Tips for the Anxious Traveler

Design by Emily Blevins

What to Do if You Have a Panic Attack on Vacation

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been managing an anxiety disorder for years or if you’ve never experienced panic before—when you’re far from the comforts of home, a panic attack can send shockwaves through your relaxation time. But the good news is that these deeply upsetting events tend to be brief and they don’t have to reverberate through the rest of your trip. We’ve checked in with psychologists and anxiety experts to offer a collection of coping techniques that will help you calm your feelings in the moment and be prepared in the future.

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How to Stay Calm When Your Trip Goes Wrong
How to Stay Calm When Your Trip Goes Wrong
Design by Emily Blevins

6 Stay-Calm Strategies for Dealing With Anxiety Before a Trip

If you’re the type of person who feels more anxious the closer you get to your next trip, or if you regularly find yourself fighting back nausea on the ride to the airport, know that you’re not alone. Anxiety before a trip is not uncommon, and some amount of concern about travel can be healthy. You are stepping outside your comfort zone, after all. But there are plenty of physical and mental exercises you can do to soothe your worried mind. This collection of research-backed tips from experts will help you loosen those knots in your stomach before—and even during—your trip.

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How Early Should You Actually Get to the Airport?
How Early Should You Actually Get to the Airport?
Design by Emily Blevins

Why a Simple Hike Can Make Your Entire Vacation More Relaxing

Looking to shed some stress on your next trip? You could book a weeklong stay at a spa, but you might get just as much relief from sitting in a park for a little while. New studies shows that spending time in nature can actually improve your physical and mental wellbeing. (In fact, some doctors have even begun to “prescribe” nature for patients with depression and anxiety). Better news? You don’t have to devote all your vacation time in the great outdoors to reap its rewards. Here’s what you need to know about this easy (and free) way to really decompress.

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On Foot: Best Day Hikes On the Planet
On Foot: Best Day Hikes On the Planet
This Land Is Our Land: Places in Europe Where Access to Nature Is a Basic Human Right
This Land Is Our Land: Places in Europe Where Access to Nature Is a Basic Human Right
When and Where to See Flowers Blooming Around the World
When and Where to See Flowers Blooming Around the World

Conquering Your Fears

Design by Emily Blevins

How a Travel Editor Overcame Her Crippling Fear of Flying

AFAR travel news editor Michelle Baran grew up a world traveler—she got her first passport when she was three years old. Then, unexpectedly, she developed an intense fear of flying. For years, she spent flights death-gripping the armrests and crying, but she was a travel editor: She couldn’t—wouldn’t—stop traveling. In this piece, she recounts what it was like to be a lifelong traveler suddenly burdened by a terrifying fear of flying—and how she managed to beat it. 

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What I Learned from the Famously Fearless Creatures of the Galápagos Islands
What I Learned from the Famously Fearless Creatures of the Galápagos Islands
On Disney’s New Rise of the Resistance Ride, I Faced a Lifelong Fear of Falling
On Disney’s New Rise of the Resistance Ride, I Faced a Lifelong Fear of Falling
What Is Turbulence—and How Can Understanding It Help Anxious Flyers?
What Is Turbulence—and How Can Understanding It Help Anxious Flyers?
Design by Emily Blevins

What Traveling With an Anxious Child Has Taught Me

Millennials may be the most anxious generation in history (the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 25 percent of kids between ages 13 and 19 have an anxiety disorder). But what does that mean for their travel-loving parents? What do you do when you’re eager to show your kids the world, only to find them nervous and resistant to hit the road? That’s what AFAR guides editor Ann Shields wondered when her own daughter was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Here she explores how, over time and with effort, they’ve discovered how to travel together and what they need to do when the anxiety monster rears its ugly head.

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Why You Should Travel Internationally With Your Children
Why You Should Travel Internationally With Your Children
18 Fantastic Worldwide Destinations for Families—and Where to Stay There
18 Fantastic Worldwide Destinations for Families—and Where to Stay There
Foster a Love of Wildlife With These Family-Friendly Safaris
Foster a Love of Wildlife With These Family-Friendly Safaris

Where to Find Your Chill

Design by Emily Blevins

7 Meditation Retreats Close to Home

Ready to get your om on? Mounting evidence suggests that meditation and other such mindfulness practices can reduce stress and improve your psychological well-being. If you’re plagued by stress and in need of a hard reset, a meditation retreat might be just what you need. Of course, for many, the idea of taking all their well-earned vacation time and airline miles to fly to a different country to sit in silence for a week is a tough sell. But who said you need to embark on a pilgrimage to do a little soul-searching? There are a number of wonderful Zen and meditation centers right here in the United States. At these places, getting the recharge you need can be accessible and easy.

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The World’s Best Wellness Resorts
The World’s Best Wellness Resorts
Would You Spend Your Vacation in Silence?
Would You Spend Your Vacation in Silence?
7 Yoga Retreats to Center Mind and Body
7 Yoga Retreats to Center Mind and Body
Design by Emily Blevins

A First-Timer’s Guide to Marijuana Tourism in Los Angeles

Cannabis has a long reputation for helping users relax, and recently there’s even been talk that it might have medicinal benefits for those suffering from anxiety and depression (though, for now, it’s too soon to say). Interested in giving it a try or learning more but not sure where to start? Or, more to the point, don’t live in a place where it’s legal yet? Book a trip to the west side of L.A. No shady dealers or Cheech and Chong antics here. Soak up the sun as you hop between design-forward dispensaries and hip social consumption lounges and eateries, guided by wise and learned experts who are glad to walk you through everything you need to know to have a safe and anxiety-free experience.

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5 U.S. Lounges Where You Can Smoke Weed (Legally)
5 U.S. Lounges Where You Can Smoke Weed (Legally)
Everything You Need to Know to Buy Legal Weed in California
Everything You Need to Know to Buy Legal Weed in California
Coolest Travel Jobs: What It’s Like to Own a Cannabis Tour Company
Coolest Travel Jobs: What It’s Like to Own a Cannabis Tour Company