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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

Dealing with Anxiety on Vacation

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common health problems in America today, affecting nearly 20% of the population. If that’s something you relate to, it can feel overwhelming to try and go on vacation or enjoy any kind of trip outside of your comfort zone.

It’s often hard to be in a new place, and most of your coping mechanisms are null and void.

Fortunately, there are ways to cope with anxiety on vacation. You can get through it and still have a great time. Here are our top tips for dealing with anxiety while traveling.

Galveston Historic Pier: Photo Copyright A Wild Lass

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

Close Your Eyes

This may seem like a really simple task, but sometimes shutting out the chaos is hard to do. It’s anxiety-inducing not to be able to see what’s going on around you.

Yet if you can master your body and just close your eyes when you feel panic happening, you may be able to slow your breathing and adjust to being in a crowd. It feels less crowded when you can’t see the crowd.

When we went to Galveston, I remember sitting at our gate at the airport waiting to board. It was at the end of the terminal, so it was a hub for 6-7 different gates, and while we waited, 4 other planes began boarding all at once. That meant lines of people all around me, crowding in. It felt like walls were closing in, and when that many people are packed together, there’s also a palpable energy in the air that doesn’t help. Closing my eyes helped me pretend I wasn’t trapped, and I could use my breathing prompts on my smart watch to calm down.

Use Music/Earbuds to Quell Anxiety on Vacation

If you’re having trouble shutting out the crowds around you, sometimes alternative noise can help. Shutting out the crowds is hard if you can still hear them, so putting in your earbuds and choosing your own ambiance can help. Here are some suggestions for what to listen to:

Whatever you choose to listen to should help you shut out the rest of the room and focus only on the words, so that you can stop feeling trapped and anxious. You can also use the same Sea Bands I have, or try tapping to help stay calm while you’re traveling.

Have a Plan But Be Flexible

Having a plan allows you to feel like you’re in control. You know what’s going to happen and you’re prepared for the day. You can expect to tour a historic mansion, eat lunch by the ocean, and visit an escape room in the evening. This way there are no surprises to worry about or unknowns to factor in.

At the same time, being flexible means if a plan doesn’t work or you start to feel anxious, you can change your plan and do something else. Choose another route to walk if there is loud music blaring from a street festival. Cancel one stop on your walking tour in exchange for a quiet table in the AC at a coffee shop, if you’re feeling hot and breathless. Find a solid stool at a sidewalk bar to sit on if your tall ship tour left you feeling wobbly.


Naps are okay. It’s fine if you nap at 6pm and wake up at 8pm for a late dinner, then stay up late and sleep in the next day. While keeping normal routines while on vacation can be good for your anxiety, if you’ve gotten behind on sleep, it doesn’t help you stay calm.

Embrace the idea that your body needs to stop for a bit, and that’s okay. Push away any guilt, and remind yourself that it’s your vacation, too, and this brief respite will help you get through the rest of the trip more easily.

Choose Open Places

Plan to visit places that are helpful to your anxiety, rather than another place to endure. For example, rooftop bars can feel less constricting because of sea breezes and the sound of the waves. The open air helps you feel less trapped than being under a ceiling.

A restaurant with an oceanfront view gives you a whole side that’s wide open, instead of being walled in from every direction. There are plenty of poolside bars in Galveston, like Float, where you can enjoy the weather and keep one eye on the water.

Schedule Beach Time

Speaking of the ocean, you’re guaranteed an anxiety-free afternoon if you spend it by the water. Take advantage of one whole open edge of vision, and spend some time in the sun if your vacation spot has the option. Be sure to take sunscreen and shade (or rent a cabana) so you don’t have anything at all to worry about.

Staying Calm

Managing your anxiety on vacation doesn’t have to be its own source of stress. Use the tips above to keep your vacation as calming as possible, with plenty of time for fun with your family and friends.

For more articles on travel, check out these other posts from A Wild Lass or click here for a list of all our travel articles:

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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