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8 Ways to Manage Pre-Trip Anxiety

by Sarah Piccini Feb 28, 2009
Planning for travel can be super stressful. The key is pre-planning and keeping things in perspective.

MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE similar feelings before traveling. You’ve been looking forward to your trip for months. Now that it’s finally here you’re feeling unsure of yourself and your decision. Even an experienced traveler may get nervous before a solo trip or an extended journey.

Take a deep breath and follow the following suggestions:

1. Find a mantra.

Sometimes having a single memorable quote can be all it takes to stay focused and calm. In her article, The 50 Most Inspiring Travel Quotes of All Time, Matador editor Lola Akinmade writes, “Memorable travel quotes are like messages found on the beach; beautiful, timeless, and read at just the right moment.”

Find a quote that speaks to you. Write it down; put it in your journal or in your planner, reminding you of the reasons why you travel.

2. Peruse travel blogs.

Beyond just info and tips, good travel blogs provide inspiration and perspective and a sense that others are passing through similar feelings and experiences. Check out Almost Fearless and Euros Ate My Dollars. Search Matador for blogs that relate to where you’re traveling.

3. Set a game plan for healthcare, emergency contacts, mail, and taxes.

This is the part almost nobody likes to deal with, but if you get it out of the way early it can save you from more stress later on. Having a game plan for medical emergencies while traveling is key.

Similarly, taxes, mail, and other paperwork can be much more stressful if you have to deal with them on the road instead of at home. Here’s a great guide for tips on all of these.

Finally, if your anxiety comes from fear of the unknown, prepare numbers you can call. Look online to find the local emergency numbers of the place you are visiting, as well as having all of your personal contacts in order. Also, if you are traveling in affiliation with a school or business, carry contacts you can reach if needed.

4. Keep in touch.

Separation from family and friends is always difficult. One method of dealing with this type of travel-related anxiety is to create easy methods of communication. This could be something as easy as a Facebook or Myspace account. You could also set up a blog on Matador that your family can visit. Another good way of keeping in touch is sending weekly emails.

5. Remember how amazing your trip is going to be.

There is a reason you wanted to go: remind yourself of it now.

6. Provide plenty of time to pack and remember last minute items.

There is no greater stress than realizing the day before you leave that you still haven’t gone to the bank, to the store for a few more pairs of socks, or called your credit card company to let them know that you are going to be out of town.

Give your mind a break and begin packing several days before your departure. There are entire articles dealing strictly with packing as well. How about a 2 minute video that shows how to get everything you need into a single carry-on?

7. Plan ahead for flight fears / boredom.

For most people, trips include a ride in an airplane. If the flight makes you edgy, Fodor’s offers some effective tips to beat airplane anxiety.

8. Remember: you can handle it.

Travel is messy and rarely goes according to plan. You just have to be flexible enough to deal with what is thrown your way. There is no greater asset to the traveler than the ability to adapt!


For more tips for nervous flyers, check out 5 Simple Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Flying.

What are your pre-trip calming rituals?

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