I leave in a few days to travel to Southeastern Europe, where I’ll be spending two months working as a teaching assistant. I have been traveling for years now, either by plane or car; however, there’s always this feeling I encounter within myself before I leave for a big trip. This feeling is what one would call travel anxiety. There are many unknown factors when traveling to somewhere you’ve never been to before. Before leaving to a new destination, I am constantly battling my inner thoughts with such questions as: Did I forget to pack something? Will my bank hold my credit card ? Will the locals be able to speak my native language? Nonetheless, I never let my anxiety get in the way of experiencing what beauty this planet holds outside of my suburban hometown. I would be lying if I said it didn’t take me years to control my travel anxiety. I recently have had conversations with people who would love to travel; however, they too experience some sort of travel anxiety themselves. If you are someone who doesn’t travel often and has travel anxiety, here are some ways you can cope with your anxiety:
You are not the first person to visit
I always rationalize with myself that I wasn’t the first person to visit my target destination. Many of travelers have traveled before me and managed to be fine after their journey. Remind yourself why you want to travel and you’ll see what it’s like once you get there. Also, remind yourself of the wonderful stories and experiences you will be able to share about your trip with your family and friends after you return home.
Don’t worry too much about what to pack
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I often worry about if I forgot to pack something during my traveling to the destination. When this question bothers me, I remind myself the most important things that I absolutely need with me are: passport, money supply (credit card, ATM card), and transport documents (plane tickets, train tickets, bus passes, etc.) Everything that you managed to pack prior is a bonus and you can always buy the clothing items you forgot at your destination.
Do your research
Don’t just arrive to a destination without doing your research first. Get yourself familiar with the language, greetings, table manners, currency exchange, laws, clothing, weather and what is expected of you as a guest in a host family’s home. You can always look up what other travelers have written about your destination on Thorn Three.
My travel anxiety would trigger when I felt like I wasn’t in control of how my days would play out. Therefore, you should plan out your first few days of your destination. Plan to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, write down a list of things that you would like to do and get familiar with a map of the arrival terminals of the airport in order for you to plan your route through the building. These suggestions will help make you feel like you’re in control of your trip.