Home / Blog February 27, 2024

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10 Ways To Deal With Anxiety When On Vacation

Traveling is often synonymous with excitement, exploration, and relaxation but for some people, the journey away from the familiar is often accompanied by anxiety. In this blog, we delve into why some people might experience vacation anxiety.

anxiety when on vacation


Travel anxiety usually stems from fear of the unknown and post-travel adjustment.

Symptoms include emotional avoidance, increased heart rate and even sleep problems.

It helps to address packing anxiety and recognize and manage post-travel depression anxiety. 

Did you know?
Aviophobia, or the fear of flying - a common source of travel anxiety - affects approximately 25% of the population.

Whether it’s the stress of packing, the fear of being far from home, or the unease that lingers during and after the trip, travel anxiety can cast a shadow on the sunniest of vacations. In this blog, we delve into the intricacies of travel anxiety, from its roots and symptoms to strategies for managing the turbulence within.

Let’s dive in as we unpack the suitcase of emotions often accompanying the journey away from home!

What Is Travel Anxiety?

Travel anxiety refers to feelings of nervousness, worry, or fear that people experience before, during, or after traveling. It can manifest in various ways and may stem from a variety of sources, including fear of flying, concerns about safety or health while traveling, worries about getting lost or missing connections, fear of unfamiliar environments or cultures, or anxiety about being away from home or routine comforts.

Travel anxiety manifests as a range of emotions and can impact various aspects of a person’s mental well-being. So in the next section, let’s look at some of the reasons behind this experience.

person carrying bearaby travel napper

What Causes Travel Anxiety?

Here are the main reasons behind the nervousness that people feel before, during, and even after traveling:

Psychological Aspects:

Fear of the Unknown: The prospect of encountering unfamiliar environments, cultures, and situations can trigger a heightened sense of uncertainty, leading to anxiety. This especially manifests when traveling abroad - the fear of being far from home is rooted in the discomfort of being in an unfamiliar environment.

Control and Predictability: Travel often involves stepping outside your comfort zone, relinquishing control, and navigating unforeseen circumstances. If you find comfort in routine and predictability, this shift can create a sense of vulnerability and anxiety.

Anticipatory Stress: The anticipation of an upcoming trip can induce stress as you grapple with the myriad details associated with travel, including planning, packing, and organizing. Your mind can generate scenarios that trigger anxious thoughts, contributing to anticipatory stress.

Fear of Disruption: Travel disruptions, such as flight delays, changes in accommodations, or unexpected challenges, can be a significant source of psychological distress. The fear of plans going awry and the perceived inability to manage disruptions contribute to travel anxiety.

Emotional Aspects:

Separation Anxiety: Travel often entails physical separation from familiar environments, routines, and support systems. This can evoke feelings of vulnerability, loneliness, or homesickness, heightening emotional distress, especially for those with a strong attachment to their home environment.

Performance Anxiety: The pressure to have a perfect or enjoyable vacation can contribute to performance anxiety, leading to feelings of inadequacy or disappointment if the experience does not align with idealized visions.

Social Anxiety: Interactions with unfamiliar people, cultural differences, and the need to navigate social situations can trigger social anxiety during travel. The fear of judgment, miscommunication, or social discomfort can contribute to emotional unease

Post-Travel Adjustment: Emotional aspects of travel anxiety may extend beyond the journey itself. The process of readjusting to familiar surroundings after returning home can evoke emotions such as post-travel blues and a sense of emptiness or discontent.

Next, let’s take a look at how these factors may play out in the form of symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Travel Anxiety?

People experiencing travel anxiety usually exhibit signs of restlessness and irritability. Excessive worrying about various aspects of the trip, including logistics, safety, and potential challenges, is a hallmark symptom of travel anxiety.

Some people exhibit avoidance behaviors, steering clear of planning or discussions related to the trip. This avoidance serves as a coping mechanism to alleviate the discomfort associated with travel anxiety.

Anxiety often manifests in physical symptoms, and a nervous stomach or digestive discomfort is a common indicator - think: stomachaches or nausea. Other physiological responses include an increased heart rate and sweating, as well as tense muscles. Many people who have travel anxiety also find it difficult to get a good night’s rest before or during a trip.

In the next section, let’s look at how you can get some rest despite all of these symptoms.

