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Does anyone besides me get last minute jitters before a big trip?

Does anyone else get last minute anxiety before a big trip? Or even feel like after the months of planning, now you just don't even want to go? We leave in two days (I'll be gone for two months, most of that time by myself) and I'm feeling more anxious than excited right now.

There are a number of reasons for my anxiety, not the least of which is the 9-1/2 hour flight to Rome. I don't like to fly, and this is the longest flight I've ever taken (this is my first time flying non-stop to Europe and the farthest I've ever flown)

PS, if you think my question is a stupid waste of time (like someone said on another thread I started) then please just move on and refrain from posting a snarky comment. I get that this doesn't apply to everyone, but maybe others feel the same way as me and it would help to know I'm the the only one. Thank you! :)

Posted by
11450 posts

I don’t hunk this is a stupid question , I posted similar myself , and many posters helped me a lot with reassurance.

I’m not into the flying either but manage , but I always get anxiety thinking I’ve somehow screwed up my bookings ( I do all booking and planning ) - all last trip was 5 weeks , so I had booked 9 hotels , 5 flights , two trains and a ferry , and I was nervous I had somewhere messed up on dates etc . Also stressed that I had all bookings properly confirmed and that I remembered which flights I still had to do online check in and print boarding passes for ( since some I could only do 30 days in advance of flight ) .

It’s normal I think , to be nervous and excited!

Everything will work out fine and I just kept in mind the “ worst case scenario “ would be a disaster- I have a credit card - if something went wrong I could just fix it (( would of course be an expensive fix if I needed to rebook a flight ) but nothing would ruin trip completely as long as we stayed healthy !

You will be fine and have fun

Posted by
1943 posts

Oh yes, absolutely! I'm within 4 days of leaving. Everything is checked off my todo list. The clothes are hanging together, ready to go in the suitcase. I've done this dozens of times before. And I'm all nervous excitement! And not for any good reason. Even if none of my "plans" work out, I'll still be in Europe with a credit card and can do whatever strikes my fancy!

Posted by
92 posts

Yep, I feel that way before every trip and I have flown to Europe almost every year for over 25 years! I really don’t like flying ( for me it doesn’t get any easier but it’s still the most efficient way to get there). I love the planning and love the vacation itself but before every trip I get this anxious feeling that I can’t quite explain. It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m traveling by myself or with others. I try to put those feelings to rest by double checking reservations but until I am in my seat on the plane, I still have that nagging feeling. However, once they announce that boarding is complete and the cabin door is closing, then it goes away and I’m in complete relaxed vacation mode! Hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
236 posts

I'll add that another part of the anxiety is because last week - on my birthday, no less - someone broke into my car when I was at the gym and stole my iPad. I had tucked it out of sight, and I was in a "good" part of town in the middle of the day in a very visible parking lot right in front of the gym. I was only in the gym for 30 minutes!

So that added to my anxieties about traveling. Now, all of the sudden, I feel like I'm going to spend my trip being stressed about protecting my property when in the past I was careful but not overly worried about it.

Posted by
685 posts

Your aren't the only one. I worry about the flight, about not getting to the airport on time because of traffic, about lost luggage, that even with all the planning things won't work out as envisioned, the unknown in general, etc.

Long flights stink especially if you're in an uncomfortable coach seat and you don't sleep well on planes. Lots of info on the internet of how to make a long haul flight more bearable.

If it's the planning versus reality factor I've found the hard way that some things that I was looking forward to turn out to be soso yet I'm often happily surprised by unexpected finds.

Some people are worriers and some aren't. Fyi, some of the "aren't" don't necessarily handle crisis any better than the rest of us.

Posted by
885 posts

Not at all stupid to post, and not at all unusual to feel! Once I get to a few days before a trip, I always think, “Why did I ever think this was a good idea? Everything is going to go wrong and I would much rather just stay home.” Thankfully once my first flight gets in the air, this feeling goes away and I am good again, and excited again. I hope the same is true for you. Don’t listen to the anxiety-it lies!

Posted by
8248 posts

Oh yes. I'm in the countdown and getting to that point. Leaving a week from Wednesday. I've had a look to make sure all my reservations are in place for the correct dates, lol. I've got everything packed but my clothing, lol! Oh yeah, and charger cords.

