How To Overcome Anxiety Of Travelling Alone: Travel Tips For Worry-Free Holidays

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A woman wearing a backpack stands alone in front of an ornate building to illustrate the topic of the anxiety of traveling alone.

This article was published with the endorsement of a clinical psychologist.

As people living with underlying medical conditions, we understand better than most that planning a holiday (or even a solo world trip, for the more adventurous of us out there) can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. 

The fear of travelling alone is called travel anxiety, and it’s a very common problem many travellers face. Whether it’s concerns about managing medical needs while on the road, the fear of unexpected health flare-ups in unfamiliar places, or just the general uncertainty that accompanies exploring new territories solo… We have a lot to think about!

But don’t worry – we’re here to help you enjoy your passion for travel so you can explore new destinations and make long-lasting memories without any extra stress. In this article, we’ll explore some reasons why you may be scared of travelling alone, how to overcome travel anxiety, and give you advice for travelling solo.

From practical tips on packing wisely, choosing suitable accommodations, and navigating foreign healthcare systems, to empowering you with confidence and a positive mindset, we’ve got your back!

Are you ready to let go of your worries and plan the trip of a lifetime? Let’s get started!

Is Travel Anxiety Normal? 

Even with all the excitement that comes with planning a holiday, feeling some anxiety when travelling alone is totally normal. Being nervous for a first solo trip is common for many a traveler – in fact, even seasoned solo travelers are often struck by apprehension before a big trip abroad.

Living with a medical condition can cause you to feel especially scared to travel alone for the first time. We can become preoccupied by the ‘what ifs’. Worries about finding suitable healthcare facilities, managing medications, or navigating accessibility needs may crop up. You may also worry about what would happen if you were to get sick while traveling or need medical care in a foreign country when you don’t speak the local language. And once again, this is all completely understandable! 

The fear of traveling away from home when you need regular medical attention can be overwhelming at first, but the right amount of preparation will help make sure you feel confident taking on a new challenge and exploring the world by yourself or with family and friends. We know first hand just how daunting travelling abroad after a serious medical condition can be – but we’re here to help alleviate your fears and help you plan ahead.

If your stress or anxiety is so severe that it interferes with your daily life and wellbeing, or if you experience panic attacks,  speak to your GP or specialist practitioner before your trip. They’ll be best placed to advise you and give you ways to cope with your fear. If your worries feel manageable, keep reading for tips on how to deal with mild travel anxiety and general pre-travel nerves!

How To Travel Solo Without Fear: Prepare Ahead

If you feel anxiety about travelling alone, know that preparation is key. Before you go ahead with booking your holiday, have a conversation with your GP or specialist first. Let them know of your travel plans, share any worries you may have, and be sure to ask about any vaccines you need to receive or special precautions to take once at your destination. They’ll be able to give you specific advice related to your condition and reassure you if needed.

Make sure to also do your research in your own time. The NHS has up-to-date information about current health warnings across the world – so check whether your planned destination is safe before booking. 

If you want more in-depth country health information, visit Travel Health Pro as this is often the place health professionals refer to. It has pages for every country in the world, but remember that health issues may only be present in certain parts of a country and may not affect tourist areas, so don’t let it stress you out! 

A beautiful mountain landscape, illustrating the topic of anxiety while travelling alone.

Once you’ve decided on your destination, it’s time to think about travel insurance. While this means having to declare any pre-existing medical conditions, don’t worry – most conditions, even rare ones, are covered by insurance. The cost and potential excess will vary depending on your specific condition, but you won’t be going away without cover!

Looking for more information on travel insurance? 

Read our  article and find out all you need to choose the right plan for you.

Before you go, try to identify the triggers that are causing you anxiety. Is it the flight, transfers, delays, airport setting, losing luggage, the hotel, not finding your way around or getting sick while away? Worry is our brain’s attempt at trying to prevent something bad from happening in the future. The issue is that these thoughts can begin to run in a repetitive cycle and our worries can get bigger and bigger. Writing down your worries and thinking about how you would overcome an issue if it arose can be helpful for breaking the cycle and can leave you feeling more empowered. 

