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31 Incredibly Useful Tips Every Anxious Traveler Needs To Know

Because your anxiety doesn't take a vacation just because you do.

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We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us how they deal with anxiety while they're traveling. Here are their best tips for still having the time of your life.


2. Pack the biggest, baggiest, softest sweatshirt you have.

"And make sure it smells like home. It’s a nice grounding tool, as well as a portable sleeping bag/hideaway for plane rides." —Charlotte Hood, Facebook

3. Bring a few snacks with you.

Oxygen / Via

"I’m a picky eater so I always get anxiety about eating when traveling. I always make sure to pack granola bars and other snacks that travel well and can replace a meal. Just in case I can’t find anything I like to eat. It always takes a lot of the risk away from trying new foods! If you don’t like it, you can always eat a granola bar at the hotel!" —mackenzieh4ddd795f1

4. Pick a spot for all your important items so you're less likely to think you've lost them.

"Have a system for where all the important items (ID, debit/credit cards, meds) go. For example, I had one pocket in one bag where those items always were unless I was using them at the time. That way you don’t need to fret (as much) about whether you lost crucial items or not." —camit4ff2cda51

5. Plan your trip during "shoulder season" when it will be less crowded.

"AKA times right before and right after peak travel season. That way, the weather is still good, but the crowds are at a minimum. I have major crowd anxiety. Most tour books/informational websites will tell you when their shoulder season is." —Terri Pous


6. Research the shit out of where you're going.

"I will read two to three books on the location if possible. I also make sure to learn a few words and phrases, dress like the locals if possible, and learn the customs and make a list of all the things to avoid that could offend or make me stick out and look like a tourist." —Geneviève Touzin, Facebook

7. And keep it all in a binder you can bring with you, along with maps, receipts, etc.

Warner Bros. / Via

"I have a binder full of information; emergency info (hospital, police, emergency contacts), driving/walking directions for every place I will want to go, hotel info (address, phone, reservations), activity info (phone number of location, address, rates, etc.), food info." —MysteriousNebula

8. Create a super detailed itinerary.

Instagram: @anxioustraveler

"My anxiety is definitely rooted in the unknown. I create DETAILED itineraries and EVERYONE on the trip gets a copy of these itineraries as well as a family member at home. ALL of this, of course, Is backed up with copies on Google Drive." —Lauren Quijada, Facebook

9. Check out Google Maps satellite view.

Google Maps

"I like knowing the basic routes from where my hotel/apartment is to wherever it is I am planning to visit. It has helped on multiple occasions to have visual touch points so that I do not feel lost or so out of sorts in the new place. Also, just knowing what the building looks like saves me from spinning in circles trying to read the signs to figure everything out." —Kristen Scheffel, Facebook


10. Make a packing list, seriously.

Instagram: @yanoudatoi

"I check the weather and plan accordingly. I then lay out all of the clothes I want to bring, and make sure they’re all 1) things I will wear, 2) functional, 3) versatile with other things in my bag. This prepares me and keeps me from over packing. I list everything I’m choosing to bring, even down to jewelry and electronics. I keep the list and bring it with me while I travel. When I’m packing to go home, I can check the list and make sure I’m not forgetting anything." —kaleyn

12. Don't leave anything to the morning or day that you leave.

Instagram: @cotton

"I make a checklist for what I will accomplish the night before I leave [for my trip] about week before I leave. When I wake up, I should have accomplished EVERYTHING I needed the night before." —Ariana Sigel, Facebook

13. Talk to your doctor about potential prescriptions.

Flickr / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: lookcatalog

"[I bring] Xanax prescribed by my doctor in case I do have an anxiety or panic attack. I don’t take it unless I absolutely need it but when I’m out in the world it is comforting to know that if I have an attack I can help myself within minutes if I have to." —Flowerpower0813