How To Sleep Before A Big Trip

If you’re having sleeping problems before your trip, or while at your destination, we recommend these solutions:

1. Establish a Bedtime Routine: Create a calming bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. You can try activities such as reading a book, practicing relaxation exercises, or taking a warm bath. Consistency is key, so try to stick to your routine even when traveling.

2. Create A Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make sure your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep. This includes keeping the room cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine to block out any disruptive sounds, and use curtains or blinds to block out light if necessary.

3. Use Sleep Aids: You can also consider a weighted blanket to deliver deep touch pressure over your body; if you would like to carry it to your travel destination, we have the perfect solution for you - our Travel Napper comes in three weight options (6 lb, 8 lb, 10 lb), and comes with a duffle bag for an easy way to take calm on the go!

4. Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Healthy Diet: Hydration and a balanced diet contribute to overall well-being and positively impact sleep quality. Avoid excessive alcohol intake and stimulants like caffeine or electronic devices close to bedtime. These can interfere with the ability to relax and fall asleep.

5. Exercise Regularly: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime - walk often when you are traveling! Exercise can help alleviate stress and contribute to better sleep.

6. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. Try to avoid screens such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs for at least an hour before bed.

7. Avoid Caffeine And Heavy Meals: Consuming caffeine or heavy meals close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and opt for lighter meals in the hours leading up to bedtime.

8. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can affect your sleep quality, so be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. However, try to limit your fluid intake in the hours leading up to bedtime to minimize the need for bathroom breaks during the night.

9. Consider relaxation techniques: If you’re feeling anxious or restless before your trip, consider practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization exercises to help calm your mind and body.

10. Try Herbs: If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you may want to try natural sleep aids such as herbal teas (like chamomile or valerian root), melatonin supplements, or aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender.

Next, let’s look at another common reason behind travel anxiety: packing.


What Causes Severe Packing Anxiety?

The fear of forgetting essential items is another common root of packing anxiety. It stems from the desire to be well-prepared for the trip, and the worry that overlooking a crucial item could lead to inconvenience or discomfort during the journey. This fear often intensifies as departure approaches, contributing to heightened stress.

To help cope with packing anxiety, try the following tips:

Create a Comprehensive List: Begin the packing process by creating a comprehensive list of essentials - you can try categorizing items based on their importance and relevance to the activities planned! Having a structured list provides a clear framework for packing.

Prioritize Essentials: Identify and prioritize essential items that are non-negotiable for the trip, such as travel documents, medications, and specific clothing items. Focusing on the absolute essentials helps streamline the packing process and minimizes the fear of forgetting critical items!

Stay organized: You can organize belongings using packing cubes or sections within the suitcase - group similar items together, such as clothing, toiletries, and accessories. This makes locating items during the trip easier, reducing anxiety about misplaced essentials

Start Packing Early: Begin the packing process well in advance of the travel date - with ample time to prepare, you will be able to revisit the packing list, make thoughtful decisions, and avoid the last-minute rush.

Even after you’ve packed well and had a fun trip, you may still face some anxiety after getting back home. Let’s look at this more closely in our last section.

pink bearaby travel napper with bag

What Is Travel Depression Anxiety?

Travel depression anxiety is a phenomenon where someone experiences feelings of sadness, emptiness, or a sense of letdown following a trip. It’s normal to feel a sense of melancholy after the excitement of a trip - and allowing yourself to experience and process these emotions is crucial.

By reflecting on the positive aspects of the trip and recalling memorable moments, experiences, and personal growth gained during the journey, you can help counterbalance feelings of sadness after travel. Also, share your experiences and memories with loved ones. They can provide emotional support and alleviate feelings of loneliness or emptiness - and if you make upcoming plans with them, you can have a sense of purpose and excitement, mitigating the post-travel slump!


Travel anxiety is a common experience that can dampen the excitement of vacationing. It often stems from fear of the unknown, concerns about safety, and worries about being away from the comforts of home. To combat travel anxiety, establishing a calming bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment can be beneficial. Additionally, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and limiting screen time before bed can help improve sleep quality. Understanding the roots of travel anxiety, recognizing its symptoms, and implementing effective coping strategies, helps you transform your travel anxiety into preparation for a restorative journey that can help enrich your experiences.