Worry is our brain’s attempt at trying to prevent something bad from happening in the future. The issue is that these thoughts can begin to run in a repetitive cycle and our worries can get bigger and bigger. Writing down your worries and thinking about how you would overcome an issue if it arose can be helpful for breaking the cycle and can leave you feeling more empowered.

Harriet Clarkson, Clinical Psychologist

Arrive at the airport early so you can check your bags in and are free to grab a calming herbal tea or drink (but avoid alcohol) and meal (or snacks you have taken with you) – stay hydrated and don’t travel hungry or tired as this causes more stress on the body. Have something to focus on such as a good book and headphones to listen to your favourite music or calming meditation. And why not try practising breathing techniques or even airplane yoga?

Part of preparing ahead also means you get the opportunity to plan for the trip not going how you expected it to be, such as having to take alternative airport transport. Make sure you have the details of local buses or a taxi company from your hotel in case your planned ride doesn’t arrive.

Scared To Travel? Here’s What To Pack

To make your traveling experience more enjoyable and worry-free, pack wisely by ensuring you have a good supply of your prescription medication and/or medical equipment. 

Make sure to bring more than you’ll need for the trip in case of delays on the return journey and always carry it in your hand luggage. This way, you can avoid stress if your checked in luggage goes missing as you will have essential prescription medicine with you. Don’t forget a small first-aid kit with essentials such as painkillers, insect repellent and plasters – it can be a lifesaver! 

Top tip: bring some relaxing essential oils with you to help you stay serene throughout the trip. We like the Voca London range, with its soothing blends that promote restorative sleep.

Before getting on your plane, boat, or train, check what things you’re allowed to bring on board. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to the airline or travel company for clarification. Most companies understand the importance of necessary medications and medical devices, so there’s usually no need to worry about bringing them along and put any of your liquids in a clear plastic bag ready to present at security.

If you’re concerned about carrying controlled prescription drugs such as pain medication, speak to your doctor. They should be able to provide you with a doctor’s letter explaining your reasons for carrying this medicine.

Worried about what else to bring on your first solo holiday? 

Check out our travel packing list to tick off all the essentials you’ll need.

An open suitcase being packed, showing clothing and travel essentials for solo trips.

Fighting Anxiety When Traveling Alone: Our Top Tips

So, you’ve done your planning, your suitcase is all packed, and you’ve arrived at your destination – but you’re still feeling nervous. And that’s okay! Here are our top 4 travel tips for solo travelers with medical conditions that will help reduce travel anxiety and ensure a safe and enjoyable solo journey.

1. Stay connected! Always keep your loved ones informed about your travel plans and share your itinerary, including flight details, accommodation addresses, and contact numbers, with a trusted family member or friend. Regularly check in with them, especially during transitions between locations, and have their numbers easily to hand so you can call them if you feel anxious. 

Not only will this help you feel more relaxed about being alone in a foreign country, you’ll also have a support system back home that knows exactly where you are in case of any emergency. You could also travel with someone and share the experiences together or book a group tour and make new friends. 

2. Find out how to get help if needed. Before venturing out to explore your destination, familiarise yourself with nearby medical facilities, pharmacies, and healthcare providers – you can research these yourself or ask your hotel or tour operator. 

Additionally, carry a translated copy of your medical history and any necessary prescriptions to facilitate communication with local healthcare professionals, if required. To make this easier, you can download our Medical Alert Letter in English and the language of your destination, and fill it out before travelling with all the necessary information.

3. Practice self-care and mindfulness. When we are feeling anxious, our thoughts are often focused on the future and things that may or may not happen, rather than on the present moment. Grounding techniques can help you turn your attention away from worries and help you focus on the here and now. 

An example of a grounding exercise would be to focus on the information coming in from your senses – noticing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Alternatively, focusing on your breathing and making sure you are taking deep breaths can be a good way of calming both the body and the mind.

