Travelling with anxiety can be daunting at the best of times, but going to a foreign country is even worse, at least it is for me. Now that I’ve been to a foreign country with out the comfort of my mother and after my diagnosis of anxiety I feel I can provide real and decent advice that can help people with anxiety cope when visiting a foreign country.
1. Plan. Plan. Plan.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the day-to-day plans on your holiday, but rather accommodation, transport, insurance etc. Make sure you have all your documents, and transport sorted before going otherwise it will be full on panic mode when you reach the airport. I get myself a folder with all the important documents (boarding passes, train tickets, passports etc.) so I can see I have it all in one place. No scrambling for things, less panic.
2. Avoid Travelling at Peak Times
Trust me on this one. Travelling on public transport at peak times was my big mistake in Berlin. I felt disorientated and claustrophobic and it set my anxiety sky high. It will be busy, but you can avoid it by going for a coffee before travelling anywhere avoiding the crowds, or you could simply plan your day around it.
3. Find a Safe Space
On your first day there establish a safe place you can head back to when you’re feeling particularly anxious. For me, and probably a lot of you, it was the hostel/hotel room. It’s the place where you’re alone and can take a breather from everything. I did this every evening, though, and unfortunately missed the opportunity to go out in evenings when in Berlin. This is something I plan to work on.
4. Go With Someone You Trust
This might seem obvious, but at the start of this year I went to Dublin. By myself. For New Year. That was a mistake. I had a good time, but got very panicked when I got lost. Solo travelling might be for some, but I wouldn’t recommend it for people with anxiety.
5. Remind Yourself Why You Want To Travel
For me this was a big reason I was actually able to go on holiday this year. It can be the motivation for you to take control of your anxiety and make it so much easier to cope when you’re there.