I'm trying to decide today if I am getting a sore throat so I'm taking Airborne every few hours. Got my flu shot last week. Have WetOnes to wipe down the plane seat area.

My current anxiety is over how much walking I've done. Will I have done enough? I went in March/April and from the winter was not in as good a shape as I like to be in but this time I ~think~ I'm good! 4 miles is a piece of cake. 7 is a push but doable.

It looks like Paris is hot this week which is awful. It looks like rain for next weekend so it will be cooler but now I'm worried that it will be in the 80's and I just can't do that! I tell myself "It is what it is" but really, I'm not listening, lol!

Flights don't bother me. I fly from Salt Lake City to Paris so that is 9-ish hours just for that leg plus my puddle-jumper commuter flight down to SLC.

My anxiety dissolves once I am on the plane for my first flight to my hub.

You'll have a wonderful time...as will we all!

Posted by
1188 posts

One time I flew from Seattle to Amsterdam with a London connection and missed my booked flight because of weather...the airlines found me a spot on a commuter plane with very nice lounge seating and we actually got there almost before the international jet. Another time we were going to Porto Vallarta Mexico at for Christmas week and found out our Hotel had been sold and not open and the town was sold out so they offered to rebook us on a flight to Guadalajara and we got a penthouse room in a classic old-time hotel. We enjoyed great Holiday Markets and Mariachi Bands, visited Tequila with a great tasting tour and had a wonderful New Years Eve with the Locals instead of the Tourists in Porto Vallarta. So, although our original plans didn't work out we had a great time! We took a bus back thru Taxco to Porto Vallarta for our return flight. So take advantage of serendipity and enjoy yourself.

Posted by
7588 posts

That’s horrible about your iPad.It makes you feel so vulnerable.

You are by no means alone.
I get major, major anxiety the day we leave, afraid I’ll screw something up, like leaving an iron on—despite fifty years of transatlantic flights and our detailed lists. My husband and our airport driver sort of know how to talk me off the ledge, though logic is useless, unless you concentrate real hard on the task ahead and keep going forward. Our handyman rechecks everything after we leave. I sometimes head to the masseuse after security for a real massage, not the neck one. Then there’s Netflix with noise canceling headphones which gets flipped on as soon as I board. Finally, you can always ask your doc for a valium prescription, but nowadays Netfix works better for me.

Oh, and I did screw up on an Alaska trip last month, booking our hotel for the wrong month. I realized as we were taxiing to the gate after landing. We ended up paying triple for the night. Stuff happens. Throw money at it when it does but cut corners elsewhere.

Posted by
4600 posts

I'm always surprised when people say they don't get last minute jitters. All the details that have (or haven't) been worked out, all the things that could (but probably won't) go wrong, then, of course, having to actually get on that damned plane.

I took my first international flight over 50 years ago (can't actually believe that, myself, but the math says it's true) and I still am a wreck the last couple of days before a trip. It does now get better for me once on the plane. That's an improvement; I used to be white-knuckled all the way to Europe.

And as to this:

if you think my question is a stupid waste of time (like someone said on another thread I started) then please just move on and refrain from posting a snarky comment

I remember that thread, and the offending post, and like many others, thought unpleasant things about the fellow who made the snarky comment. It's happened to me, too, and it hurts. Just know that most of us are open to just about any question, even if it isn't of burning importance. Sometimes the more casual threads are actually more fun (i.e., Atlantis or the gold toilet theft) or even informative, allowing us to share some feelings we might be a bit shy about volunteering.

Have a wonderful trip, and let us know how it goes. We want to know.

Posted by
2157 posts

Not so much jitters—my 11th solo trip abroad is on Thursday—but a few times I have made a busy itinerary for myself in November and by the time I leave in May life events have happened that caused anxiety; one year I needed major surgery in Feb and the first thing I said to the surgeon was, “I’m going to Amsterdam in April, will I be okay for that?!” I was, thank goodness 😉

Posted by
2588 posts

I'm finishing up a 25-day solo trip, by far the longest solo trip I have taken. I was fine until I was quite literally walking off the plane at my destination and overwhelming anxiety seized me as I thought, "Oh, no, what have I done? I'm going to be here by myself for almost a month." I took about 30 seconds to calm myself with a little positive-self talk and kept walking.

