Anxiety can negatively impact your wellbeing, and having an anxiety attack whilst travelling can be detrimental to how much you enjoy your trip. Everyone uses travelling as an opportunity to explore new places, spend time with family and friends, and relax. However, someone’s travel anxiety can get in the way of all of this.
For a lot of people the fear of flying, being mugged or getting food poisoning whilst abroad can inflict so much anxiety that it can stop them going on holiday, or using particular transport, or in the worst cases, it can prevent people from travelling all together. Other triggers for travel anxiety include visiting unfamiliar places and having to look after your money and passport – these can all feel like a large responsibility and can lead to travelling being stressful when it shouldn’t be.
Most of those who travel can feel their heart beginning to race as they load their bags and jackets onto the conveyor belt through security, wondering if you have left any liquids in your rucksack. However, most travel anxiety isn’t left at the airport, it is taken on the aeroplane to your chosen destination.
Having an anxiety attack whilst in a foreign location can also lead to added stress because of the language barrier. As someone who has suffered panic attacks in the past, having a panic attack in an unfamiliar place can lead to further distress, as you are unsure of who or where to turn in order to seek help.
The key thing to remember if you feel yourself starting to become anxious about travelling is that there is always something you can do if worst comes to worst. If you get lost whilst abroad, you could make sure you always carry a paper map with you to guarantee you can navigate your way around if you find yourself lost. Better still, try to carry a portable charger with you so you can use your phone to help guide you back to a familiar place.
If you’re worried about running out of money whilst abroad, whether that’s because you’ve splashed out on food, or might have been mugged, you can always contact a family member or a friend to bank transfer some money so that you can get by for the rest of your trip and then go to a cash machine. Most cities have cash machines dotted around, leaving you able to access funds where you need, however these withdrawals often have a charge by your bank attached them so make sure you check the percentage your bank charges before you travel.
Another worry many of us face is if you get food poisoning or become ill whilst on your travels. Make sure you purchase travel health insurance. This is particularly important as our EHIC cards will soon no longer work. This might help to take a small part of the worry and anxiety we experience away.
If you have a fear of flying, ensure you take something with you to distract yourself. A pack of cards, or a book might seem like simple suggestions, but concentrating on something else other than your anxiety might help you forget that you are high in the sky.
For those that don’t have medication to help conquer their anxiety, breathing exercises and meditation are solutions to help control it. Relaxing your muscles and counting whilst concentrating on your breathing can help you to centre yourself whilst on your travels, and also provide a distraction from all of the things you may be stressing about. The National Institute of Health has conducted research showing that controlling your breathing through meditation can help to relieve those suffering from travel anxiety of their symptoms.