Battling Travel Anxiety

The classic anxiety story about travel involves being on the road for a while only to suddenly remember that you forgot to turn off the oven.  While that is a domestic story, there is just as much or more anxiety that can go into getting on the road for a business purpose as there is for private travel.  The details that must be taken care of to put a business trip on the road can be overwhelming.

It is easy to develop an anxiety complex when going on a business trip and get to where you are in a constant state of stress and worry that you have forgotten something or that there is an important detail that was left undone before you left.  This stress anxiety can be destructive to your business goals for the trip.  So you need some basic concepts that you can go back to just before the business trips gets underway and as you get on the road so you have some ammunition to combat travel anxiety en route.
  • Call in the troops.  One big way to stop travelax anxiety in its tracks is to utilize your business partners to help you prepare for the trip.  It is likely that a number of people in your chain of command or in your department have a vested interest in seeing the trip you are setting out to accomplish is a success.  Use their help to plan the trip and to develop detailed check lists of what has to happen before you leave and what has to go with you.  Then on the day before you depart, meet with those associates and review those lists.  As you check off each thing, insist that your associate initial the list to validate that the detail was taken care of.  Then take the list with you.  By consulting it often, you can calm yourself that you did take care of all the details along the way.
  • Did you forget your head?   Ok so you have a good system in to make sure all of your business needs are covered, the next level of anxiety comes when you are sitting on the airplane and you wonder if you packed everything you need for travel personally.  There are a couple of antidotes to this type of travel anxiety.  First of all, use a similar check list system to assure you have what you need on the flight.  You can develop a travel check list that you maintain and update from business trip to business trip.  As you use that list each trip, you will discover any missing items or things to do and update the list.  And by checking each need off as you take care of it before you travel, you can calm that nervous system of yours that you have done everything so its time to relax.
  • What do you really need after all?  Second of all, if that check list system has dozens of items and issues on it, much of that can be eliminated by that simple question.  The truth is there is very little you really need that you cannot get there if you forgot something at home.  You must have your airline tickets, your driver’s license and credit card and any special medication that cannot be found at your destination.  If you have plenty of credit, there really is little else you cannot buy at your destination point if you forgot something or other.  Comfort yourself that the trip won’t grind to a halt if you forgot something.
  • But what if?  That question literally can drive you insane.  If you let yourself start thinking about whether the plane will crash or if your dog dies while you are away or the hundred of other “what ifs”  that might happen, you will turn into a ball of anxiety before the first flight is done.  So the answer to “but what if?” is “that has not happened so far and the odds it will happen this time are remote.”  Use some logic and adult thinking to combat emotional urge to worry.
The urge to worry is natural in all of us.  Its part of your urgent desire to do well on the road.  But make one of the things on that check list of things that must happen for this business trip to be a success just one word which is “RELAX”. 

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