this supposed to happen?
Flying in an aircraft thousands of feet above the earth at hundreds of miles per hour is not the most calming environment for many obvious reasons. Then add any turbulence on top of that!
No thank you!
Although you may see your life flash before your eyes when the flight gets bumpy and begin confessing every lie you ever told to the unsuspecting passenger sitting next to you, taking to the air is still one of the safest modes of transportation.
So try to pick a seat that will ease your fears – and don’t choose a window seat if it makes you feel like you’ve got a front row ticket to your own funeral.
Real Simple suggests also bringing along some ginger candy or mints to suck on for motion sickness. And if that doesn’t cut it, check with your doctor about something a little stronger.
No flight is going to be perfect, but you can rest easy knowing you’ve done what you could to reduce your anxiety and stress.
So pack these tips on your next trip for a memorable experience that doesn’t involve breathing into a brown paper bag.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have any coping mechanisms you use when traveling to keep anxiety at bay.