How to Overcome Travel Anxiety


Planes, trains, and automobiles…for some people, these are a huge source of anxiety! I’ve worked with many clients who have travel anxiety and have found that it is often the result of a fear of getting motion sick, or a fear of getting hurt or dying during travel. Travel anxiety can be inconvenient at best and extremely debilitating at its worst. Imagine not being able to accompany your children to Disney World because you are so anxious about flying! Or, missing out on a promotion because you’re too anxious to do the required travel.

In working with clients who have travel anxiety, I’ve discovered some coping skills that have really helped them overcome their fears surrounding travel. Here are some coping skills that have helped my clients, and will hopefully help you too.

Holistic Therapies

Essential oils can be helpful in addressing motion sickness and invoking a sense of calm. Lavender is a soothing scent that can help a person relax, while peppermint can alleviate feelings of nausea. Ginger candies and supplements can address symptoms associated with motion sickness. Nausea can also be addressed with pressure points on the wrist.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps people identify their irrational thought patterns that contribute to their feelings of anxiety. A therapist trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will help you examine and challenge your irrational thought patterns to create a more realistic way of viewing an anxiety-provoking situation, in this case travel. In a very simplified example, let’s say you believe that if you travel in a car, you are going to get into an accident and die. Your therapist will help you examine the likelihood of this happening in the hopes of easing your anxious feelings.

Creating a Sense of Safety

When people are feeling anxious, they often seek feelings of safety and comfort. If you plan to travel, ask a close friend or family member to accompany you on your trip. If this is not a possibility, give them a call before you leave and ask them to help ease your fears. Identify other things that may give you a sense of comfort, like having a first aid kit or emergency road kid so that you feel prepared in the unlikely event of an emergency. You may also want to make plans to check in with a member of your support system by phone throughout the trip or when you arrive at your destination.

Many people experience anxiety related to traveling, and it can be very inconvenient. However, there are ways of overcoming your fears in order to be able to travel when required. Holistic therapies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and creating a sense of safety while you travel are all ways of beginning to ease your anxious feelings associated with travel. Working with a therapist can provide you with more insight into additional coping skills for travel anxiety. If you would like to begin working with a therapist to address your travel anxiety, contact The Light Program today.