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Nervous of travelling? Here's how to overcome travel anxiety

Travel anxiety stops us in our tracks. As soon as we dream of a blissful escape… endless worries and ‘what ifs’ creep in and spoil the party. And likewise, when we arrive, adjusting to an unfamiliar setting can quicken our heart rates.

But it doesn’t have to be this way – because these nerve-easing tips will help you embrace the full beauty of destinations like never before.

What is travel anxiety?

elderly male traveller

Unfamiliarity can make us anxious. And this is especially true during travel since its very nature is about exploring new and unfamiliar places.

From the shock of unknown places and cultures (including those that use a different language from your own) to busy airports, turbulence and jetlag… to heaving tourist crowds… to worries about the children, pets or unread work emails at home – travel anxiety strikes us all in different ways. And at any time.

It’s impossible to soak in the wonders of a travel destination when our mind is racing. Agreed?

RELATED CONTENT: World Mental Health Day 2022 – ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’

8 easy ways to overcome travel anxiety

Ready to throw yourself into your next adventure? Read on to do it with a calm mind.

Built your safety net

a world map can help you beat travel anxiety

It’s easy for our anticipatory anxiety to run riot on the road. Meaning we worry about things that might go wrong (even though they have not happened yet). So to keep this part of our mind relaxed and focus on what’s in front of you, here are a handful of things you can do to build your safety net before you jet off and wave those worries goodbye.

  • Be clear on essential flight information and country entry requirements.
  • Sort your travel insurance details.
  • Store a back-up credit card in a safe place.
  • Keep a destination map in your back pocket.
  • Make a note of the nearest hospital in case of emergency.

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Let go of your idealised vision

The weeks and months leading up to your trip is a strange time. It’s so easy for your mind to take over and fantasise about what’s to come – and for travel anxiety to rear its head. We find ourselves looking up pictures of mouth-watering Japanese sushi, rolling Tuscan hills and idyllic Swiss villages during work calls.

But this puts pressure on our vacation as we cling to an idealised version in our head. Meaning anything different to this vision, in reality, inevitably feels like a disappointment. And we find ourselves fretting over tiny details as we travel – panicking when things don’t go as expected and we have to adjust our plans. But don’t worry: our next tip will help you with this.

Be adaptable and flexible

be flexible on tour

All great travellers learn to adapt and be flexible. It’s the nature of the game. So the next time an enormous queue stops you in your tracks or poor weather prevents your plans – it’s time to think on your feet. Trust your instincts and wander down narrow, cobbled lanes following your nose. Ask locals for recommendations. Or hire some bikes and meander Amsterdam’s labyrinthine lanes. The world really is your oyster when you open your mind.

RELATED CONTENT: Find headspace in the world’s most tranquil spaces

Reach out to your family and friends

Travelling solo doesn’t have to mean leaving everyone behind. Sometimes all it takes for us to feel settled is a call to back home. That being said, scheduling a call with family or a close friend during your trip can be an excellent way to beat travel anxiety. Plus it’s a great way to tell them about your adventures!

RELATED CONTENT: Easy tips to overcome your fears about solo travel

Bring home comforts

Similarly, bringing home comforts like a favourite pillow or book can help you feel grounded and at ease in a destination quickly. This will inject familiarity into an unfamiliar setting – and make you feel comfortable enough to immerse yourself in your new culture and surroundings.

Do little things to relax your mind

beat travel anxiety

Mental health practices are still effective abroad. So whatever your favourites are – whether that be breathing exercises, meditation, saying positive affirmations, online therapy or simply doing something you love each day (like running, taking photos, reading a book or listening to music) – it’s important to make time for your mind to keep travel anxiety at bay.

Less is more – try a shorter trip

There’s less room for travel anxiety during shorter trips. And experience tells us they can be incredibly enriching. That’s why we suggest drawing up your travel goals and planning a short break – whether that’s a long weekend or a week-long trip – to stay present and make every moment count.

GET INSPIRED BY: Short breaks with Trafalgar

Join a Trafalgar travel tour

Trafalgar Travel tours

Thanks to detailed travel itineraries full of must-see attractions, immersive cultural experiences, hidden gems, plus meals and accommodation – joining a Trafalgar tour is a brilliant way to beat travel anxiety. They allow you to soak up the best of the world without the stress of the ‘what ifs’ because all the details are taken care of by us. We promise you’ll meet plenty of friendly faces along the way, including a helpful on-the-road team who will be by your side 24/7, guiding you as you go.

Just ask our guests.

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Ready to explore the world without travel anxiety? Tell us what tip you most resonate with in the comments below!

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