Posted by
789 posts

I read your post with a smile. The question is exceptionally introspective. Every time I travel I go through the same thoughts. I think it happens because you have just spent hours of time planning and now it is time to go. It always gets better once you land because its time to execute your plan. I play a lot of golf and no matter how many rounds I have played or practiced, the first drive in a tournament is a little nerve racking. Two months of travel sounds long to some people, but my experience, it is day by day. Without knowing where you are going I am sure this will be a wonderful trip for you. Enjoy yourself. It sounds like you are ready.

Posted by
6334 posts

The question is not a stupid waste of time, it's a good question and I'm sure others have been in the same position. For myself, I'm not sure if you'd call it 'jitters' but I know that no matter what I do or how prepared I am I never get a good night's sleep before a trip. My brain just won't go to sleep and keeps working on all the things that I might have forgotten, or what could possibly go wrong, etc. But I've never gotten to the point of not wanting to go - on the contrary it's more that I'm just so anxious to get going that I can't settle down.

Posted by
920 posts

Oh my - most of my friends who have taken me to the airport or the airport train have heard my refrain of "Why am I doing this? I don't really want to go!" Once at the airport - usually Philly - I fall into a state of automatic pilot. I mean airports are not reality. They are a kind of limbo zone. I go through the motions of watching movies and eating while on the plane - captive. It is only on landing, often at Heathrow 5, that I feel a return to pleasure kick in. I don't mean that deep down I have forgotten I am excited to be going to Venice, or London, or wherever, it is just that the excitement is mixed with some fear. I wonder if this is because I often fly alone? I will have to ponder. All this has not prevented me from flying to Europe as often as possible, and I hope to continue that pattern, but maybe work on the anxiety a bit, too.

PS, I have an opportunity this winter to test my theory on being alone in my outbound journey. I have coincidentally booked the same flight that a work friend is on - both in business. I am actually looking forward to this!!

Posted by
236 posts

Oh my - most of my friends who have taken me to the airport or the
airport train have heard my refrain of "Why am I doing this? I don't
really want to go!"

Oh gosh, that is me! I've been texting my BFF all day saying, "I don't want to go!" but she's used to it. ;)

Posted by
920 posts

Yes, Lisa, my friends tend to ignore me. In truth, they probably wish they were going with me! I am looking forward to being on the plane with someone I know even if we are not going to the same ultimate destination. I have also discovered that when completing RS tours, if someone is leaving from the same airport and we take transport together to get there, we often hang out or support each other when we see each other (watch luggage while the other is in the WC, etc.). I think it is that companionship that I often miss when heading out. As soon as I hit Heathrow 5 upon landing - actually stepping outside - I feel a sense of euphoria. Ah, travel!

Posted by
4697 posts

Yes, I get nervous as departure day approaches, and have second thoughts about what could go wrong. Now I'm four weeks out from a 3+ week trip, most reservations made, getting into real prep mode after finishing a shorter trip yesterday. But I love to travel and once I get going I seem to roll with it pretty well -- though haven't had any major disasters to test my resilience.

I hate those long flights too, but what the hell, they end soon enough. Would be easier if I slept well on planes, but I know I won't so I keep entertained with reading and tablet solitaire and maybe a movie if they're showing a good one.

Your question is a good one, and as you see it's brought out a lot of the same feelings in very experienced travelers. Actually, I'd be surprised if many people felt differently before a long trip. I suppose frequent business travelers can avoid anxiety like ours, maybe because they replace it with anxiety about whatever business purposes their trips have.

Posted by
96 posts

Same! I panicked first, then got excited! The biggest thing to remember is that you can't control people or circumstances--only how you prepare and react to things.

