Conquer the Top 6 Travel Anxieties

Features

Yes, travel is thrilling, but it can also trigger a whole host of worries. We talked to experts on how to best overcome common fears.

It’s happened to the best of us. We have that jolt of panic, just like that classic moment in Home Alone when Kevin’s mom, Kate McCallister, bolts up during her flight, trying to recall whether she locked everything, turned everything off, remembered everything. Most people, of course, don’t leave their kids behind, but the jitters and worries that come with the excitement of zipping off to a distant locale are common to even the most seasoned frequent flyer.

To help debunk common fears surrounding travel, whether by plane, train, automobile, or otherwise, we asked the experts to analyze the anxieties that can strike when we embark on a journey, and to suggest in-the-moment exercises or mantras to help ease those nerves.

1. The Fear: My Plane Will Malfunction

Tom Bunn, LCSW, a former Air Force and commercial pilot who now teaches a course around conquering the fear of flying, says there are so many back-up systems in place on board an aircraft that there’s very little room for something major to go wrong. “The problem during takeoff, for example, is stress hormones build up because a series of things are happening one after another,” he says. “The engines rev, the pitch changes, the engine exhaust sounds, the acceleration pushes passengers back in their seats, the plane bumps down the runway, the overhead compartments shake.”

Try This Exercise:

The 5,4,3,2,1 exercise helps release stress hormones. Stay in the moment by naming five things you see (“I see a coffee cup”). Then switch to five things you hear (“I hear a fan”). Moving on to touch, what five things do you feel? (“I feel my wedding band”). Go back and repeat each sensory step with four new things, then three, then two, then one.

2. The Fear: Crowds Are Overwhelming/Strangers Intimidate Me

As Jean Kim, psychiatry professor at George Washington University, explains it, each traveler has his or her individual agenda, often paying no mind to what others around them are doing. “Depending on one’s past history of social interactions, or just one’s physiological tendencies towards social anxiety, being around lots of unknown people can trigger one’s sense of potential threat and loss of safety,” Kim says.

Try This Mantra:

“Others around me are feeling this way, too, and they have their own goals today. My goals are: [fill in the blank].”

3. The Fear: Is My To-Do List Complete?

Remember Kate McCallister? It’s that constant feedback loop: Did I remember everything? Did I bring enough cash? Will my kids be okay? Did I pack enough? Will my luggage make it? And it can be paralyzing.

“Everyone increasingly juggles so many responsibilities and data points in today’s hectic, tech-driven society that people can feel swamped and overwhelmed and prone to forgetfulness, or anxiety about making mistakes,” says Kim. She suggests advance preparation, like writing a list to follow as you leave. “A general attitude that solutions will still exist even if something that’s missing may help.”

Try This Mantra:

“I can always adapt and find a solution at hand.”

4. The Fear: The Unknowns of Weather

Weather can make or break some trips. For some, it’s an obstacle to the planned activities. To others, it’s a safety issue, especially when it comes to flying or boating or driving. “The planes we are flying these days can handle any kind of weather, and if the destination airport has state-of-the air guidance systems on the runways, landing can be made automatically in almost any weather,” Bunn assures.

Try This Mantra:

“My safety is more important than my plans.” Or: “There are countless experts making an informed decision.”

5. The Fear: I Don’t Speak the Language or Know the Culture

When this feeling creeps in, it’s easy to stay in our comfort zone, spending most of the time in the hotel or on group tours. That could mean forgoing a rich cultural experience and missing out on meeting new people. “Some discomfort with new social customs or situations or language barriers is normal, especially if you’re someone comfortable with routine and familiarity,” says Kim. “Just remember that it’s not the end of the world if you commit a social faux pas or encounter a different way of doing things you don’t quite grasp—it’s very normal. If you encounter unfriendly people, that’s on them and isn’t your fault.”

Try This Mantra:

“When I go with the flow, I broaden my horizons and gain a new perspective.”

6. The Fear: I’m Afraid of Getting Sick

Planes have a reputation for being a breeding ground for germs. Plus there’s the lack of sleep, an all-too-common consequence of being uprooted from your routine. “While it’s true that the stresses of travel and shifting time zones can lower your immunity, and you can encounter bugs that you may have less resistance to in new places, if you are generally in good health you will usually be fine,” Kim says. “Prepare as needed by bringing medications, taking care of yourself with proper sleep and hydration, and investigating health care options where you are going in advance. Mostly any travel-related illnesses are mild and time-limited.”

Try This Mantra:

“I am capable of taking care of myself and enjoying new experiences, even if I catch a small bug.”

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Hotel Hit Squad: Child-focused fun and family cookery courses make the Grand Hotel and Spa in York ideal for a half-term break
The 8 Strangest Things TSA Found In Americans’ Luggage Last Year
Why now is the best time to visit Portugal’s vibrant, balmy second city
The Lucky Break That Launched A Wine Revolution
JOSH GATES 360: Playing With Puppies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *