Manage Travel Stress

Though traveling can be fun, exciting and satisfying, traveling can be stressful. The nervous excitement manifests for the traveler in the same way that stress triggers your “flight-fight” response. Many people experience a range from subtle to devastating symptoms such as: racing heart rates, high blood pressure, “nervous” stomachs, head or back aches, poor sleep, anxiety, fatigue, loss of concentration, and perhaps even increases in compulsive behaviors. By the nature of travel, you are getting out or away from your “normal” life and this can make your subconscious survival mechanisms feel threatened, so triggering some, or all, of your basic (and primitive) survival techniques. Many people interpret this as the “excitement” of traveling, yet this mechanism can take away from the fun or productivity of your trip.

It is useful to know how to practice self-care and stress management while you are “on the road.” Relaxation strategies vary greatly for each individual responds in their own unique way to stress and also to stress management techniques. You must find ones that work best for you. You might consider the basic stress management strategies such as: getting exercise (go for a walk,) or simple breathing techniques (to relax muscles and to slow heart rates,) or forms of meditation or yoga (to quiet your mind, ) or more Western techniques like Autogenic Training phrases – Progressive Relaxations (to make you more “present” and in control,) or even visualization/imagery techniques. These techniques will work best when you practiced them before your travels and have developed some mastery over your stress responses.

While traveling, it may be difficult to watch your diet but you can consider controlling your consumption of caffeine or alcohol, if these contribute to your travel stress. Many people consider alcohol as a relaxation strategy, and for some people small amounts may be helpful, but this is not the recommended strategy for most people due to the potential negative outcomes (harm to your body or your mind.) Other drugs and medications are used but dependency and potential for abuse can be less than ideal.

Sleep problems are common while traveling. This can be made worse by stress. Lack of adequate sleep can also contribute to the increase of other stress related symptoms and also reduce the enjoyment of your trip. Planning for good, restful sleep while traveling can be difficult but worth your serious consideration as you make the plans for your travels especial on extended trips. Do not under-estimate the importance of good quality sleep and the impact on your productivity on a business trip or your enjoyment during recreational travel. Consider what you require for a good quality sleep and the amount of sleep you may find ideal.

It is best you to have awareness regarding your own specific needs and requirements before you travel and find the best techniques for you to use while on your vacation or business trip.

Please remember to take good care of yourself. If you need any targeted coaching regarding the best ways to manage your travel related stress, please contact the Stress Education Center at