On my last trip:
- Activity I had booked 6 months prior had moved locations and nobody told me. It was a wine and cheese tasting at a Paris cheese shop. Ended up just walking around Paris and got a credit since it was their error.
- Had my Uber take me to the wrong address for a group tour of the Louvre and missed the group/start. Just went in on my own, saw what I wanted to see, had a lovely lunch at a cafe in the museum and walked around Paris. Probably had more fun going on my own anyway!
- Left my money belt (ONLY TAKE IT OFF WHEN IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM!) at a pasty shop in Windsor. Luckily, I discovered this when I was just down the street trying to buy something. Of course, I panicked. Thankfully, the sweet gals at the shop held it for me and I was able to go back and retrieve it. I had had a lovely conversation with them before I left, and I'm sure that helped. :)

Posted by
9 posts

I'm so glad you started this thread! I thought I was the only one! Not only is it the anxiety of the plans going wrong, long flight, bad hotel choices, etc., but the expense. You wonder if it's all worth it. Of course we all agree that once you go, it's worth every dime! Otherwise, we wouldn't be on this forum planning our next big adventure :)

Posted by
12343 posts

I almost always get the travel anxieties, what I call the travel willies, starting about 2-3 days prior to departure. Sometimes on the night before, even the packing of the clothes is done, I redo the entire packing, change my mind as to which shirts to bring, etc, bottom line is that by the time end up turning in for the night, I only have 4.5 hrs left.

Everything is all set the night before, ie, passport in the jacket pocket, meds counted and packed, plane ticket info in the pants right pocket, etc, etc. Still, all this accounts for the "travel willies" I get since the Economy flight is going to be non-stop, ca 11 hours dep from SFO or OAK.

Leaving the house has to be planned with time factored in for error, etc. since I take public transport half the time, if the Mrs does not drive me to SFO itself or the BART station. I want to get to the airport 3-4 hrs prior to take-off.

Posted by
12343 posts

@ Dave...lucky you on going for that amount of time alone over there ...bravo!!.

Posted by
1062 posts

Oh, this is not a stupid question at all!
I get my first anxiety attack (and all are actually minor, really), right after I hit the "buy" button for my airfare! It doesn't matter that I have been subbing for weeks to pay for this...
Then I get another after arranging for the lodging, or tour if applicable.
Then again when... well, you get the picture!
At least for me, it's all part of the roller-coaster continuum of trip planning.
I'm used to it now and with any luck, you will get used to it too.
Have a wonderful time and let us know how you are doing!

Posted by
490 posts

I get the same way. I’m actually already feeling it for our next trip in November. I started planning in January and have been seriously over thinking everything. I think I’ve changed almost every reservation I originally made for lodging. This will be our 10th or 11th trip, so we know what to expect and our previous trips have all been great. I think it’s the pressure of making this trip better than the last that gives me anxiety! At this point I just want to GO already so I can stop thinking about it! But I know I’ll be in a funk when we get back because I’ll have nothing to research!

Posted by
116 posts

I feel the same way -usually about 3-4 days out. I like to print and organize all my confirmations and it helps to go through everything one more time and make sure it is all is in order. We have started getting to the airport much earlier than recommended and have made a non-rushed meal and glass of wine part of our routine. It helps me with pre-trip nerves to just get out of the house and to know we don't have to worry about something unexpected on the way to, or at the airport.

I am sorry about your iPad. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
9779 posts

Welcome to the Pre-Trip Jitters Club! The final month before a trip is agony while I watch the calendar days tick slowly by, but the last 5 days, after I have packed, I get anxious. The anxiety does not leave until we are in the over-water flight, then I relax completely because at the end of that flight, no matter what, I will be THERE!

The other time I get jittery is when I am about to pull the trigger on airline tickets, or when waiting for seats to be released so I can use points. Not a good time for an error, and so far, so good!

Posted by
14326 posts

I used to get those jitters before every trip. For me it turned out to be anxiety about something going wrong in the late planning stages. The tummy butterflies would build up starting about a week before departure to the point where I couldn't sleep the night before. They'd start to decrease when I left for the airport and were gone by the time I was airside. I've made so many trips in the last few years, it's become a routine thing and I sometimes feel that I've lost some of the magic. But the feeling you're having of not wanting to go - I too get it every now and then before a trip.

