Vacations and traveling are supposed to be fun, but many times, they cause more stress and fear than relaxation. You’ve often heard people say, “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!” As humorous as this sounds, vacation worries are no laughing matter. It’s not that the concerns are frivolous or unimportant, but that people think they have no control over them, which can create anxiety. What can you do if someone tries to break into your home when you’re away? As long as you are at your home or your place of business, you can keep an eye on things. You’d notice the prowler walking through your lawn or the dog barking at wee hours of the morning. You’d see the paper thrown on your carport and you’d be able to keep control of your home and belongings. When you are away, it seems you cannot control any of these things as easily.
There are always reasons to worry while you’re traveling, and it only takes one glance at the news headlines to come up with a few big ones: earthquakes, tsunamis, crime, bus accidents, you name it, and there are plenty of smaller problems that could cause a traveler some anxiety too. But if you have a tendency to worry like this, you really should make an effort to put these worries behind you, so you can make the most of your travels. These tips might help save you a bit of worry, or at least get you thinking about the possibility of anxiety hitting before it does, so you’re better prepared to enjoy your trip to the full.
Make a list of all the “important” things you have to take along.
Like, medicines, travel docs, IDs, credit cards, etc, to not miss out on any. Then pick the same or orderly spots or pockets in your luggage so as not to forget where did you keep what. From the clothes to functional items to shoes to earphones. Check the list off as you fill up your luggage. Take the list along with you and just look over while coming back to not leave anything off there too.
Share Your Plans
That being said, share your travel plans with a close family member or friend. When traveling abroad, you cannot be too careful and should something happen, you want to have someone that knows where you are headed, where you are staying, and when you are due home. Even if your family cannot reach you directly, they can contact the location where you are staying and get a message to you.
How would you get home if you didn’t have a passport? Sure, you could go to the embassy in whatever country you are in but you still need a way to identify yourself and many people don’t take both their drivers license and passport when traveling abroad. Being able to pull up the image can make a difference in how long it takes to get a replacement and be able to move along with your vacation and make it home easily.
What other people think
Why do you love to travel? Is it to impress other people? Probably not. Whether it’s locals, travel companions, or coworkers, what other people think about your trip is pretty irrelevant.
Let go of your ego and forget your hang ups. Show off your ability to do the Hustle. Eat with your hands (when that’s appropriate). Join a drum circle. Whatever it is you want to do, do it. Actually, strike that — you should NEVER join a drum circle. Ever.
Use Mobile Passport App
Mobile Passport is an app that allows you to forgo the paperwork that is typically needed to re-enter the U.S. by uploading the needed information from your phone or tablet directly to U.S. Customs. It is currently at 25 airports and 3 cruise ship ports in the U.S. and continues to expand every month. Once you have set up your identity, you only need to make changes if your passport information changes due to marriage, expiration, and so on.
While you are on your flight home, you enter all the information into the app as if you were completing the Customs documents that you normally get towards the end of the flight. Once you are at the gate, even before you get off the plane, you log into wifi, upload the information to Customs, and head to the re-entry area. The great thing about Mobile Passport is that while everyone else is standing at the kiosks entering their information and waiting, you are zipping through to the next available agent to be cleared for entry.
Research your destination
What are you going to do while you’re away? Where are you staying? Read up on where you’re going and plan ahead to alleviate any destination anxieties. Book your hotel, at least the first night, in advance so you know exactly where you’re going when you arrive. Note down emergency service numbers as a precaution and research how to get around. Have a rough guide of what you want to do and read other blogs about that destination for some inspiration. Not only will you likely feel more confident with a rough plan in place, it’s also a great way to get excited about your trip, too.
Probably the easiest way to get robbed: Look like you’re trying to not get robbed. Crimes probably happen in your hometown, too, but it doesn’t mean you spend all your time waiting for it to happen. Act like you’ve been there, and don’t put yourself into unnecessary danger. Flashy jewelry or expensive gadgets hanging from your shoulders might as well be bullseyes.
Moving your wallet to your front pocket is a good first step.
Set money aside for the bad days
Everyone likes to save money on the road, but forcing yourself to always go for the cheapest options can negatively affect your mental health. Staying in dorm rooms night after night, long bus journeys to save a few dollars here and there — it can all add up to one big panic attack.
Give yourself a financial safety net
Having a bit of buffer outside of your travel budget is important not only for emergencies, but also for helping you feel safer. If knowing that you can get a cab home instead of walking, having money to book a day tour so you can meet other travellers, or knowing that there’s cash for a doctor in case you get sick helps to alleviate any pre-travel anxiety, then set that money aside. You may not even use it, but knowing that it’s there can help ease anxiety.
And finally… accept your anxiety
You can be super prepared for your trip and still feel anxious – and that’s okay! Trying to not feel anxious can ironically make anxiety even worse, so don’t fight it, master it. Learning how to reduce it from an overwhelming tidal wave to a manageable quiet buzz is a huge win in itself, and is testament that despite experiencing pre-travel anxiety, you won’t let it stop you from travelling. Bon voyage!