How to calm your nerves before traveling is a topic I’m sure we can all relate to. Whether you’re a frequent flyer as part of your job or whether you’ve never been on a plane before. Let’s be honest, booking flights can be stressful. Planning a trip can be stressful. Packing just is stressful. Making your way to the airport and checking in can be stressful. Then there is the busy and loud airport. If the thought of any of these makes your heart race with nerves, you are certainly not alone.
I travel whenever and wherever I can and even at that I still get that nervous feeling in my stomach before I go! I’ve learned to manage that over the last few years and I now know what works best for me. Hopefully, by reading this you’ll pick up a trick or two! Here is what I do when that inner critic voice kicks in and tells me to cancel my flight…
1. Identify your triggers. (Possibly one of the most important steps of how to calm your nerves before traveling)
As I said before, there is a huge chance that most of us experience or will experience anxiety around the topic of traveling. Naturally, you’ll be out of your comfort zone and in a totally new environment. I’ve learned over the years what triggers me to feel more anxious and by doing this I can control that to the best of my ability. Sometimes knowing your triggers is half the battle.
Some examples of what my triggers look like when traveling are;
- The fear of being late.
- Sometimes being out of routine and not being able to exercise sets me off.
- The fear of missing important events for my family and friends at home.
Here are some examples of what triggers for others might look like when traveling;
- The stress of planning the trip in the first place.
- A fear of flying.
- The fear of a language barrier in the country that you are traveling to.
- Sometimes the fear of experiencing a cultural difference is unsettling.
- Holding on to a previous negative experience abroad.
- Personal health concerns.
- Financial concerns and the fear of budgeting or running out of money.
- Safety concerns in a new country.
Once you identify your triggers, managing them can be a little easier. I really emphasize the word can be here because I’m not saying identifying your triggers will make your worries go away but it may help ease them a little.
2. Plan as much of your trip as possible
This is a big one. Life for everyone lately is busy and it feels like it’s going, go, go! However, I do think that being as prepared as possible for a trip can do wonders to calm your nerves. Some people that I know plan every single last detail of their trip and it helps them feel much more at ease. If planning every detail of your trip helps, do that.
Aside from the obvious of planning your flights and accommodation, here are a few extra details that you can plan to help you feel more organized;
- Firstly, packing. The dreaded packing stage. I personally think we all make packing more difficult for ourselves. Once you have the basics, the rest will follow suit. Here are the 10 things that I find most important for your suitcase/backpack. With these items in the bag, you’re honestly halfway there.
- Your carry-on bag should have all the smaller essentials. I’ve made a list here of some extra things that you should carry with you that’ll make the trip seem a little easier.
- Planning your transport from the airport. How are you going to get from the airport to your accommodation? Are you going to get a taxi, bus or train or other?
- I know I always stress this but do your research to make sure that your hotel or hostel will be exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s my guide for finding fun and cheap hostels.
- Download a map on your phone of the location that you’re traveling to that you can use offline. I use Maps.me and find it works very well.
- As mentioned above, identify your triggers. If being hate late makes you anxious, give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. If being in crowds heightens your anxiety, avoid attractions at busy times.
3. Practice relaxation
Some people may roll their eyes at this one but for me, it’s so important. Traveling, airports, packing, etc can be so stressful. Do anything that you can to feel more relaxed before and during your holiday.
Here are some ways that I practice relaxation before I go away;
- I personally love meditation and breathwork. Before I go on a trip, I’ll always do my best to carve out some time for myself the morning that I travel. Meditation can be tricky for beginners, if you’ve never meditated before, I love Sinead Hegarty’s meditation course, which you can find here.
- If you love to exercise like me, I’ll usually practice yoga or go for a long walk on the beach the morning that I travel.
- Music. Who doesn’t find music relaxing?
4. Adapt a routine
Now this one can sound controversial. Some people go away to escape reality and their daily routines. However, there are so many people who feel completely out of their comfort zone when they can’t go about their daily routines. Me, I love escaping reality but sometimes the thought of being out of routine can be triggering, especially not having time to move my body. Naturally, your routine will change traveling but you can still implement your routine into your days to some degree.
If you normally go for a walk in the morning, for example, try to factor that into your itinerary for your trip.
5. Distract yourself
This especially applies to when you’re in the airport or perhaps the morning that you’re due to travel. Is it reading a book, listening to music, or exercising? Once you’re packed and ready to go it’s time to start enjoying your trip, it starts the minute you finish work so make the most of it!
6. Remind yourself why you started
So you’ve all your research done, your flights are booked and you’ve spent hours researching. You know down to a tea where you’ll be eating and what all of your days will look like. Then suddenly you get cold feet, and an anxious stomach and you start telling yourself that it won’t be worth it and that you’d rather stay at home. Now is the time to reflect back and remind yourself of why you booked this trip in the first place. Was it to see a new place? Maybe it was to meet new friends or to try new foods. Was your reasoning for completely pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and making millions of memories? Maybe the reason you wanted to travel was to see incredible beaches like this one.
Once those thoughts of “it’s easier to cancel” or “I don’t want to go anymore” start to kick in, fast forward to after the trip and think of how many incredible opportunities lie ahead of you.
7. Respect your limits
So, this one may sound controversial but I think that it’s so vital to respect your limits and what you’re capable of. I feel that there is a huge almost pressure or fear of missing out on our generation to go live abroad for 2 years. However, if doing city breaks is your limit when it comes to traveling start with that and maybe one day you’ll build it up.
This is how to calm nerves before traveling, let me know what you do.