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janbb's avatar

What are some of your pre-trip anxieties and how do you relieve them?

Asked by janbb (44824 points ) August 7th, 2014

I always experience a lot of anxiety before leaving on a trip – particularly if it is on a plane and alone. I feel like I have to have everything squared away at home before going. I am also nervous about getting to the airport. Two tactics have helped me some – packing early so I know what I am taking will fit in the case I want to use and getting a driver to take me to the airport. Curious to hear about anyone else’s strategies.

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20 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

Get to the airport early. As early as possible so you can deal with any hiccups that may emerge.

Make a list of what you need to bring and check it off as you pack. I always forget hair ties.

You can do so much online now, including check in. If you check in on line you can go straight to security.

I have a small pillow I take any time I am sleeping away from home. I take it on the plane. It’s kinda a security blanket. If you don’t have something similar maybe you should get one.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think almost all of my pre-trip anxiety revolves around whether or not I packed something. So, to counter this, I have usual places to pack certain items. So it becomes easy to check if I’ve already packed it, and if it’s not there, I simply don’t have it; I don’t have to look frantically, and tear my bags apart.

Things that are absolutely vital, things I’d have to turn around and come back for (like passports, boarding passes, etc.), I usually lay out where I can see them, to pack at the very last minute.

rojo's avatar

Lists, my wife likes (and needs) lists. She has to have a list of things to pack; a list of things that have been packed: lists of places to go; lists of things to do; lists of airports we pass through; lists of phone numbers and contacts, lists of hotels, motels and places to stay; lists of things that have to be done before we leave, some of more dubious necessity than others.

Many years ago I found one of her lists of things that needed to be done before a trip. The last thing on the list was “Sweep Driveway”. Really, is that something that absolutely will ruin a trip if it is not done before we leave?

To this day, whenever I make a list, no matter what for, “sweep driveway” is on it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I get anxious about my presentation and that it won’t work for some reason. Maybe my hard drive might fail or my data will be scrambled. That is why I bring 2 laptops and a tablet with the presentation on all – and on a USB stick in my pocket.
Passport, ticket, credit card and presentation. I figure anything else I forget I can buy at my destination.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I do a pre-trip every time I head out for a days work and my anxieties don’t really flare up till mid-winter when I know I could be in for a day of hell on the roads,and the only thing I can do is check weather reports before I leave but that’s about it.
Sometimes it does help to leave a touch early or late depending how the weather is moving in.

dxs's avatar

It helps if you don’t own a lot of stuff. I can count all of the things that I need to bring with me; being minimal is easier. With anxiety of being late, you just get used to it after doing it a lot. Set a time to be out of the house, or have everything ready the night before. To save time at the airport, check in and print out your boarding pass ahead of time. Know what you’ll have to go through at the airport, and put it in chronological order:
1) Parking
2) Will you be checking a bag?
3) Security
4) Gate
It’s not as much as you may think, but it’s good to get there at least an hour before your flight. If you’re paranoid, get there two hours or more before your flight and bring something to do if waiting is worth the peace of mind. But keep in mind that you can only check bags 3–4 hours before your flight.
Where are you going? If it’s a vacation, have fun!

canidmajor's avatar

I am old enough to still have a moment of panic when I can’t find my ticket, before I remember that we don’t use paper tickets anymore.
I obsessively check the flight #s and times for 48 hours ahead, then I panic that I won’t wake up on time so I set 2 alarms. Which are unnecessary, as I wake up a half hour before they go off.
Every time I am convinced that I won’t be able to park, so I leave an absurd amount of extra time in case I need to make alternative arrangements. I have never needed to make alternative arrangements.
And lastly, I seem to have never gotten over the need to carry at least 30 pounds of snacks divided into little baggies, a holdover from the days of traveling with young children.

And reading over this post, I can conclude two things:
1) I am obviously much more pathological than I had previously thought, and
2) It’s a darn good thing I carry so much reading material with me, as I am absurdly early every time I travel.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The anxiety felt is normal unless you are a road warrior. My strategy is to imagine the process of the trip and plan accordingly. In addition to the valuable tips posted above (and making a list is essential), here are a few others:
* Check the weather report for the destination. It may be worthwhile to pack a coat or umbrella.
* If you take medication, carry it on the plane with you and make sure there is enough to cover staying longer than planned.
* If you have a toiletries case, keep it stocked with duplicates of everything that you normally use. In mine, I keep a duplicate of tweezers, cotton balls, lip balm, etc. so I don’t have to think about it. It gets restocked upon returning home.
* As for security, I always wear socks since it is required (in the US) that shoes be taken off and sent through the scanner.
* Expect delays and cancellations. If mentally prepared for them, it will ease the anxiety. If it is a necessity to be at a destination at a certain time or date, leave early in the morning. There is a better chance of catching a later flight than if the departure time is later in the day.
* Have contact phone numbers on hand. For example, if arriving after midnight, a hotel might possibly give your reserved room away. They shouldn’t, but it is a common practice when in a sold out situation.