The absolute worst thing that happened to me was before a 6-week trip to Beijing, New Zealand, Australia and Bangkok. My flight was for 30 minutes after midnight and I got the date wrong, had it in my mind that I was flying on Thursday night. On Wednesday, I thought I was doing fine. Everything was packed except for a couple last minute items. I had to take my cat to another city, nearly a 2 hour drive away, and I had to buy a new backpack and I had a full day to do everything leisurely. Then at 4 p.m. I got an SMS from the airline offering some promotion for my flight tonight! Yikes, 6 hours until I had to be at the airport. Total panic, brain freeze and trembling. I called a friend who calmed me down, then with the help of several wonderful friends, I made arrangements to get the cat (any cat owner will understand) to her sitter, and even bought the backpack.
I still get uneasy when I recount the experience.

Posted by
2043 posts

My BIL has such anxiety that after our last trip together, summer of 2018 to Croatia, he told my sister he won’t be going on any more international trips. He will fly domestic, but not over water. Of course my sister is hoping if she waits awhile he will change his mind. We are hoping to plan a trip to Spain in 2021. I am nervous till the plane lands and the smallest turbulence has me white knuckled, grabbing my husband. I still get on that plane, but i am nervous.

Posted by
2349 posts

I get nervous that something will stop me from going on my trip. Medical problem, death in family, work issues, car accident, etc. Once I'm at the airport and on the plane I'm good.

You'll be on a long trip. Maybe giving yourself permission to end the trip early will help. Is anyone making you go for two months? Just think to yourself, I can always cut the trip short. That safety valve will likely take down some pressure on you. And when you've been gone for a month and think that you'll go home early, that might me a sign that you need some down time. Take a day or two of rest before you make plans to return. And maybe play The Clash "Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?"

Posted by
236 posts

It seems like a lot of people are saying they finally relax once the flight is underway. I hope so!

I can relate to getting the dates wrong on flights and hotels - been there/done that. In fact, although I usually do my own bookings for domestic flights, I REFUSED to book this flight (because yes, I have also gotten the text message about "Your Flight Today" when it was supposed to be next week!) My SIL is a travel agent - old school style - and I insisted that she do it. So even if something does go wrong, she has my back.

The anxiety right now - we leave TOMORROW - is more about being gone for two months. Also, I've worked up an anxiety about being scammed or robbed. Not only because my own car was broken into recently, but because my friend who lives in Paris was recently purse-snatched in broad daylight in the 6ème. We try to not "look like a tourist" because that makes us a target, but Isabelle is pure Parisienne born and bred - she looks and acts every inch the part, and is a savvy big city girl. Another French friend had her suitcase stolen on the TGV last year on her way home from visiting us. And my next door neighbor took a vacation in Italy earlier this year and said their tour bus was broken into in Rome and that they had to literally fight off the pickpockets in Florence.

So I'm in a lather about making sure everything is protected, backed up, copied in duplicate, insured, etc. Rather than think about the fun we're going to have, all I can envision is clutching my belongings and nervously looking over my shoulder every minute. (Breathe deep! Breathe deep! lol)

Posted by
1544 posts

Welcome to the Pre-Trip Jitters Club!

Isn't it nice to know many people are right there with you? Maybe nice isn't the right word, but comforting anyway. It is natural to be nervous for something you have invested a lot of time, money, and energy planning. I also travel solo and there's a lot of pressure to get things right, especially since it's all on you to fix things if they go wrong. Just know that there is very little a credit card can't remedy.

For the 9 hour flight, no good suggestions, other than to try and sleep if you can. You may find that the benefit of getting right to your destination outweighs the time, and you'll be unwilling to take multiple stop flights ever again (that's true for me). If you're feeling jitters mid flight, take a lap around the plane (if safe to do so). If the flight staff are in a lull with their service schedule, they may let you stand in the back galley area and stretch your legs for a little bit (just don't get in the way). That usually helps me feel less penned in.

Good luck and bon voyage!

Posted by
236 posts

@ CL

If the flight staff are in a lull with their service schedule, they
may let you stand in the back galley area and stretch your legs for a
little bit (just don't get in the way).

Thanks for the encouraging words!

It's funny, a friend of ours is a FA with Delta, and being multi-lingual she does mostly transatlantic flights. She has been flying to Rome almost every week this summer! But when she bid on our trip tomorrow, she didn't get it. I was looking forward to her being on our flight, for some reason I found that kind of comforting.

