I think i would consider myself well traveled. Growing up with a travel agent father (for like 5 years) meant my parents took me out of the country at least once every single year, and I’ve continued that tradition into adulthood. I feel very lucky to have been introduced to travel so young, meaning it doesn’t really phase me anymore. I’ve visited some cool places and whilst I may not remember them all, it definitely set the foundations for a holiday crazy adult. I struggle if I don’t have a holiday planned or have something travel related to look forward to, it’s just how I am.
I wanted to talk a little bit about travel anxiety today – I think most people relate and most people have some sort of anxiety surrounding travel, which is normal. My anxiety isn’t centered around the physical travelling itself – I have no issues with planes, don’t mind airports and don’t tend to freak out unless someone jumps ahead of me in the queue. Then my rage comes out.
My anxiety rears its head when things are unknown. Even at home, I struggle with not having a definite plan in place in terms of what time are we doing this, what time are we leaving, where are we meeting (where EXACTLY, I need to know the co-ordinates of your feet before I feel okay) – my worst nightmare is going into an event or something not knowing what’s going on. It’s the same with travelling – I need to know how we’re getting to the accommodation from the airport and have the exact precautions in place to make sure it goes smoothly. Otherwise, I’m a bit of a mess, as my most recent holiday proved.
I also struggle if I don’t feel safe where we’re staying. I don’t like staying out late at night just in case – unfamiliar places after dark are a bit of a no-go for me. I feel a lot better in apartments than hotels, I enjoy having my own space and plenty of it. As long as the rooms we have are nice and we can lock the doors, anything outside isn’t a big worry at all. When planning this holiday, I made sure all 3 accommodations were apartments. I know this probably makes me a bit high maintenance and I could never go backpacking because a hostel is my idea of hell, but y’know. I’d rather people think I’m high maintenance than have a panic attack and end up not enjoying the holiday.
In terms of getting over these anxieties, most of it is precautions I take because I know my limits and what my anxiety can handle, so preventing it is easier than curing it when it’s happening. I make sure to book somewhere I know I’ll be comfortable in and find out how easy transport from the airport is before I book it. I had my first AirBnb experience this summer and loved it – the whole experience was definitely better than a hotel. Whilst it maybe is nice having someone just downstairs to help if you need it, having my own space is much preferred. Our hotel in Paris really got my anxiety going – the room was tiny, we could hear the people next door to us having sex, and I really just wanted to stretch out and have some peace and quiet. Most nights in Paris, I just had to lie down and breathe through the anxiety sickness. I don’t wanna have to sneak a pizza in to where we’re staying. Free the pizza.
My mum always tells me off for being a meticulous planner with my travels – she says I should be more spontaneous and just go with the flow, whatever happens will happen. I’m trying to find a balance between the two, because whilst winging it and just seeing what happens always turns out to be way more fun, I don’t want it all to go tits up and I end up panicking. I always say that someone has to be the planner, someone has to consider things like getting to the apartment, and since Max is super easy-going and doesn’t care, I take that on myself. Max is spontaneous and goes with the flow – I find it definitely helps to balance me out.
Travelling with someone you’re comfortable with is the best thing you could do, I think. Max is my best friend and the person I trust the most; I know that when I go travelling with him, I’m in good company. He helps to bring me back down when I’m having an anxious moment and also helps me prevent them altogether. We share a lot of the same opinions on things and so if I don’t like something, odds are he doesn’t either. Then I know I’m not being crazy and irrational, which I tend to be quite a lot. I would really struggle to explore new places without him – it seems like he has no fear and it’s slowly, but surely, rubbing off on me as well.
I feel very fortunate to not have plane anxiety, because I know that one is just the worst. You want to be in those new places so bad, but your mind just won’t let you go. And I wish I had some handy tips and tricks to help with plane anxiety, but I don’t. I don’t want to give someone advice on something I’ve never experienced before. I will say that I felt the tiniest bit anxious when travelling alone on a plane recently, but not even nearly as bad as it can get for some other people. I just made sure to download plenty of podcasts, drink water and make sure I wasn’t hungry. Otherwise, I hold Max’s hand during take off, landing and turbulence because I’m a bit of a wimp and those three things are just the worst.
It’s probably not the most helpful post for people who struggle with travel anxiety, but because I know what triggers my anxiety, I know what to do to prevent it. I do love travelling and as I’ve grown, I’ve developed certain anxieties around things that used to be no problem or things that I never had to deal with when travelling with my parents. I don’t let it hold me back and don’t let it put me off going away, because that’s no way to live! There’s too many beautiful places out there to let the fear of the unknown take me down.
How do you cope with travel anxiety?