Travel is an exciting opportunity to explore new places, people, and activities. However, being away from familiar surroundings and dealing with change can be challenging for some travellers; feelings of anxiety can reoccur or emerge for the first time. Anxiety disorders are manageable and if you prepare in advance and are actively coping with your anxiety, you can travel safely and enjoy your trip.
Anxiety is a mental health condition characterized by continuous and excessive worry, nervousness, or tension. It is a condition that often co-exists with other mental health conditions like depression. Anxiety disorders include panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder (or social phobia).
Feeling anxious occasionally is a common response to many situations and tasks, but a persistent state of uncontrollable anxiety can affect your ability to participate in daily activities and relationships. Feelings of intense anxiety can lead to a panic attack, a sudden and short-lived response (typically lasting 10-30 minutes) to psychological stress. For some, a panic attack can be a one-time occurrence while others may experience reoccurring attacks, known as a panic disorder (see our Travel and Anxiety tipsheet for more information).
Anxiety and travel
Anxiety can disrupt your travel plans since travel stress, jet lag, and culture shock can exacerbate anxiety and worsen symptoms. Common travel-related anxieties include fear of flying (aviophobia), being in a confined space (claustrophobia), or crowded areas (agoraphobia).
If you have no prior history of anxiety, suddenly developing symptoms can be frightening. Being away from home, not being able to communicate your distress in a different language or knowing why you’re experiencing anxiety can further increase stress levels and worsen symptoms.
Symptoms of anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety generally depend on the type of anxiety disorder, but can include:
Feelings of panic, uneasiness, and nervousness
Difficulty concentrating, irritability, restlessness
Muscle tension, heart palpitations, nausea
Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleepiness and fatigue.
Let's us know if you have experienced Travel Anxiety and how you handled it in the comments section.
The first step is always the hardest, If you want to travel but still hesitating because of anxiety then just do it. With time you will even notice that traveling helps you slowly to get ride of your anxiety.