5 Ways to Overcome Travel Anxiety and Pursue Your Travel Nursing Dream

Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, July 08, 2021 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips

travel anxiety

Travel anxiety is common, even among individuals who don’t normally battle anxiety. The idea of exploring the world is exciting, but touching down in an unfamiliar place and calling it home for 13 weeks is enough to deter any nurse from making the leap to travel nursing. If you dream of becoming a travel nurse — but struggle with travel anxiety — your first step to achieving your dream is overcoming your fear. And there are a few tried-and-true ways to give you the push you need.

Why does travel unnerve us?

Travel induces anxiety because it takes your comfortable routine and flips it on its head. Instead of a familiar city you know your way around, you’re somewhere new with no bearings and limited support. Fear of something going wrong is scarier in this scenario, leading to sweaty palms when you plan a trip. The effect is magnified when you combine travel with the long-term displacement that comes with a travel nursing gig.

overcoming anxiety

Tips for overcoming travel anxiety

But travel anxiety doesn’t have to consume you. Address and overcome your anxiety, so you can conquer fear and enjoy new experiences. Follow these five tips to overcome your travel anxiety:

  1. Identify triggers. Certain things trigger anxiety more than others. You might feel more anxious on an airplane than you would in a car. Anxiety may spike after a cup of coffee. Learning your specific triggers lets you confront and combat them when you travel. If flying raises fears, opt for a road trip instead, or skip the morning coffee to keep the jitters at bay.
  2. Prepare for the “what ifs.” People with travel anxiety are familiar with the countless stream of “what ifs” that pop up during travel planning. What if I get lost? What if I get sick? Plan for these scenarios to ease your fears. It helps to have solutions ready. You might keep a paper map and research the nearest hospital and urgent care facility.
  3. Use comforting distractions. You probably have a hobby or interest that takes your mind off stressful situations. Bring your favorite distractions with you when you travel! Pack a good book or movie, download episodes of your favorite podcast, or buy some puzzle books for the trip.
  4. Practice mindfulness. Knowing how to calm yourself in stressful situations is key to overcoming all types of anxiety. Meditation and mindfulness are reliable tools for centering your thoughts and slowing your breathing when you feel anxious.
  5. Rely on your support systems. You aren’t alone. Even when you travel, your support system is just a phone call or video chat away. Your friends and family can offer the help and encouragement you need in times of stress.

celebrate travel

Strange surroundings and breaks in routine can make anyone anxious, but the more you travel, the easier it gets to prepare and adapt on the go. After a few assignments, you’ll get used to a new routine, and the experience will feel less unpredictable. In travel nursing, every job is a new adventure in a new place, but practice will empower you to leave your fears behind and focus on what lies ahead.

Travel anxiety is common among first-time travel nurses, and your Health Providers Choice recruiter can help. Use the tips above to confront and overcome your travel anxiety, consult with your recruiter, and put yourself on the path to a long, rewarding career in travel nursing. Contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800.

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About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.