Fun, exciting, and enjoyable are all adjectives that can describe travel. And, if you are into beach vacations, you might opt for using words like relaxing.
But, it’s surprisingly common for someone that’s about to embark on a trip, no matter if it’s a short getaway or something more extended, to suffer from a bout of pre-travel anxiety.
Before determining some of the best ways to cope with it, it’s important to understand some of the potential root causes. Let’s take a look at some of them along with some ideas of how to manage them.
Why You Might Feel Anxious Before a Vacation
Anxiety can come from many different places. Here are a few of the major culprits regarding travel.
You’re Worrying About Missing Work
Many people are overworked. There are no two ways to look at it. And as such, the thought about missing a day let alone a whole week or more can send someone into and outright panic.
It doesn’t help that many companies don’t really have someone to truly cover for you when you’re gone. Instead, your work often piles up. When you get back you end up having to put in extra unpaid time to try and catch up and get back to normal.
It’s important to remember that you earned your time off. It’s part of your overall compensation. You deserve it.
If you fear that you’ll come back to a total mess, remember that it’s not your business or company. You can catch up at your leisure when you return. You don’t have to go crazy trying to get back to level even if you have internal pressure telling yourself you should.
Instead of feeling like you aren’t doing enough, view the work build up as proof showing your company just how valuable you are since they had no one employed that could cover your duties properly.
You’re Stressed About Transportation
There’s a popular saying when people discuss traveling that goes something like, “It’s not the destination but the journey.” Unfortunately, that journey isn’t always an enjoyable experience.
It’s extremely common to get the cold sweats if your upcoming trip involves some tight windows with changing flights or catching busses. Even if you are only grabbing a direct flight, the stress of knowing you’ll have to get to the airport, deal with the drop-off/pick-up traffic or find a place to park and navigate your way through the check-in/security gauntlet is enough to make anyone anxious.
There are several tried and true ways to help you cope or at least minimize any stress you’ll incur from the journey. You’ll still need to of course make the drive or sit on the plane for however many hours the flight takes, but you can try and make all of other in between shenanigans go a little smoother.
For instance, getting your itinerary organized a couple of days before you head out means there’s much less for you to worry about when the big day comes. Though many people just use their smartphone for all their documents, printing out hard copies of your flight purchase, your hotel bookings, and any tours you booked will help mitigate worries of potential tech failure.
Another tip is to make your time spent in the security line as short as possible. To do this you just need to apply and get approved for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. They aren’t free, but they certainly make your time in the airport less stressful. And, some credit cards will refund you the cost if you pay using their respective card.
Some people even get a little worried about getting to and from the airport. If you aren’t planning on leaving your car in long-term parking, you might have to try and get a friend or family member to do you a favor and drop you off. Then, you need to have someone pick you up.
All of the negotiating and planning can be a real pain in the backside. But, ride share services like Uber and Lyft are perfect for this situation. Even it is costs you a little more, the anxiety reduction may be worth it.
Your Mind is on Your Money
One of the biggest stressors for anyone that is taking a trip is that you know you’re going to spend some of your hard earned money. You’ll have to pay for your flight before you do anything else. And, even if you pay for your hotel up front, you still know you’ll be forking out cash for your meals and entertainment.
Luckily there are a couple ways to cope with overthinking your money situation. They won’t make your trip free, but they might help ease your mind so that you can relax and have some fun.
One way to not get too stressed about what you are spending is to use credit card rewards and airline milage programs to pay for your flight, your hotel, or both. Sure, those points have a monetary value so they are really free, but you get the most bang for your buck when you spend them on travel instead of in the form of gift cards. And, when you use them it also means you aren’t opening up your wallet.
Another way to cut down on money worries is to do plenty of research beforehand. Knowing when the best time of year in terms of cost to visit your destination of choice can save you tons of money. Also, shopping around and comparing hotels vs. home stays can limit your accommodation spend.
After doing the above, you can also then create a budget based on your research. Knowing how much money you have to spend each day, and sticking to the plan, allows you to spend care free as you’ve already accounted for those expenses.
While any and all of these are very legitimate reasons to feel a little uneasy, it would be a shame to allow them to influence your trip. Some of the the coping mechanisms above may help take the edge off and get you in the right mindset for enjoying your journey to the fullest.
Just remember, the entire purpose of your vacation or trip is to enjoy yourself. Stop worrying about all the details and unwind. You deserve it.
*We are not medical professionals and anxiety can be a very serious medical condition. Always consult a medical professional if you have questions or concerns regarding your health.