Travelling abroad can be stressful for most people, but for those who suffer with anxiety, it can throw up a whole load of challenges. This is heightened further in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, when the dynamics of travelling abroad have completely changed to be even more complicated than before.
As if planning for a trip overseas isn’t stressful enough, you now have to deal with the possibility that your travel arrangements could change as late as the day of your flight. There are also lots of added requirements that you need to take into account, depending on where you’re travelling to. These factors can all combine to make you feel anxious and panicky. Thankfully, there are ways to alleviate your stress.
It might sound obvious but planning as much as you can in advance before you leave to go abroad will help to ease your anxiety symptoms. Try to choose a destination and route that’s as low stress as possible – for instance, getting a direct flight will enable you to relax better than the thought of having to change to another plane hallway through your journey – and allow for plenty of time before catching your flights to minimise panic. If possible, consider travelling with a friend or relative, rather than alone.
Don’t think about traveling overseas until you are up to date with your covid vaccinations. Different countries, territories, and states have their own requirements for visitors regarding covid, so make sure you check these several months before you go, so that you have plenty of time to carry them out. Likewise, Covid mandates will vary between airlines, so make sure you check with the individual flight company long before you go. Always keep checking in with your destination and airline up until you leave just in case these regulations change.
Look after yourself
If you’re prone to anxiety, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor or mental health specialist before travelling abroad. Inform them of the activities you might be participating in while away in case they could impact on your wellbeing. If you take regular medication to manage your condition, make sure you have enough to see you through your holiday, as well as extra in case you lose any. Have a hard copy of your prescription and a doctor’s letter to take with you.
Also, discuss with your health professional about any coping strategies to help you before and while you’re away. For instance, if you suffer from a flying phobia, your doctor might suggest certain mindfulness techniques to alleviate your distress.
Bring calming items with you to help you cope with your symptoms. These could be things such as a journal to write down your thoughts, a book that inspires you, a personal possession that brings you comfort – anything that helps. Something that will ease your stress is making sure you have a decent holiday insurance policy prior to setting off. The thought of something going wrong while abroad – whether that be theft, illness resulting in huge medical bills, or damage to your property – might be causing you significant stress, so making sure you’re covered will put your mind at rest and ease your anxiety.
Something that’ll cause you a lot of unnecessary stress is not being able to find important documents when you’re asked to present them to airport staff or border officials, especially if you’re holding everyone up at the front of a long queue. Having everything available in one file will prevent you from having to ransack your entire bag in the middle of a public place, which can be extremely stressful. Keep hardcopies of everything in a folder, as well as digital copies of your documents within a file in your phone.
The thought of travelling abroad can seem scary, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. If you suffer from anxiety, this can be even more daunting. As long as you plan ahead and discuss your trip with your medical professional, you should be able to relax and enjoy your time away.