Don’t just practice these exercises when you are feeling distressed. Take moments to pause, breathe deeply, and be present in the new environment. Depending on your location, you may want to try journaling, long walks on the beach, or even yoga! Prioritising self-care will help reduce anxiety while keeping you emotionally balanced throughout your trip.

4. Distract yourself. Particularly if you are feeling anxious on long journeys, it can be helpful to plan ways to keep yourself busy and distracted. You may choose to bring puzzles, listen to music, read a book or watch a film. There are also mental exercises you can do to take your mind off uncomfortable thoughts or feelings – for example, naming all the items you can see or counting back from 1000 in threes. 

A woman meditates alone on the beach to practice self-care while traveling alone.

Summary On How To Overcome Anxiety Of Travelling Alone

So here you have it, folks! We hope you’re feeling a little less worried and confident you know how to overcome anxiety of travelling alone.

In this article, we explored some ways to get over solo travel anxiety, both by preparing before you set out on your journey, and also during your holiday. With the right preparation and tools, there’s no reason to be scared to travel alone – even if you have a medical condition.

By planning ahead and seeking advice from your medical care team, you can embark on worry-free journeys. Consult your GP to discuss travel plans and receive advice, research health information specific to your destination, and make sure to purchase comprehensive travel insurance. Packing essentials, like medications, a first-aid kit, and a medical history letter is also crucial. Finally, staying connected with your loved ones and prioritising self-care will boost confidence and enhance your solo travel experience.

What other tips do you have to help those afraid to travel alone? Let us know in the comments below!

FAQ On How To Overcome Anxiety Of Travelling Alone

Why am I afraid of travelling alone?

Travelling alone as a woman can also be nerve-wracking. Worries about your safety, especially at night, as well as social anxiety or worries about awkward or uncomfortable situations can seem overwhelming at first. But this fear of travelling alone is totally normal, and is shared by many individuals – and not just women! However, rest assured that with proper precautions and awareness, you can significantly ease these anxieties and have a fulfilling solo travel experience. So take a deep breath, embrace your independence, and embark on your adventure with confidence.

How do I get the courage to travel alone?

Embarking on solo travel can indeed be daunting, especially when you have a medical condition to consider. However, with careful planning and the right mindset, you can build the courage to explore the world on your own terms. Take small steps and start with short trips to build confidence gradually. 

Make sure to thoroughly research your destination, including healthcare facilities and accessibility for your medical needs, and speak to your GP to discuss your travel plans. Ensure you have enough medications and medical equipment, and consider travelling to places with a supportive healthcare system and opt for travel insurance that covers your condition.

And don’t forget to make friends! Meeting new people on your journeys will help build your confidence for future trips and help you experience the joy and empowerment of solo travel while keeping your health a priority.

Does my underlying health condition cause more travel anxiety?

While travel anxiety is a common concern for many travellers, medical conditions can add an extra layer of worry, with potential stress related to accessing appropriate healthcare in unfamiliar places. Speak to your GP before travelling and discuss any worries or fears with them – they’ll be able to advise you on your specific needs and things to look out for when travelling abroad. 

You may feel like cancelling your trip the day before, but remember you have taken all the steps you can to plan for various scenarios that could go wrong! Trust in yourself and remember this will be an experience that will enrich you and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

Can my doctor help with travel anxiety?

They most certainly can! Whether it’s to give you coping mechanisms or prescribe anxiety medication, your GP or specialist consultant will be the best person to give you advice and support to help you manage your fear of traveling alone. Being open and honest with your doctor about your concerns and anxieties will allow them to provide the best possible care and support tailored to your individual needs. Be open and honest with your doctor about your concerns and anxieties, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They’re here to help!

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2 thoughts on “How To Overcome Anxiety Of Travelling Alone: Travel Tips For Worry-Free Holidays”

  1. I’ve always had anxiety of travelling alone and this has been such a comprehensive guide to help alleviate my fears! So helpful thank you so much!

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