Overcoming Anxiety as You Prepare to Travel Again

Last updated January 15, 2024

Travel is gearing up for a comeback, as vaccine boosters are rolling out, quarantine regulations are lifting and hibernation is coming to a close. 

In a recent survey from American Express Global Travel Report, 87% responded that having a trip planned in the future gives them something to look forward to. In addition, 47% indicate wellness and mental health a top motivator for traveling.

Yet, there’s still a lot of unease and doubt around traveling at the moment. In a way, it’s like falling off a bike and getting back on it the first time after; you know how to do it, but there’s a hesitation out of human survival instincts that has you digging your heels into the ground prior.

When it comes to travel, only you can make the choice of when you’re ready or what’s best for your own health. 

But, if I’ve learned anything over the years as a resilient little being on this planet, mindset and preparation can be one of the greatest tools to overcome any fear. 

This article will share with you tips and tools to ease your travel fears for your upcoming air travel journey.

What’s Your Why

Your thoughts and mind create your reality. Deep underneath the hesitation is an underlying fear that’s most likely one of the culprits keeping you in a “flight, fight or freeze” position.

That fear probably is very valid and real, so don’t dismiss it. Instead, acknowledge it. Let it be real. Own it. Then, move on to the next paragraph.

What’s Your Goal

Why is it you’re traveling in the first place? What’s your actual objective of this trip or adventure? Once you have a clear idea of your why, you can train your mind to put the focus on the goal, rather than the fear.

I utilize this mindset strategy for overcoming life obstacles in auditions for acting, pitches for new business as a producer, and life choices in general. We all have our own fears, but we’re also the only ones who can decide which holds more power: your fear, or your goal.

Now that we have the backbone behind the travel strong with your mind, the next part is all about the prep. Again, only you can decide when you’ll ultimately feel and be safe for traveling again. There are far too many variables to give a general consensus.

Step-by-Step Guide for When You Travel Again

If you do find today’s the day to go book that trip you’ve been waiting for all last year, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you prepare, reducing the fears and anxiety currently surrounding travel.

1. Pre-Travel

Each country, airport, airline and even state has different regulations at the moment regarding travel restrictions. This is slowly lifting, however, there’s no one-size-fits-all.

Two weeks, then one week, and again, 72-hours prior to your departure, check the document and testing requirements for the variables mentioned above (country, state, airport, airline). It’s beneficial to check more than once, because things are changing rapidly around the world.

Some airlines have partnered with third-party tools that make it easier to see what you need prior. I fly American Airlines out of their hub in Miami most often and use Sherpa to check the requirements before booking, and again, before flying.

2. At the Airport

Bring a mask, or three. They’re required in just about every public area, including rideshare, trams, airports, planes, and hotels.

As much as possible, things will be touchless and distanced. Automated check-ins, social distancing spacers in the airport, limited lounge access, and plastic barriers between yourself and TSA or the counter agents (if needed).

Wear your mask, keep your distance, be mindful of others, and keep the hygiene level at a maximum.

3. Selecting/Staying At Your Hotel

This will greatly vary, depending on where you’re choosing to stay; however, a few general notes:

  • Prior to selecting, ensure that the hotel has a very high standard for cleanliness. Regulations in the United States will be different than those in other countries. Do your own work, and (a personal tip): avoid the buffets.
  • You’ll need to wear a mask in most public areas and not all amenities will be open or available either. For example, when I stayed at Palmaia Resort in Playacar, QR, Mexico, I had to reserve the gym in advance in the times it was open between cleanings. The same for their spa, it was open, but in limited access and hours with reservation only.

4. Returning Home

This goes back to the pre-travel planning and checking to see what the re-entry regulations are for the United States (or, country of origin) before you return.

Most likely, you’ll need to fill out a health form or waiver online or in the airport prior to entry, and/or a COVID test proving negative anywhere from 24 to 72 hours before your departure.

Many hotels are providing testing on-property if it’s required to return back to the United States, removing one of the hurdles for travel. Check to see if your destination is providing it if required prior to booking.

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