I’ve lived with generalized anxiety pretty much my entire life, though I never admitted it to myself until one very scary panic attack I had on a road trip in California in 2013. Sometimes the anxiety keeps me in bed all day, making it feel impossible to function at home, much less travel. Thankfully, I’ve adopted many methods and tips that enable me to manage my anxiety, especially when I’m traveling. Whether you feel anxious only when traveling, or your anxiety is generalized like mine, these tips for managing anxiety and stress can help you make the most of your travel adventures, from the peaks of the Himalayas to the Komodo Islands.
Tip 1: Have a Travel Plan for Your Prescription Anxiety Medications
If you have any prescription medications that you use to manage your anxiety, it’s important to make sure you bring a sufficient supply with you on your travels. It sounds obvious, but this is something you really need to plan for in advance of your trip!
- Always pack your meds in your carry on, so that they will be on hand if you need them on your flight. Plus, this ensures you won’t be without them if your checked luggage gets lost.
- If you are going on an extended trip that is longer than your normal prescription, talk to your doctor about getting a larger supply at one time. I had to do this with my sertraline (Zoloft) prescription before both of my round-the-world trips. Note that your insurance may only cover a certain amount per month, and thus you may have to pay out of pocket for some of your medication.
- Bring more than you know you’ll need. The last thing you want is to get delayed and have to deal with breaking your medication routine on top of the stress of re-booking travel!
Tip 2: Meditate
Meditation is a fantastic way to manage stress and anxiety, even while traveling!
If you’re worried about being able to focus and block out distractions on a plane, bus, or in a hostel, there are some great free meditation apps you can download on your phone. This way, you can listen to guided meditations to calm your mind. Best of all, most apps have the option of downloading the audio files directly to your device, so you won’t need an internet connection when you’re ready to zen out.
Two apps I use are:
- Oprah and Deepak 21 Day Meditation Experience – Oprah and Deepak host this series of guided meditations, structured in 21-day “experiences” that center around a particular theme, like miraculous relationships and finding your flow. Several times a year, they offer a new, free 21-day experience, and you can also purchase any of the older ones in their library.
- Headspace – This app is great for meditation beginners, because the audio guides focus on teaching you how to meditate and start you off on durations as short as just a few minutes.
Tip 3: Try a Travel-Friendly CBD Product For Anxiety
Cannabidiol is a natural compound found in both hemp and cannabis plants. Its properties are relaxing for both the body and mind, making it great as a nutritional supplement or as an anti-inflammatory addition to a warm bath.
Ingesting CBD creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. For me, it’s also helpful when I am having a hard time sleeping (damn jet lag!).
You can take a few drops of CBD oil (on its own or in any beverage) or also take pre-portioned CBD gummies for the same benefits.
CBD, which has no psychoactive properties, is legal throughout the USA. CBD products are available in specialty shops, pharmacies, and grocery stores, and you can also order them online. Not all products are created equal, though, so it’s important to buy trusted brands.
LivWave, for example, is an online CBD shop with a carefully curated selection of products, each with a thorough description and reviews.
Recommended Travel-Friendly CBD Products:
Here are the products I recommend specifically for reducing anxiety and boosting relaxation when you travel:
- CBD Hive – CBD Drops – CBD drops are great on their own, and you can also add them to water, tea, coffee, or any other beverage. They even come in a variety of flavors. The small containers are TSA-friendly.
- Hive Gummies – CBD gummies are especially great for travel, since they aren’t a liquid. Thus, you can bring as much as you want without worrying about it taking space from your liquid toiletries!
- Meraki Capsules – Another liquid-free and therefore travel-friendly option, these capsules are perfect if you don’t care for the taste of the gummies or oils.
If you make a purchase at LivWave’s online boutique, be sure to use code SarahP15 at checkout to receive 15% off your entire order!
Note that CBD is not legal in all countries, so check the laws in your destination before carrying CBD products with you. For travel within the USA, however, you’re good to go!
Tip 4: Stick to Your Fitness Routine
When traveling, it’s very easy to break out of your routine. If you work out regularly, but stop while traveling, you risk lowering your body’s endorphins. Changing or stopping your usual level of activity while you travel can make you more prone to anxiety. Thus, it’s important to maintain whatever fitness routine you follow at home while on the road!
- Pack a resistance band for strength training on the go. It takes up no space in your luggage and is virtually weightless!
- Download at-home workouts you can stream from your phone. I use Beachbody on Demand ($99/year) which gives me streaming and downloads of some of the most popular fitness programs out there, like 21 Day Fix and P90X. Many of the workouts don’t require any equipment!
- Look for accommodations that have a gym, offer fitness classes, or are near a park! Whatever your exercise routine is, think about the kind of space you need to stick to it and seek that out in your planning.
Tip 5: Get into Nature
One of the greatest ways to combat anxiety is all-natural – literally. Studies have shown that spending time in nature creates a sense of calm.
Consider spending at least one day in nature every week you’re traveling. The great thing about this is that it gives you another reason to explore national parks!
If you’re on a city trip and there aren’t any green spaces nearby, even just taking a walk to get some sunshine and fresh air can help!
Tip 6: Drink Herbal Teas
I always travel with my favorite calming teas! Caffeine-free teas containing valerian root, chamomile, or lavender are great for relaxing the body and mind. You should be able to bring these with you on your carry on, and flights usually hot water on board. Plus, you can drink boiled water in most countries, making a hot tea a great option!
Teas I regularly drink are:
- Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea
- Yogi Tea Bedtime tea
- Peppermint tea
- Chamomile tea
- David’s Tea Organic Mother’s Little Helper
These six strategies are all a part of my wellness program that helps me keep my anxiety at bay while traveling. While my anxiety is always a part of me, even when I’m on the road, it doesn’t have to drag me down and stop me from enjoying my adventures. Adopt these tips yourself, and I’m sure you’ll travel with a little less anxiety, too!