Hello all! Im here to give tips and tricks on how to travel with anxiety and my experience. If you have travel anxiety, you’re not alone! But don’t worry its all worth it in the end! I made the decision to go to Spain on the MIS faculty-led program around the first of February and the trip was for Spring interim (May). The minute I decided to go I began planning and getting everything in order. For example: What do I need to have for the trip? How much money is the trip? Can I handle the trip mentally and physically? Will I go back to Tuscaloosa after the trip? What will I do with my dogs during my trip? Do I know anyone going on the trip? Am I willing to go with strangers for my first time abroad? Etc.

After spiraling for a good month or two I finally realized everything will work out and that there are many people around me willing to support me and this decision to go abroad like faculty, other students, friends, family. After my plans fell into place it was time to plan for the trip itself. The most exciting and stressful part. Packing! I started planning my packing right after my plans were finalized. Starting with searching the culture, the weather, the itinerary, etc. I love to dress for occasion, so of course I decided I needed a whole new wardrobe and wanted to overpack. Slowly over the next 3/4 months I bought new shoes and clothes that matched the culture to ensure I was comfortable and not only felt good but also blended in for safety. This decision to start planning outfits months before helped my anxiety tremendously (of course there is no need to buy a whole new wardrobe though). Planning outfits beforehand also helped me decide what size luggage to bring. To help my anxiety I wanted to bring a carry-on because I was terrified to lose my luggage and I knew if I had it with me at all times I would feel more in control of the outcome. I then realized I did not own a carry-on in Tuscaloosa and had to also purchase that. After doing so I started researching packing tips and of course liquid requirements for a carry-on as well. I wanted to make sure going through security was a smooth experience because I couldn’t handle the anxiety. With that being said I also began packing my liquids months before.

Slowly but surely I was able to make sure and double, triple check that I wasn’t missing anything and that I could finally be excited about the trip instead of being anxious. Soon enough it was the day before my departure and time to check-in to my flights. Yes, I also decided to pack the night before but no worries because I had everything planned ahead for months and just had to shove it into my book bag and carry on! I have traveled alone multiple times so I knew what to expect but there is still always anxiety whether you’ve never flown or have many times! My biggest tip to myself and others is just be prepared. If you have everything set into place there is nothing to worry about! Of course expect the unexpected. For example, I’m typing this with my carry-on now as a checked in bag so I am terrified I will have no clothes in Spain, but I kept all my most important belongings in my book bag to prepare for the unexpected! Just remember how amazing this experience is and to not stress or freak out; just stop and breathe! Good luck and roll tide!