14. Plan ahead to make going through security as easy as possible.

"I never want to be that one person holding up the line taking off your fancy ass lace up boots or whatever. Wear flip flops, light T-shirt, remove all jewelry (though I've been informed small rings and necklaces are ok), and check your pockets for change and balled up tissues that might set off the scanner. Don't roll up your jeans or have them bunched up at the ankles since that can prompt an extra search too. Leave your jacket in your carry-on and take it out after you clear security if you must have it." —Carli De La Cruz, Facebook


17. Make sure your necessities are in your carry-on or try to not check a bag at all.

"I spend pretty much my whole flight worrying that I'll find out when I get there that they lost my luggage. To help, I make sure my carry-on has enough essentials (two sets of clothes, basic toiletries, that kind of thing) that I wouldn't be totally screwed if that happened. I won't check a bag if I can help it, though." — Anaïs Francis


21. Consider upgrading to first class if possible.

Instagram: @peter_the_cavapoo

"I know, it’s hella expensive. I have awful anxiety on planes… but with first class, you have breathing room. You can move around way more easily, you have room to fall asleep comfortably, etc. My anxiety was pretty nonexistent in first class. It was worth it." —Kiran

22. Don’t assume that your anxiety will hinder or ruin your experience.

New Line Cinema / Via

"I deal with anxiety and panic attacks on a regular basis, so when I was traveling to Cuba I automatically assumed that I’d be riddled with anxiety and would not be able to have a good time. Because of these thoughts I only became more anxious. I am now not afraid to vacation because I have learned that if panic ensues it does, but it’s not guaranteed." —Amanda K., Facebook

23. Be prepared for your schedule to go out the window.

"Be aware and accept ahead of time that so many parts of traveling are out of your control. Go into the situation ready for things to not look exactly how you planned them." —janayenicolel


24. Limit yourself to one activity per day if you get overwhelmed.

"Trying to squeeze in so much in such limited time can be overwhelming, so I prioritize what I want to see and do in order to allow myself some recuperation time." —marleypirochta

25. Have some downtime away from the people you're traveling with.

"I’ve learned that sometimes it pays to stay behind from a meal or event to just have time by myself in the room, take a nap, and refresh. I always felt like I was missing out, but now I realize that it helps me to relax and makes the rest of the vacation enjoyable." —m4b5ebb41e

26. Stop to do some breathing exercises when you're too overwhelmed.

Instagram: @holisticitilyfe

"I find two things I can touch, one to hear, and focus on those sensations for three breaths. It helps me center myself before continuing." —Grace Lorette, Facebook

27. Go on those cheesy tours.

"If the city has one of those red double-decker bus tours, do it! Yes they’re cheesy and you look like such a tourist. But you are a tourist! It’s a great way to see everything and you can hop on or off at any time." —jessicaj40cc0dce1


28. Don't try to hide the fact you're anxious.

Zazzle / Via

"You’d be surprised how often simply telling someone you’re upset will help so much. I find that it brings out a lot of kindness in people which is exactly what I need when I’m having an anxiety attack abroad." —katherine robinson

29. Journal during downtime.

"It’s not something I do at home, but when I’m away and I need to get my thoughts out, it helps a lot to write them down. It also helps to write the good things down. It’s nice to be able to go back and remember some of the moments my anxiety might otherwise have stolen from me." —LoisSanborn

30. Check in with people back home if you need.

"I check my Facebook, which is my main source of contact to a lot of people. I do this literally every time we stop so then I can relax and know that everyone is OK, because that is what I’m scared of — missing out on knowing if one of my friends or family members has something bad happen to them." —justinealid

31. Be kind to yourself and pause for self-care when you need it. / Via

"Give yourself some time alone to check in with yourself. How are you feeling, why are you feeling that way, is there anything practical you can do to help? Let yourself feel your feelings, cry and be sad if you want to, or punch a stack of towels if you want, whatever you need to deal with your emotions. Don’t feel like you’re being selfish by taking time away from everyone else, it’s important to take care of yourself." —kaleyn


This piece is part of a collection of travel stories meant to inspire you to explore the world — and help you make it happen. Click here for more Travel Week content!