Exploring a completely new part of the world can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences.
However, as holidays to South America involve flying to a whole different continent, these adventures are guaranteed to take you out of your comfort zone.
While this is a major appeal for many holidaymakers, for people with anxiety issues, this can seem rather unnerving.
Thankfully though, if you do suffer from panic attacks or other anxiety symptoms, you don’t need to miss out on once-in-a-lifetime holidays.
With these top tips, you can help to bring your triggers under control and immerse yourself fully in our unforgettable tours to South America.
Get organised and be prepared
When planning your holiday, it’s important that you stay in control in order to minimise your anxiety symptoms as much as possible.
This includes things like organising transport in advance, packing within plenty of time and even creating a list of things you want to see and do, so you know what to expect.
If staying organised with your activities sounds particularly appealing to you, then we offer a number of ways for you to tour South America with exciting day-by-day itineraries, taking in a wealth of iconic attractions.
Another way you can prepare is by trying to identify which parts of your journey are most likely to trigger your anxiety.
For example, if you’re afraid of flying, then the airport may be a place of concern, while busy tourist attractions can be a worry for those who feel uneasy around crowds.
Don’t avoid these situations though. Instead, be aware that they are likely to bring on feelings of stress and plan how you will cope with it, such as by using deep breathing or distraction techniques.
Travel with someone you trust
We all have a friend, family member or partner who makes us feel safe and secure.
Having these people by your side while travelling can be invaluable.
Speak to them beforehand about your concerns and the most effective ways they can help when you begin to experience anxiety symptoms.
Simply knowing you have someone there to hold your hand can often be enough to help you relax during your trip.
Speak to your doctor
Whether you take medication for your anxiety or not, it’s a good idea to book a GP appointment before your holiday.
This will allow you to discuss your concerns with a doctor, who may be able to identify any other conditions contributing to your anxiety.
For example, you could also be suffering from aerophobia – a fear of flying – alongside your known anxiety issues. If so, then your GP may be able to prescribe medication to alleviate your symptoms.
Additionally, if you’re already on regular medication, then you should ensure you have plenty available before you fly.
Visit your GP to top up if you need to, as well as discussing any medical notes that may be required for travelling with your medication.
Having time to unwind is an important part of any holiday but you shouldn’t be content with just sitting around all day.
Physical activity can be a fantastic way to alleviate stress and boost your mood, thanks to the release of endorphins.
Of course, if you already have an action-packed itinerary, then you’re in for an endorphin-filled experience.
However, if you have a much more easy-going trip planned, then it’s worth spending even just 10 minutes a day walking, cycling, swimming or doing any other activity to increase those happy hormones.
Read more about anxiety and exercise in this article by Anxiety UK.
As we mentioned previously, deep breathing and distraction techniques can be extremely helpful when you feel oncoming anxiety.
Other effective techniques include affirmation — assuring yourself that you’re okay — muscle tensing exercises and visualisation of more serene environments.
Even focusing on music or a good book can help to bring your stress levels under control.