Travel Anxiety— 10 Simple Ways to Reduce it Without Medication

travel anxiety

If you have experienced travel anxiety you know it can have a paralyzing effect.

If it’s flying you fear, the moment of panic when your row number is called to board the plane can leave you frozen in place unable to step forward. According to, one in three Americans are either anxious about flying or afraid to fly and women are twice as likely as men to struggle with either condition.

You’ve probably heard that the chances of being in an airplane crash are significantly lower than that of a car accident. corroborates this statement revealing that there is merely a one in eleven million chance of being in an airplane accident making air travel two hundred times safer than driving an automobile as estimated the FAA.

Staggering, but true and while the numbers say it all, it is of little comfort to someone who suffers from aerophobia.

So, what’s an anxious person to do? There are, of course, varying degree of anxiety and fear and while more severe cases may be best treated medicinally or with therapy, other self-help strategies may be enough to reduce travel stress and get you through.

Consider these strategies to take the edge off of your travel anxiety:

1) Distraction

the moment you focus on what can go wrong, you’ve lost the battle. Avoid thinking in the negative at all costs. Direct your energy to anything and everything that makes you feel good and in control. Watch a show, read a book, flip through the pages of a magazine, listen to soothing music, chat with a friend or fellow traveler, do a crossword, write in a journal. Allow yourself to become immersed in other activities that don’t leave you thinking excessively about the trip or how you are going to get there.

2) Noise-cancelling headphones

if you are a passenger, no matter what the transportation, noise-cancelling headphones can do wonders for your serenity. Especially on a plane, these sound busters can help you tune out noise-clutter that can elevate anxiety. The cocoon-like experience that these devices promote can be a calming influence.

3) Meditation

there is no better time for the power of positive thinking than when you are having a panic attack. Meditation is a useful practice and nothing else is needed than your focused mind. There are many great apps with guided meditation practices that can help even a beginner achieve a sense of calm. Try the Calm app.

4) Avoid caffeine

that last thing an anxious person needs to be is jittery. Lay off the caffeine in an effort to stay as low-key as possible and if the opportunity to sleep presents itself you’ll have a much better chance at catching some Zs and getting your mind off what worries you.

5) Workout in advance

relieving stress in advance of what might soon cause you stress is a great way to get a head start on a peaceful state of mind. A good sweat toward mental clarity is never a bad thing.

6) Tune in to the folks around you

if you are on a plane and become flustered at every bump and ding of the seatbelt sign and if you’ve secured your seatbelt so tightly you’ve cut off circulation to your lower extremities, you may want to consider an actionable coping mechanism. Take a look around you. Is anyone else looking panicked? Are the flight attendants still cool, calm and collected? Relax, you are not alone. If everyone else isn’t worried, you probably don’t need to be either.

7) Think past the plane

you may find that focusing on your destination is enough to get you through the agony of your flight. If you are headed someplace beautiful or off to see family or friends, zero in on the excitement for those moments and let the anticipation carry you through to your arrival.

8) Aromatherapy

calming scents like lavender, jasmine and pine can alter your mood to keep anxiety at bay. Pick up travel sized oils that you can carry with you and apply when needed.

9) Skip the morning news

let’s just say it, world and local news can be disturbing. Don’t add to what is already going to be a stressful situation by tuning into all of the tough topics being reported. Catch the weather if you must, but otherwise give yourself a break.

10) Breathe

it is so basic, yet it is so often neglected when we get nervous. Pay attention to your breathing patterns and allow yourself to fall into a mindful rhythm that encourages serenity. Breathe in deeply through your nose and allow your belly to expand. Exhale slowly through your mouth and repeat.

Happy travels!

About the Author:

Beth Daigle is a writer, blogger and author of the recently released Musing Mediterranean: Fun, Family, and Faraway Places Transform an Anxious Traveler. Her desire to travel is squashed only by her fear of it. Not to mention her unabashed homebody tendencies. At home, Beth enjoys her role as wife, and mom to two daughters plus one very sweet Schnauzer. She is a lifelong New Englander residing north of Boston and is happy doing anything artsy, but favors writing as her foremost creative outlet. For Beth, family and laughter are everything.

Beth is a creative soul who finds joy in art, home design, gardening, reading, writing, a good laugh and an even better television show.

You can find Beth at,, on Facebook @3olivesandatwist, on Twitter @3olivesandatwist, and Instagram @3olivesandatiwst.