July 2, 2021

The Anxiety of Post COVID Travel - Advice from Our Travel Expert

Confession time: I have always found traveling stressful. That’s right, from that first solo trip to Australia at 7 years old to a quick flight to LA to speak at a conference at 41, I have never been a relaxed traveler. I think this is partly why I’m a good travel coach…I haven’t sailed through life, breezily boarding flights while laughing about the ones I’ve missed, heck no, I go over packing lists, I arrive at the airport way earlier than necessary and I sit at the gate doggedly waiting for boarding to start, refusing to let my kids leave to get a snack in case they aren’t back in time! When I coach people with travel fears and worries I can relate! Just because I’ve done it a lot, doesn’t mean It's smooth emotional sailing!

Over the years I have learned not to change my behavior completely, but at least to laugh at myself and rein it in a bit. Then COVID! Entry requirements, tests needed, full flights with not even 6 inches of distance let alone the 6 feet we’ve become used to.

Travel in the Age of COVID

The first time we travelled was to Hawaii after Christmas for a week break in a villa on the beach. All eight of us! Eight flights that kept changing based on updated schedules and what worked with testing, eight required negative COVID tests done 48 hours before we traveled, eight people packed and wearing masks and eight people to keep safe and entertained AND masked for an entire flight. A week before we left I had gone over my mental checklist and prep list so many times it had become a mantra and I called my sister to tell her it wasn’t worth it. This was too much. My directive as a mother was to keep my kids safe, yet here I was jumping through burning rings of fire in an attempt to possibly put them in harms way. She laughed and told me she would see me there…she is not an anxious traveler. And she was right. We got eight flights booked, we got eight negative COVID tests and we got eight people fed, entertained and masked to Hawaii. Then we picked up the rented minivan, got to our villa and remembered how fun family and pools and vacations and travel all are!

Travel Post COVID - Belize

Today my two older kids and I arrived in Belize. While Hawaii was during the pandemic this trip is post (I feel that word is being used loosely) pandemic. Less anxiety right? Heck no! Masks are still required and while I’m vaccinated my youngest isn’t and every cough on the full planes find my eyes on him, making sure his mask is up. While three was definitely easier than eight, we still had to get negative tests and proof of vaccination and packed and entertained and masked.

But then we arrived and like every trip I’ve ever taken in my life, it was worth it! To be out exploring again, to be adventuring! To be living in the world!

So I did the mental checklists, I jumped through the hoops and we made it! But as a travel coach I feel the collective anxiety of my fellow American travelers and the fear of the post pandemic world. We’ve spent a year sheltering, protecting ourselves and our loved ones and then it seemed as if overnight the world opened back up and we are encouraged to skip back out into it. And we should…guides, drivers, hotel staff, they all desperately need us to get back out there. And I encourage you to go, but I also want to recognize the anxiety of it, the added stresses of the testing and masking and no six feeting! This is an anxious time, we are all struggling to come to terms with what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and what the next year will look like. It’s okay to admit that travel is scary and it’s okay to feel that anxiety. If now isn’t the time for you and your family that’s okay, if it is the time, that’s okay too. I’m owning my anxiety, I’m declaring it worth it and I am giving myself grace to return to the world and myself. But what's a coach without some tips for getting through it.

My Top Five Tips for Post COVID Travel

1. Use a travel planner for your destination of choice. They will know the entry requirements and can help you figure out what to expect, as well as make sure you're booked into tours, hotels, etc that are following COVID safety practices.
2. Use Cranky Concierge! Airlines are not fully staffed and remember, they've had an 18 month break as well. They are struggling to get back up to speed and we've been hearing a lot of reports of delayed flights, lost luggage etc. On our flight to Belize we were delayed, missed our connection and had to be rerouted through LA with a night there, Cranky Concierge makes those changes stress free!
3. Get there early! People are jumping back into travel, but the infrastructure isn't built back up yet so security lines are long and giving yourself some extra time won't make the lines less boring, but will make sure you make the flight at the end of them
4. Be kind! We've heard about air travelers raging against mask rules, getting stressed and unhappy about flight delays and blowing their tops when things don't go as they should. Remember, what we learned in the last 18 months is that travel is a privilege, the world is a gift and we are all in this together!
5. Recognize your own fears and how they might manifest in feelings of frustration or anger. Like I did above, admit what the fear/anxiety are about, make a plan to negate them as much as possible and then recognize them as they rear their ugly head and don't let the fear and anxiety change how you want to show up for your reentry into the world!
If you're looking to get back to traveling, but are facing some fears or want to discuss where, when, why or how, we're here for you, book an hour coaching session and by the end you'll be ready to make the leap!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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