Travel Anxiety after Covid-19: How to Overcome Reiseangst
The terms Reiseangst and Tourophobia have been more relevant than ever during the emotional rollercoaster we call 2020. Just imagine; on top of all the negative scenarios, you now find yourself worrying about frequent flight cancellations, constant changes in health declarations, screenings, and quarantine procedures. International travel will add new layers of fear, such as getting ill while abroad, infecting others, the status of your travel insurance, and the quality of local healthcare in your destination. Honestly, it can be too much for many travelers. Indeed, research conducted on individuals in China –both locals and foreigners — revealed that over 90% of the participants developed travel anxiety after Covid-19. That said, things will reach a new normal, and sooner or later, you will have your first travel after the pandemic. If your stomach is getting cramps just by the thought of it, here are some useful tips to help you overcome your travel anxiety.
1- Do Your Homework
When it comes to anxiety, procrastination and avoidance are inevitable. Travel anxiety is no exception nowadays; you have to adhere to a whole set of new regulations like wearing a mask or going through pre-screening. If doing research about these regulations leaves you paralyzed, here are some tips to help you:
- Start your research in advance to get a grasp of the situation.
- Break down your research into smaller parts, such as the packing list for Covid-19, documents you need to bring, the travel etiquette of the country you are visiting, etc.
- For the documents and screening procedures, follow the updates regularly on official government websites, as well as airline companies.
- Don’t fall into the vortex of Google by reading hundreds of websites. You will end up getting overwhelmed. Instead, follow 2–3 most trusted resources like WHO.
- Learn about the travel etiquette of your destination to avoid disappointment. All countries have some measures in common like compulsory use of masks, but some countries might have additional rules. Using the FOLO app, you can find out if there is a curfew in place or if you have to book in advance for visiting a tourist attraction.
2- Pack Like Naomi Campbell
Okay, you probably don’t have to wear a hazmat suit as she did, but you can always channel your inner Naomi with hygiene practices. In an extraordinary situation like a pandemic, you don’t have any control over several factors, but you do have a lot of power to control your personal hygiene.
When you are packing for your post-Covid-19 trip, bring generous amounts of wet wipes, travel-sized hand sanitizers, and disposable gloves. Not only can you use them to keep your hands clean of germs, but you can also maximize the hygiene of your belongings and your seat on the plane or the bus. The fact you have tried your best will bring you a sense of ease and confidence.
3- Practice Mindfulness and Self Care
Given the circumstances, it is no surprise that the number of people with an anxiety disorder has increased drastically. During a study conducted in Italy, a country under strict curfew for weeks, over 40% of the participants developed depression and anxiety in a matter of weeks. Luckily, the number of mobile mindfulness apps increased as well. What is a better time to use these apps than your next trip? You can mitigate your post-Covid-19 travel anxiety with the tip of your fingers.
There are many mindfulness apps, including but not limited to Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer. They have tons of helpful exercises from breathing techniques for calming the nervous system to thought-reframing practices and gratitude journals. In their recent updates, you can even see Covid-19-specific mindfulness techniques.
While we are in no position to prescribe medication, we can still emphasize the importance of self-care. There are many natural remedies that will help you to relax before your trips, such as chamomile tea, essential oils, or Epsom salt. A little self-spoiling before and during the trip can go a long way. That said, you should always consult your doctor for the best advice on coping with your travel anxiety.
4- Download Your Favorite Podcasts and Shows
It is frustrating, but you sometimes have to wait for hours at the airport for your transit or outside your hotel for the tour bus. This long wait can drag you into a series of negative thoughts like a domino effect. So, why not occupy yourself with something fun?
Nowadays, you can download your favorite podcasts and shows on platforms like YouTube or Spotify. That way, you can use your phone to watch your favorite YouTube channel or Spotify podcast even when there is no internet. For the sake of your sanity, we would recommend that you watch something either hilarious or educational, or both. Laughter, in particular, is one of the best remedies for anxiety.
5- Follow Good News
One of the main reasons behind our travel anxiety during Covid-19, or Covid-19 anxiety in general, is the constant flux of worrying news. Nowadays, it’s all about the stats of infection rates, casualties, lockdowns, the second wave of the pandemic, and future predictions. Quite frankly, it feels like taking a How to Get Severely Depressed 101 class, but the news doesn’t have to be so negative all the time.
Among the clouds of madness hovering over us, there is still kindness in the world. Some accounts on social media have now dedicated themselves to spread the good news all around. Accounts like Good News Movement, Upworthy, and Some Good News share uplifting stories every single day.
These stories have a broad range: abandoned pets finding happiness in their new homes, brilliant scientific discoveries, donations for the disadvantaged, individuals helping out the neighborhood, and drag queens entertaining cancer patients… You might even find yourself shedding tears of joy. These uplifting posts will help you to shift gears from a pessimistic mindset to a more realistic one, where you can see the bigger picture and the harmony between the good and bad news.
How do you snap out of your travel anxiety after Covid-19? Let us know in the comment section down below!