Travelling With Anxiety

Since being diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks a few years ago, I’ve gone from wanting to stay at home where I feel safe all the time to swearing that I’m not going let anxiety ruin my life. And in September 2016 I decided that meant travelling more, managing nine trips (Palma, Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, London, Winchester, Amsterdam) in the last year. I thought I’d share my coping mechanisms and so here’s my tips for travelling with anxiety.

Girl in a stripy top surrounded by purple flowers

Planning

I plan everything I want to see before I go on a trip, usually using my guidebook. I mark off landmarks on a map so I can see at a glance what’s near what, in order to maximise my time and do less walking, more seeing things. Planning also means I don’t have those panicky moments where I don’t know where I’m going and everything feels a bit overwhelming. But I make sure I’m relaxed about the fact plans can change, and so if I don’t end up following the schedule I’d written, that’s fine too.

Useful Apps

I use apps to help me navigate new places-if the bus company has an app I use it, and I swear by Rome 2 Rio for telling you how to get from A to B anywhere you like. I’ve not found a place I couldn’t find my way to yet, so it’s very helpful when you worry about things.

Mindfullness

I find the most important thing to do if I’m feeling a bit anxious is stop, look around and take everything in. I make a mental note of what I can see, what I can hear, what I can smell and just ground myself. It’s a well known technique to help with anxiety and it always works well for me.

Medication

As much as I try not to take them, my anxiety tablets are always in my purse, whether I’m popping to Tesco or travelling somewhere exotic. These days I try to remember that needing to take them isn’t a failure, and so if I need to, I do. Often just knowing I COULD is enough to ward off those anxious feelings. Actually, travelling with anxiety is a big achievement and if you need to take a couple of pills to manage that-then why not?

Whatsapp

Solo travel can be hard, it can get very lonely, and so I’m so grateful that via Whatsapp I can stay in touch with friends and family, sending messages, photos, videos and even voicenotes back and forth. You’re never truly alone when you have Whatsapp!

Camera

Photography really relaxes me and there’s nothing more soothing than heading out with my camera. So I always take it with me, and end up with lots of photos from every trip-always handy for this blog and my Instagram.

Emergency Money

I shouldn’t need it, and if I had a credit card I’d take that, but having some emergency money, or access to some, always stops me worrying about things. 99% of things that could go wrong on a trip can be solved by having enough cash.

Do you have anything else that could help people travelling with anxiety? Do you have anxiety yourself and still travel despite it?

 

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10 Comments

  1. June 18, 2018 / 11:27 am

    Wow, what a personal post! I’m lucky that I don’t have anxiety around traveling but I’ve been on flights with many a nervous person and it’s interesting to read in posts like this just how much of a struggle they are going through!

  2. June 18, 2018 / 6:39 pm

    Planning is the perfect way to stay on top of things as it means you can work out alternatives if something goes wrong x

  3. June 18, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    I can relate to anxiety when travelling, particularly around busy places. There are some really useful hints and tips here, I have also been trying to use mindfulness techniques, thanks for the reminder that it could work in travel situations too

  4. June 18, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    Great tips! I also suffer from anxiety brought on from a car accident and this has given me a few new techniques to try, so thank you 🙂

  5. June 19, 2018 / 8:25 am

    Being away from your usual surroundings always brings a level of anxiety for anyone I think – these are great tips. For me, the planning is essential – knowing what I’m going to do and researching the place before I get there. I hate that feeling of being lost!

  6. June 19, 2018 / 9:32 am

    Absolutely love these tips. Many years back now I suffered from severe anxiety and could barely leave the house. I love that you’ve included mindfulness, that really helped me through that patch. I still get panic attacks now when I’m in new environments, but as a family we love to travel. I do a few things you’ve suggested above already, but I’m definitely going to start implementing all of these techniques. Especially getting apps (genius idea) and carrying emergency money. x

  7. June 19, 2018 / 9:38 am

    Good for you, not letting anxiety run your life. I have mild ptsd after some traumatic events in my life and I have found myself becoming more and more like a homebody and nervous about doing something new – but you are right, I should make the effort to jump out of my comfort zone and travel a bit more.

  8. June 19, 2018 / 9:42 am

    This is great advice for people travelling who have anxiety. The best one is advanced planning for sure x

  9. June 19, 2018 / 11:15 pm

    Great tips! I used to suffer greatly from anxiety when I was at university. I even missed out on a study trip once because I could not face travelling.

  10. June 23, 2018 / 1:42 am

    Anxiety is so difficult to tame, but all your tips are brilliant for feeling prepared and a bit more in control. I find that hypnotherapy also works in some situations.

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