For some people, the final few days before the departure date can be some of the most exciting. For others…maybe not so much. Sure, you’re excited to embark on your new adventure, but pre-trip nerves can catch the best of us no matter what your circumstances entail. Fortunately (well, perhaps not so fortunately) we’ve had our fair share of pre-trip anxiety throughout our travels. Venturing off into the unknown can be intimidating, sure, but it’s important to remember why you were drawn to it in the first place. Remember that humans are a nomadic species by nature, and if others can do it, so can you.
Identify the Source
This can be different for everyone. For me, transportation has always been the single most terrifying part about travel. It seems like the one place where pretty much anything can go wrong. What if I get on the wrong train? What if my flight is delayed? What if my uber kidnaps me and holds me for ransom? What if, what if.
Take a moment to identify what exactly it is that is tying your stomach in knots, and figure out what it will take to address it. In my case, it helps to plot out my routes and physically write down exactly what I need to do to get from place to place. Consider doing something similar.
Try to learn everything you can about how you need to get from Point A to Point B. And perhaps more importantly, learn how to let go of control.
Give Yourself a Cushion
This can be from both a financial and time management perspective. Be sure you have a good idea of how much money you’re planning on spending. Ask yourself some serious questions about what your plan is and what you’ll need to expect. Are you going to keep frugal or are you willing to splurge? If you haven’t planned out your itinerary and taken the time to ask yourself these questions, check out our tips on how to do so.
Allow yourself a day or two before leaving to prepare. Practice whatever self-care tasks work best for you. We DON’T recommend waiting until the last minute to pack, but you can also use this time to double check that you have everything you need. If applicable, be sure that you’ve allowed yourself some time after arrival to recover from jet lag. Trying to navigate an unfamiliar area – while being both anxious and exhausted – is probably not the best idea.
On the other side of this, allow yourself some time at the end of your trip to relax and re-adjust to your normal routine. Not everyone has the time to do this, but even just an afternoon to relax and unpack (yes! I’m a strong advocate for unpacking as soon as you can!) can do wonders for getting yourself back into the swing of things.
Talk it Out
Who do you talk to, when you’re stressed out about something changing in your life? Also this is a positive and temporary change, traveling is no different. Reach out to your social circle and family members. If you’re traveling with a companion, consider talking to them about any concerns you may have. If you and your companion(s) are going to be traveling together for quite a while, then you’re going to (probably very quickly!) learn the importance of effective communication, so it helps to get an early start anyway.
Be Easy on Yourself
Knowing that you’re about to thrust yourself into an unfamiliar environment where nothing is 100% certain is an incredibly stressful process, no matter how you go about it. This is ESPECIALLY true if you’re relatively new to travel, or if you’re traveling solo. While it’s important to have limitations, forgive yourself for triple-checking the flight times. Give yourself a break for making copies of your passport (ok so this one’s actually a super good idea). My point is, being nervous before a big trip is super normal.
Bring yourself something with no other purpose than comfort. A favorite book that you’ve read a million times. Download some podcasts. A coloring book, if you have the room for it. Hell, pack yourself a blanket. We won’t judge. Do what you need to do to get through it.
- Planning Advice
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