It's funny because she said Tuesday is the most popular day among FAs to fly out to Europe and seniority gets first pick. She has "only" been with Delta 18 years, so she didn't get it.

Posted by
236 posts

@ Karen

Maybe giving yourself permission to end the trip early will help. Is
anyone making you go for two months? Just think to yourself, I can
always cut the trip short. That safety valve will likely take down
some pressure on you.

Yes, I've already thought of this. The most I'd have to lose is a change fee to reschedule my flight.

Posted by
84 posts

lisalu, my best tidbits:
- money-belt, neck wallet, or even a short sock pinned closed and pinned into pants
- divide the valuables between the two of you and on your person
- have a friend or neighbor stop by your home at random times/days; give them your email j-i-c
- turn off the water to your whole house.

FWIW neither of us can tolerate those money-belts or neck wallets, so I adapted a neck wallet into two small pockets to safety-pin into our jeans. The neck wallet came with two zippers, so it was just cut and then sew a few inches. I know that you don’t have time for this remedy, hence the sock suggestion.

Life happens regardless of your presence or proximity to home. I once came home from a shopping day in the city to find a flooded bathroom:( Try just breathing deeply and telling yourself that you intend to have a great time, acknowledging that if life happens you will address that when needed.
Happy travels-

Posted by
8248 posts

It's nice to see all the comments!

I'll add I do worry about my credit/debit cards as I am a solo traveler. I DID get pickpocketed in 2017 in Paris, somewhere between the Odeon Metro station and the Motte-Picquet Metro station. They did not get anything except my pouch with OTC meds and my good hand lotion, lol but it scared the cr*p out of me and made me more aware of safety of cards. I did have my money belt on with back up cards in it so they would only have gotten one debit and one credit if they'd gotten in the right pocket in my purse. I always "divide and conquer" with cards.

I'm NOT saying this to worry you!

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/oops-sort-of-pick-pocketed-on-paris-metro-yesterday

PS Make sure you have a cheatsheet your passwords to all your accounts you might need to access over the next few months!

Posted by
4600 posts

Pam's right about the password cheat sheet. And not just for while you're on the tour... A couple of years ago we returned home after about 5 weeks in Europe, and it took the two of us brainstorming for several hours to remember the password to access DH's computer - the one we do about 90% of our work and correspondence on. Yikes!

So this year I found a tiny little notebook, and wrote down all the passwords we might need while gone, as well as the main passwords for devices and programs we would not be using while traveling. Peace of mind. Well, except for worrying that I had forgotten to include something important... Or that I would lose the tiny little notebook...

Posted by
1878 posts

I get really stressed before every trip. So much of life is routinized, it’s a coping mechanism because if it were not, every day life would be overwhelming. At least in my fast-paced existence. Breaking out of that routine is stressful in and of itself. But it’s also necessary, at least for me. Once my feet are on the ground on the other end I’m fine though. I have travel stress dreams before about incredibly cramped seating on planes. The pending incivility on flights is stressful, I hate flying so much it does occasionally make me wonder whether I should keep traveling but so far I keep doing it. I worry about making a very expensive mistake like missing a flight, or something that puts me out in the cold like missing the last train back on a day trip. By the end of a two week trip I have my travel legs on and I don’t worry so much. Living in the moment just does that for me, disconnects my worry circuitry. When I have travel apprehension before departing from home I don’t think, just do. One foot in front of the other. If I do think, it’s about how much I’ll regret it if I don’t go. I have had trips where I had to convince myself that I really wanted to go. But I have never regretted going during or after, not even close.

Posted by
2291 posts

We leave tomorrow at 6:35 PM. As I pack, I'm trying to keep my anxiety at bay by constantly reminding myself that Europe is full of whatever it is that I will forget to pack.

Posted by
236 posts

I get really stressed before every trip. So much of life is
routinized, it’s a coping mechanism because if it were not, every day
life would be overwhelming. At least in my fast-paced existence.
Breaking out of that routine is stressful in and of itself. But it’s
also necessary, at least for me. Once my feet are on the ground on the
other end I’m fine though.

