Tips for anxious travellers

Travelling is fun, it’s open-minding, it’s full of new experiences but o my: what can it be stressful and trigger anxiety. I’ve posted a blogpost for the anxious flyer a couple of weeks ago, and I promised to write a blogpost about the anxious traveller. So here it is. Don’t you worry, I got you and with these tips: travelling will be a little less stressful!

I’ve travelled a lot during my 21-year old life, but it was mostly with my parents. And to be honest, you do really rely on your parents in stressful situations. I used to take a few step back and let them handle any problems so I wouldn’t have to deal with them. The thought of travelling alone completely frightened me, because I would have to take my own responsibility. I’ve now travelled a couple of times on my own, where I needed to take care of things by myself instead of relying on someone else. During these trips, I’ve learned a few things that make travelling less stressful.

The number one thing is to make sure I have everything I need and to have the most important things near me. I pack my bags very carefully, and make sure any documents like the boarding pass, my passport and phone are easy to grab so I don’t have any stress grabbing these things in a rushed situation. It calms my mind knowing that I have everything, and that I can grab any of these things quickly. Now, to make sure to have everything you need: make a list. I love making lists. Pretty sure I make lists for basically anything. It calms my mind as well, because writing it down means I don’t need to keep it in my mind. I can just grab the piece of paper and have the exact overview I need.

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Now I’ve made sure I have everything I need and it’s easy to grab: I like to plan ahead my time-schedule. I’m almost never late to anything, so with travelling I make sure I’m at the airport or the train station (way too) early. Yes, I’m that type of girl that arrives at the airport like 3,5 hours before departure or arrives at the train station an hour before departure. Because yes, I like to be on time and I do not want any stress or whatsoever about being late: missing my flight or missing the train. I don’t mind hanging out at the airport, because it’s so much more important to me to keep the calmness around the things I can control. So, the day before: I make sure I know which train to get to be at the perfect time at the airport of when to leave home to be on time.

Third thing: I need to know where to go like: where the check-in desk is. It’s absolutely fine to find out where I need to go at the airport, but I like to just make sure I know where to go so I won’t be walking around like a fool not knowing where she needs to go. I love to drop off my luggage as soon as possible, as light-packing is not really my thing (really need some tips for light packing). I’m way more comfortable walking around with my hand luggage. And, checking in is one of the stressful situations for me. So, at this time: I can just grab my passport and ticket if I need to and everything is fine.

Just stay calm when there is a problem or when there are a few questions. Listen carefully, especially when you’re in a foreign country. I had a little issue at the Bali airport, because apparently the system said I didn’t pay the connecting flight from Singapore to Düsseldorf. As a result, I needed to walk with a women after I checked-in and she made a bunch of calls. I didn’t know what was wrong in the beginning, so I calmingly asked what the problem was. Not going to lie, my heart kinda stopped when she told me there was an open payment. Excuse me, an open payment? It took a few breaths before I could explain that my school arraigned the trip and I gave the money for the tickets to school because they bought the group tickets. After that, she made another call and it turned out to be fine. This was definitely a situation where my anxiety level peaked a little bit, but trust me: stay calm, listen carefully and give clear answers. It’s not going to help you if you start panicking, stressing out or crying or anything like that, and trust me: my tears were VERY close at that moment. Just keep smiling and stay polite.

Another thing that freaks me out is going through security. I don’t know why, because I obviously don’t take anything illegal with me and I know what the do’s and don’ts are at the countries airport so I won’t have any surprises. However, I guess it’s the rush and the stressful surroundings that make me extremely nervous. It’s definitely the number one thing that stresses me out. Again, I make sure that everything I need is easy to grab. I don’t want to search for my phone, my e-reader, any chargers and stressing myself out. What I do is: I tie all the adapters together with a plastic band so it won’t get tangled up and I place them in a plastic bag. So, if I need to: I can grab the plastic bag and have all my chargers. My phone, camera, e-reader and other electronics are always at the same place in my bag, so I can grab them all together. My fluids are in a plastic bag as well, but they need to be in a plastic bag. Furthermore, I make sure I don’t wear a belt (sweatpants all the way), any earrings or watches that might trigger the alarm. However, the alarm goes off sometimes and that’s fine. Just stay calm, let them search you or answer questions about your bag, for example.

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Now, we have had the check-in desk and the security. It’s now time to relax for a bit and wait until you can board the plane. In the meantime, I like to drink some coffee or tea, listen to my favourite music or read a book. I usually sit by the gate around 30 minutes before the boarding begins, just to be sure I’m on time. Once again, I don’t want to be stressing out about missing my flight. Boarding does not make me nervous, because I have my passport and boarding pass easy to grab and that’s basically all you need. Getting on the plane is fine as well, the flight attendings will tell you which aisle to go to and just take a seat at your seat. I’ve given a few tips on the anxious flying part in this blogpost.

Obviously, if you have a travel buddy it’s much easier to travel. However, most of the activities listed above are individual things that you’ll most likely need to handle yourself. If I do all of these things, it makes me a lot calmer. And it’s not worth it to stress over things that you don’t have any control over. They might not happen, or they do happen. Either way, staying calm is my keyword and think rationally and put things in perspective. Do I like it? No. Do I need to stay calm to manage this situation as well as possible? Yes, I do. In the “anxious flyer” post, and in other blogpost, I’ve mentioned a few breathing exercises and they’ll be really helpful in stressful situations: trust me.

I hope your next trip will be a little less stressful with these tips! It’s totally okay to be nervous about travelling, and it’s okay to have an anxiety attack or to need a minute to breath. Just stay calm, things aren’t as worse as you imagine.

Love,

Melissa.

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