Travelling is something I do frequently, with family and more recently with friends. Although anxiety does make it hard to focus on the travelling and feel normal and not freak out over small things, there are adjustments and changes I’ve made to my travelling and packing routines that reduces the amount of anxiety I feel when on holiday or whilst getting to the desired location.
Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD, ironically) can definitely make it difficult for me to be positive about time that I’ll be spending away from those I love. For example, a couple of months ago, I decided to go with my friends to Spain; it was a huge deal for me, and although the flying part wasn’t fun and I wouldn’t choose to do it again, the overall trip was incredible and we had a lot of fun.
Pack Very Early
Stressing out the morning you leave because you might forget something is unnecessary, and as I’m an organised person I like to pack early anyway. Get the bag you’re using and start putting things that you know you’ll need in around two weeks early; if there are any particular articles of clothing you must take, I advise packing those in advance too. Try setting everything that you’ll need out with at least two days to spare, and once you’ve done that, pack everything as neatly as possible.
Map Out Your Journey
This is another important one, and although the basics of the journey (the main flight, train, boat, whatever) will be booked, you should make sure you know about transport to and from the main mode of transport. For example, check bus times in the local area and decide which one would get you to the station for the right time, or book a hire car for the other side of your journey. Bottom line = make sure you know how you’re getting there!
If you’re going away without your family, I phone home nightly just to check in and have a quick chat. It allows me to focus more on having fun and less on worrying about them, and it’s also nice just to catch up anyway. Stay in contact with friends whilst you’re away, and always just let them know that you’ll be on holiday so replies may be less reliable, and phoning will cost them!
Allow Time Between Journeys
It will worsen the journey if you’ve booked a train two minutes after a flight, or after another form of public transport – give yourself some breathing time and try to allow at least ten minutes of change time, so if the first overruns you are still able to catch the second one. Also, if you’re unfamiliar with the area and won’t know exactly where you’re going, always give yourself enough time to transition – don’t expect to find your way super easily!
Research The Area
Although this one might be a little more specific to me, I like to Google the place I’m staying just to get a feel for the area. It should give you a basic idea of the size of the place and also what it has there, which will be useful. You can Google the exact location you’re staying at or simply just surrounding villages or cities so you’re aware of what’s close. Make a note in your phone or in a notepad about places you want to visit and things you want to do whilst there, and it should help you plan out your activities during your stay. It’s best to be organised! Another really useful thing to do that can allow you a more personal view is to read travel blogs about the area, as that will give you an individual feel, with (hopefully) no bias. Plus, who doesn’t love reading a good travel blog?
Triple Check Bag
Again, this is one I do frequently. By triple checking every little thing you’ve packed, you know you have everything you need, therefore preventing that last-minute struggle where you realise it’s too late to turn back. You’ll also feel more relaxed once you know you’ve got everything you need, and travelling will be made much less stressful.
Keep Useful Things Together
Use a binder or folder to store every little thing you’ll need on the journey – for starters, tickets, receipts, travel times and maps. As my parents sort this out I don’t have t worry about it currently, but after a school trip away and a little more experience, it’s always a good idea. You should include passports if you’re travelling abroad, and make sure to keep that binder super safe and accessible.
Take Clothes For Two Seasons
Sounds stupid? If you’re planning to go to a hot country, still chuck in a pair of leggings and a warm jumper, because what if it rains? You should always have at least one outfit that can be adapted to suit warmer or colder weather than planned, otherwise, you’ll be disappointed.
Take A Dictionary
No, not if you’re staying in your country. But one that will have the definitions of the words both in your native language and in the language spoken in the country you’re going to. A pocket guide is always helpful and if you’re not very familiar with the language spoken there, there may be limits – remember it’s good to try learning another language! Simply having one on you can help you out in a multitude of scenarios, and perhaps stop you ordering some odd dish off the menu!
Create A Playlist
This one really improves my travelling experience; having music that I can count on to calm me down and reduce my anxiety is probably one of the most useful things I do when I travel. As well as it serving as a distraction, I can also tune out and just de-stress whilst listening. When I went on a plane for the first time in ten years, I created a playlist full of songs that help my anxiety, and trust me, it really helped. It’s also something you can alter for your own benefit, and it’s super easy to do. Remember, bring headphones too!
Learn Tactics For Your Anxiety
Doing some research or going over old techniques to help reduce your anxiety is very important for before a trip away. Remember to put these tactics in use when you need them! They’ll improve the quality of your trip there and it should calm you down a little that you have such tactics.
Take Alone Time
Finally, take some time apart from the people you’re going with. Not to do everything alone, but make sure to have a little bit of downtime for you – take a walk, or a long bath, or read for an hour. It should de-stress you and will allow you to have some personal reflection, which is also a good thing.