Today is world mental health day, which takes place every 10th of October. Every year they have a different theme or subtitle to...
Counteracting the Anxiety of Travelclackapedia
I travel all the time for work, as well as I like to visit my friends who happen to be scattered throughout the US and the world.
I also suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder… which can sometimes make travel a hectic ordeal for me. Nevertheless, over time I have developed some coping mechanisms as and tips to allow me to travel as seamless as I can without acting my anxiety up too much. If the anxiety is there, I’m ready for it!
Since next week I’m flying to Colorado for a business trip, seeing three friends while I am in Colorado. The day after returning driving to DC for a friend’s birthday, then the next day to a Wedding, I figure this is the best time to go through my systems, as this is some of the most hectic back and forth I’ve had for some time.
It’s a lot, but I’m willing to push myself a bit to be able to see all the wonderful souls who I care about and care about me! On that note, let’s get started on how to give travel a chill pill!
If you don’t already have one, create a TripIt account! It’s free, and allows you forward any flight, hotel, or car reservation email you get to firstname.lastname@example.org where they create your own custom itinerary with all your data ready to go! No worries about losing any details of your flights or hotels! They have a paid tier to get instant updates for delays an gate changes etc. but I find it’s not necessary. For most people the free tier is just fine.
If you do want instant updates, check out App In The Air, which for a much lower price gives you those updates and you get them for life! The app can pull your itinerary from TripIt so you don’t have to do anything else extra!
Since I’m going on a business trip then 2 immediately after personal trips, I will be packing my luggage for all these trips at once. This reduces my focus and energy having to do the same task 3 different times, all I have to do is drop of the “empties” at my apartment upon return. This is made especially easier with the packing cubes I use. If you don’t have packing cubes, you should really look into packing cubes! They make a surprisingly large difference you’d never expect until you use them yourself!
At least for me, a good chuck of my anxiety can come from a lack of control, which is certainly elevated when traveling! The biggest things that can be a pain for me traveling is the unknown road or hotel noise, so I take care of that with two extras:
With the ear plugs, I am covered out and about it the music is too loud, and with the white noise generator, I don’t have to worry if my neighbor is a galloping horse! I go more into what I pack in these articles:
My Regular Travel Bag
My Tech Travel Bag
Do you fly at least once a year? You need TSA PreCheck. Yes, you fill out some very in depth paperwork and get fingerprinted, it’s (in my opinion) absolutely worth every hassle to go through the process (Hell depending on your job, you may have already provided uncle same this info about yourself anyway!). Once, you’ve done it you’re good for 5 years! Just make sure you put your PreCheck number in your Flight Reservation and Frequent Miler Profiles!
The lines are shorter, you can breeze through without nearly the hassle, and it just significantly lowers the stress of travel. On my last flight I had pre-check and a coworker didn’t. I breezed through security, while he had to run to the gate to make it in time. Just Do it!
PROTIP: Are you planning on international travel? Go for Global Entry! It’s only 15$ more and covers express customs re-entry. When I came back from Germany a few weeks ago, I cleared customs in 5 minutes!
Chances are you’ll hit a hub as part of your travels. If your layover is anymore than one hour, Go to an airport lounge. Free Wifi, Booze and Food! I should say you pay with admission, of course but again, worth every penny! If you fly with any kind of regularity you need to get a membership added to your list.
Depending on what credit cards you have, you may already have this access! Amex Platinum, Chase Reserve and Citi Prestige all offer some level of lounge access as part of their membership.
Don’t fly often but still want to take the advantage? Many people who get free access as a perk for different memberships sell their passes on eBay! For the cost of an overpriced snack in the airport, you’ll have a much better time!
The new and the familiar
In a new location it can be exciting to try the local events, cuisine and see all the sites! That said, there is noting wrong with every once in a while having a little taste of home, whether that is a steak at a chain restaurant you like at home, or watching a TV show in your hotel room that you watch every week. It can do wonders for resetting you and calming the nerves.
Listen to yourself
Your gut will let you know if you’re in a bad spot, there’s noting wrong with pulling back and spending some time in your hotel room recharging! Travel takes a toll. Some people can go non stop on a specific schedule, some play by ear and go at a slower pace. There’s no wrong answer and look out for yourself!
I’ve made the mistake on occasion of pushing through my body telling my to step back and suffered the consequences, so always listen to your body and stay aware!
Refocus your energy
The anxious feeling’s energy can be used to your advantage on occasion with refocusing it to a more positive task at hand! For example, I’m writing this blog post! I decided if I’m going to have to figure out what I’m doing with this, share my problems and solutions with the world. There’s always a chance someone else out there is going through the same thing and I can lead a helping hand.
It’s part of why I started this blog in the first place!
Hey there anonymous stranger! You’re not alone! Please let me know if this helped you in the comments. If comments are a little to nerve racking, no worries! I have a contact form you can use as well 🙂
Until next time, Clackapedia signing out!