Pre-Trip Anxiety

and how to deal with it
7 min read

Do upcoming trips make you antsy? Is a future adventure giving you butterflies in your stomach? It’s definitely happening for me as I’m writing this. I’m personally using the following steps to help turn that annoying anxiety into blood-pumping excitement. Follow along below!

Look up photos of where you're going

This might seem a little odd, but trust me. It works. If you’re getting anxious about an approaching adventure, just look up pictures of the neat places you’ll be visiting! Seeing the epic mountain range you’ll soon be hiking or the gorgeous, tropical beaches you’ll be tanning on will help you focus on the upcoming awesomeness. A resource I love using is 500px. It’s a website purely for photographers, so you’ll find some of the most mind-blowing shots on there. Nothing gets me pumped to go to Iceland more than a picture of the Gluggafoss waterfall under the radiant Northern Lights.

Meditate often

If you’ve read any of my previous Wellness posts, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate of meditation. It does wonderful things for you, both mentally and physically. In this case, meditation would be useful to use for clearing your mind. If you choose to, you can even use your time of introspection to observe exactly why your expedition is stressing you out. Is it because you haven’t packed yet? Have you not booked your activities? Is your significant other not helping the planning process? There could be several reasons for your stress just lurking beneath the surface. So, find a quiet place, plop yourself down, and pop open Headspace to get your mind right. It’s worked wonders for me, it’ll do well for you too.

Make a checklist

Checklists are one of my favorite (and simple) ways to organize your trip-based thoughts and priorities. I primarily use a checklist (specifically an app called Checklist+) for two things: creating a shopping list for items I don’t have (like gloves or chapstick), and organizing a packing list once I have them. As you can see from the photo on the left, I’m packing a lot of stuff for my trip to Iceland. If I tried to remember all 40-something things, I’d lose my mind (and forget something important). Take the stress off your noggin and input your worries into a checklist.

Talk it out

If you’re freaking out about leaving for a trip and can’t figure out why, talk to someone. Tell them you’re nervous about leaving but can’t put your finger on why. Often, you just need to talk something out and you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. I would normally suggest talking it out to yourself, but that would make for a pretty weird scene if you’re in public. Something along the lines of, “Why am I freaking out Andrew?” “I don’t know, other Andrew.” “Well, I-we need to figure it out ’cause it’s driving me nuts!” See how that could get weird? Use the Phone-A-Friend option for this one.

Use a Trip Planner

This step is contextual and is useful for the beginning stages of your travels. If you’re having a tough time figuring out where you want to go after you’ve chosen a destination, turn to an app like Google Trips. The app is pretty robust; it lets you do a bunch of useful tasks in one app. For instance, you can organize your entire trip automatically based on half-day or full-day resources. If you link your Gmail, your reservations and confirmation numbers will automatically be sent to the Trips app. You can even see suggestions for nearby sights when you’re actually walking around! I used it on my trip to New York, and it was especially useful with getting around the NY subway. Roadtrippers is also a fantastic resource, especially for those of you going on long trips or &emdash; you guessed it &emdash; road trips. It allows you to plot out your course, look through popular hikes and sights in the area, see what campsites are on that route. It’ll even tell you how long your drive time will be, how much you’ll be spending on gas, and how many miles you’ll have traveled when it’s all said and done. I’ve used both when planning trips and they’ve been invaluable. Take a look!

Do you feel less anxious now?

Just typing this out helped assuage my worries. If you’re reading this when it actually posted, I’ll be a few days through my Iceland trip already. Just know that these steps helped put my nerves at ease and they’ll do the same for you! If you have any tips or tricks for keeping calm and adventuring on, comment ’em below!