Very good words, thank you. I think you hit the nail on the head. We get bored and even stressed by our daily routine and long to travel, but then the thought of breaking out of the familiar routine is a whole new stress.

Also, I am thinking about this great big EUROPE. Rome! Paris! London! (I'm going to all three and points between) I'm picturing pickpockets, scam artists, and terrorists lurking everywhere I go. But of course you're only in one small place at any one point in time, and it doesn't seem so overwhelming if you take it moment by moment. Need to remember that...

Posted by
236 posts

@ Kaeleku
Yes! I also do much better on the spur of the moment, and I MUCH prefer reaching the gate barely in time for boarding. The less stressful trips for me are the ones where I decide to go at the last minute and then I get "in the mode" just like you did and I get everything done bam! bam! bam! (Somewhere on a Fear of Flying video there was the suggestion that you should arrive early to the airport to calm your fears but waiting around at the gate just pumps up the anxiety for me.)

When I book several months ahead like this time, I go nuts overthinking it and obsessing about it until by the time departure day arrives I'm so anxious I don't even want to go anymore! I just told my sister today, in fact, that next time I'll just keep an eye out for a great deal on flights, then book it and GO. We'll all be happier. :)

Posted by
1 posts

Yes, you are not the only one. I am getting very anxious and nervous myself. We are leaving for France in 3 weeks. I have an idea of what to bring and not to bring. Packing light. Not sure if I should bring or use a small cross body purse, money belt, money vest etc and still look reasonably like a local. Bought good walking shoes. Extremely worried about getting through security at airport and pickpockets in Paris. I know once I get there I will be fine but I am still uneasy. Any recommendations to ease my anxiety would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by
14326 posts

So I'm in a lather about making sure everything is protected, backed up, copied in duplicate, insured, etc.

Then maybe the jitters will go when you get to the airport. Just keep saying "Well, there's nothing I can do about it now!!"

Posted by
173 posts

Last year on our 3 week trip to Greece, 5 hours before our scheduled flight I received a text from the airline that our flight to Pennsylvania was cancelled so we would not make it to our connecting flight to Athens. My anxiety went through the roof as we were getting ready to leave for the airport. I got on the phone right away and started to rebook everything. we ended up flying to Boston and taking Iberia airlines to Madrid and Madrid to Athens. I must say that things happen for a reason, as a result we were upgraded to Business class and it was one of the best flights. I love long haul from the west coast, it doesn't bother me, the airline was great, the service was awesome and most importantly we picked up some souvenirs from Madrid on our way to Greece. Take it easy and go with the flow, that was my take from what happened to us. :)

Posted by
679 posts

I always get nervous and anxious. I am the planner of the trip and most of the time someone is going along for the ride. I just returned from a 3 week trip from the Pacific Northwest. It took me months to plan and was very anxious. My problem I take each critique as a criticism of my planning. Oh well, it was a beautiful trip.

Posted by
236 posts

Well we’re here in Rome and everything I planned has gone well, so far. But my traveling companion (husband) got sick with a BAD migraine on the plane and he is still not feeling well. I didn’t plan for that!

Posted by
623 posts

Oh, I'm sorry that your husband's not well. I hope that he's already bouncing back. I hope you enjoy your trip!

I'm late to this party, but the title struck a chord with me and I had to read the whole discussion this morning.

no matter what I do or how prepared I am I never get a good night's
sleep before a trip. My brain just won't go to sleep

^^That's me, although it's not that I 'never' get a good night's sleep, but I usually don't. I really don't get the horrible what-if pre-trip dreads, but my body must be flooded with adrenaline or a stress hormone or something, the night before a trip. I usually sleep very little, and not well. It's not so bad with domestic trips, but it's the norm for trips out of the country. Even when I'm going somewhere I've been before. I don't have any magic cures for it, but I usually pack everything possible a few days ahead, use lists, and generally try to have as few loose ends as possible left on the day and night before the trip.

I don't worry so much about my digital life because I use a password manager. I would hate to live without it. I pay a few bucks a year for the premium subscription. It's cloud-based and works across all my computers and mobile devices. I do keep written notes of a few important passwords.