I can think of many more tips, but it depends upon whether you are traveling on business or leisure, within the US or outside, how long the trip will be, etc.

Please let us know if your next trip finds you more relaxed.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

That my plane will be blown up by Terrorists. I let my kids know where where to find the Will, keys to safety deposit box and title to the house. Then I get on the plane and pray quietly to myself.

<I remember when when flying use to be fun>

rojo's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Really? You worry about that? I can say it very rarely crosses my mind even in midflight (but I am usually asleep at that time anyway).

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@rojo Yeah, I’m a New Yorker and still remember 911. I still worry about that, I don’t live in a bubble.

OpryLeigh's avatar

The three things I really worry about are making sure all electric etc is switched off at home so nothing can go majorly wrong there, I probably continue to think about that well into my trip. I worry that my luggage won’t arrive at the airport at the same time that I do, for some reason this is a big cause of anxiety for me, even when there is nothing of sentimental value in my case. Lastly, I worry about whether or not I tied up any loose ends at work. Was there something I forgot to mention to someone that they are likely to need while I’m away, for example.

janbb's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes, I’ve come to embrace my anxiety as normal – or part of the process for me at least. I have my systems which work for me but still get anxious. Once I am on the plane, I can relax – if not quite “sit back and enjoy” the long, long flight.

This summer there is a lot of business to attend to so getting that done by yesterday was a big relief.

This afternoon, I sat at the beach.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My anxiety usually revolves around making sure I have my passport/visas etc. in order and have packed everything I need for my work. As long as I get to the airport on time and have what I need to travel, I can buy anything I forgot later. I don’t worry about much else. Perhaps whether I’ll be able to sleep if it’s a long trip.

JLeslie's avatar

I do my best to avoid flights that are very early in the morning, and avoid flights that will require me to drive to the airport in rush hour.

The packing part is the most stressful. If I get everything packed the day before I do much better, including any paperwork needed, identification, directions, maps, and money. Usually my bag for toiletries still needs to be finished after I get ready that morning, but even that I leave everything I want to take with me out the night before on my vanity. I check the weather where I am going. I have some usual travel duds I almost always bring with me, so some of it is systematic. I used to agonize getting everything into a carry-on, especially in winter months (winter clothes take up a lot of space) but now with the liquids restrictions I often have to check, so I went ahead and bought a bigger suitcase and now I never have trouble with space for all the clothes I want to bring. When in doubt I go ahead and pack it. Packing was much easier in the days when I wore black all the time. Fewer shoes to think about. I still tend to bring mostly black, and items that go with black or denim.

If you have a lot of anxiety about getting to the airport, but also hate the idea of spending over two hours waiting at the airport, consider eating a meal at the airport before your flight. A nice leisurely lunch easily takes an hour, and most major airports have some very nice restaurant areas. In FL all the airports I have been to have free wifi, and I can easily kill an hour on fluther. When I am in MI I have a few stores I like to shop in at the airport. I have quite a few t-shirts and sweatshirts from one of the stores in Detroit airprot. Some airports even have places to get manicures, take a nap, messages, all sorts of stuff now.

I get alerts from Delta if a flight is delayed. Probably most airlines have that. It just happened to me in NYC, my flight was delayed about 40 minutes. The result was it wound up I could slow down in my last minutes of getting my act together.

JLeslie's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat My last flight from NYC to Tampa there was a big burst of clapping once we landed. The flight had been very smooth, there was a little shifting around when we touched down, but I am hyper sensitive to movement left and right. I smiled and said, “that’s the New Yorkers.” It’s New Yorkers or Latin Americans usually. Now you have me wondering if 9/11 has even increased this type of outward show of relief once people feel they have safely arrived.

janbb's avatar

At the airport and very relaxed. Glad that I got a driver to the airport; it helped.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Great! Now don’t get so relaxed you fall asleep and miss the plane!
(One of my anxieties.)

Have a fun trip!

gailcalled's avatar

Get out your cardigan, Jan. It will be brisk at your destination. Both flights on time?

janbb's avatar

Direct flight

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