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Travel tips

Travel anxiety is real—here’s how going guided can help

Mar 23, 2023 by Alejandro López

Travel exhilarates, educates, and enchants—but it can also stress even the most seasoned globetrotter. If you’re nodding along, we don’t blame you! From planning the perfect vacation to worrying over derailing it with a missed transfer, travel anxiety can take off well before you do.

But what if there was a way to avoid all of that? If you suffer from anxiety about traveling, we have good news: Going on a guided tour can help ease your fears. Here, we’ll highlight four common types of traveling anxiety, along with a couple of ways our expert-led tours relieve each. We’ll have you exploring in no time!

Put an end to planning paralysis

Often, the thought of planning an entire vacation can deter you from actually doing it. The perceived enormity of the task can be enough to have you unpacking bags and re-stashing them in your attic. Our top tip for travelers with anxiety? Pass your preparations to people who do it for a living—people like us. Offloading travel prep is just one of the benefits of going guided over traveling independently.

Know that we stress the details

At Go Ahead, we draw on decades of experience to craft crowd-pleasing itineraries that minimize chance, maximize delight, and take the sting out of anxiety traveling. Everything from accommodations to activities is carefully planned in advance, giving you ample time to review (and get excited about) your schedule. “Our only responsibility is to be on time,” traveler Karen said. “Everything else is taken care of for us, and that makes the tour enjoyable because there’s no stress of having to do all the planning.”

Lean on choices you can trust

You won’t have to worry about quality, either. Remember what we said about our decades of experience? It’s helped us properly vet each provider we work with, and we’ve made some great connections in that time. Whether you’re staying at a safari lodge or joining a local family for dinner, we’ve booked you with the best, taking the weight of how to deal with travel anxiety off your shoulders.

Solve social anxiety

Part of the anxiety about traveling stems from making connections—and we aren’t talking about planes or trains. For the naturally introverted, meeting new people brings its own stress; for those without reliable travel partners, the concept of going somewhere alone is a nonstarter. Go Ahead’s dedicated Solo Tours offer an ideal solution.

Travel solo, but never alone

That’s a vital distinction, and one that can greatly reduce travel anxiety. Solo Tours host dozens of individual travelers, forming a single group that grows and goes together. There are plenty of ways to make the most of going solo in a group: Grab dinner with pals you made in our mobile app (more on that in a second!), strike up a conversation with your Tour Director, or enjoy countless free time activities for solo travelers. “This was my first Solo Tour and I was worried about fitting in,” traveler Mary said of her trip in 2019. “I didn’t need to!”

Meet your group in the EF Go Ahead Tours app

Solo or not, every Go Ahead tour begins in our free mobile app. Besides keeping all of your trip’s important information at your fingertips, it also serves as a digital mixer, showing you who’s coming along and giving you the option to get in touch with them ahead of time. Not a bad answer for how to ease travel anxiety, right?

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Take care of transit trepidation

Having a transit mix-up is a universal tale well known to many travelers—including this author. Think: narrowly missing a connecting flight. Or boarding the wrong bus. Or hopping aboard a train steaming the opposite way. Nothing spikes anxiety while traveling quite like traveling itself. And when that familiar feeling surges, it helps to know you have the Go Ahead Tours team behind you, supporting you as you travel from point A to point B and all the places in between.

Simplify how you book flights

Another tip for traveling with anxiety: Have someone help you find flights. On all of our tours, you have the option of letting our in-house pros book an itinerary with an established international airline that perfectly fits your plans. Want to kick your vacation off with some independent travel before your guided tour, or continue on your own afterward? We can adjust your arrival and departure to accommodate. We even handle airport transfers once you land in your destination! Speaking of…

Nail every transfer

While abroad, inter-city trips present another source of traveling anxiety. Ferries, trains, buses—all have the potential for a transfer mishap, unless you tour with us. For shorter distances, your group will have access to a private motorcoach; longer journeys may call for on-tour flights or other modes of fast transportation, but your Tour Director will ensure everybody gets where they need to be, when they need to be there.

Fix that fear of the unknown

Of all the sources of traveling anxiety, uncertainty tops the list. And it makes sense. Depending on your destination, you could face a new language, currency, cuisine, or culture—and the list doesn’t stop there. Every Go Ahead tour features local guides and a Tour Director who bridge that knowledge gap.

Travel with expert Tour Directors

What better way to see a new place than through a local’s eyes? Each Tour Director we work with boasts an intimate knowledge of their home region, and has guided travel groups for years. They’ll share interesting facts, point you to their favorite haunts, and answer all your questions. (They might even have some more tips for travelers with anxiety about experiencing a new town.)

“Sometimes, it’s intimidating to be in a foreign country or city where you don’t know the language,” traveler Richard said. “With Go Ahead’s multilingual Tour Directors, that’s something I don’t have to worry about. They’re very, very good at what they do.”

Count on round-the-clock support

We pride ourselves on accounting for every eventuality—but if something goes awry, help is never more than a phone call away. Our 24/7 On-Tour Support Team acts as a safety net for all our travelers. Should you need a little extra help, a quick chat can get your trip back on track.

One more thing: How to calm travel anxiety

Before setting off on your next great journey, check out these tips for traveling with anxiety.

  • Ground yourself with a simple breathing exercise. Take a deep inhale, pause for a beat, then exhale for slightly longer. Four seconds in, six seconds out, is a good place to start, but adjust the count to your needs.
  • Activate your rational brain. Jot down those troublesome thoughts on your phone or in a notebook. Consider them and how true they seem, then rewrite them and see how believable they then feel. (For instance, “I always mess my transfers up” could shift to something like “sometimes, my transfers go wrong, but I try to put myself in the best position to succeed.”) This technique can help put the brakes on speeding thoughts and catastrophizing.
  • Make yourself comfortable. Pack your pillow. Download your favorite movies and playlists, or buy an entertaining game. Between jet lag and more, you subject yourself to a lot of anxiety while traveling. Some cozy comforts can take your mind off of it.

Let’s travel together! Start exploring our guided tours to plan your next trip.

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About the author | Alejandro López
Alejandro thinks some of life’s enduring moments begin with travel—whether that’s slurping water from a falling brook on the Schlossberg in Freiburg, Germany, or taking silly Polaroid selfies with his wife on a six-hour train to Budapest. Beyond the keyboard, he loves a lunch-break soccer game; at home, he enjoys throwing on some lo-fi beats and cuddling with his six-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Piper.

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