I also have a personal account with Lookout for my phone and iPad. That service can find the devices if lost/stolen. Even if the device isn't recoverable it can be wiped remotely at least in some circumstances if not all. It's come in handy many times to find my phone. Once I used it to remotely wipe data after I dropped a phone and cracked the screen so that it wasn't operable by the touchscreen. Without having Lookout I'd have been SOL but with it, using my computer I securely backed up and then wiped the phone data, did a factory reset, and sold that puppy for parts on eBay at a decent price.

Posted by
236 posts

Oh, another “amusing” update I’ll pass on to you guys...

So yeah, I’ve obsessively planned every detail of this trip for four months. I bought Rick Steves 2019 Guide to Italy, and bought the little folders you can use to pull out the chapters on the places you’re going and make little individual guidebooks. I had my paper maps of Italy and France with a highlighter tracing our routes. I spread all these out on the dining table which was “Command Central” for the trip planning process.

And guess what. I packed every darn thing you can think of - EVERYTHING - and forgot the guidebooks and the map. They’re still on my dining table right now and I’m in Europe. How could I forget something so OBVIOUS???

Posted by
4600 posts

lisalu910, on one trip my DH left his credit and debit cards on the dining room table. He didn't even notice until my card wouldn't work in an ATM in Palermo, so I asked for his....

Posted by
1943 posts

So annoying about your guide books! I feel your pain.

If having them online would be helpful, you could download them. Might be worth the $20-ish.

Posted by
205 posts

So sorry about the guidebooks! I'm also someone who researches/plans for months and worries as we get closer (Spain in 2.5 weeks and counting), just a born worrier. But I've worked on not 'over planning' and trying to do too much in a day, and going slower and not changing hotels every other day and think that advice we've learned from this forum has really helped tremendously. Hubby and I have discussed and agree that we'd rather make sure we enjoy what we 'are' seeing vs what we might be 'missing'. Don't want everything to be a blur!

Posted by
5668 posts

lisalu910, the guidebook thing happened to me too -- luckily, we had been to several of the places before so we winged it. But so frustrating after all the planning!

Posted by
739 posts

We generally start planing 7 to 8 months ahead of a trip. And will have the whole thing nailed down, day to day, and sometimes hour to hour, two months before we leave. This will include all sorts of back-up plans and alternative transportation options. Every town visited gets researched till we have a working memory of the lay out of the town with extensive Google Street Views and watching other travels' videos on Youtube. In a sense, we "pre-take" the vacation in a virtual way. This takes care of any jitters we might have about the traveling and lodging once we are on the vacation. We have a check list for the morning of departure to make sure we have what we want to take. Yet the two months leading up to the travel date are always tense. Its that time frame that we feel we have the least amount of control over. And its because we've committed to and set these hard dates. Will the house/dog sitter still be able to make the gig? Will any of us get acutely ill? Will the house have some mechanical failure? Sickness in the family? Or a major change at our respective jobs? And then, for us, there is jury duty. We are in some sort of statistical anomaly where in for the last 4 out of 6 trips, either myself or my wife has gotten a jury summons for a date that interferes with the vacation dates. I even have on file, a boiler plate request for postponement. :) I guess it can't be helped to feel tension leading up to a vacation because we have all invested so much time in to it. However we have some friends that are major world travelers. They plan nothing in advance. And buy their flight tickets on a whim if there is a good deal. No hotel reservations, train reservations, car rental reservation or even a planed itinerary. They don't seem to worry at all., and come back with stories of the best vacation imaginable. :) Regarding your fears about a 9 1/2 hour flight, I use to have that also. But I've come to understand that these wide body, jumbo jets are massive, over engineered, triple redundant, ocean liners of the sky. Especially if you can get a 747-400 or an Airbus A340/A380. These things are so huge, you don't even feel any air turbulence. :)

Posted by
12343 posts

Admittedly, I have had two or three close-calls in getting picked, once actually picked in eastern Berlin in 1995 if I still count that incident.

Those close-calls were in Paris. They never got anything since I had the neck pouch and hidden pocket as back-up, but it was still close, ie they could have.

I never carry all my plastic or cash in one place, instead of concentration they are dispersed.

Certainly not " a stupid waste of time" thread...very relevant for the clueless

Posted by
362 posts

Not a stupid question at all! I've been to Europe 5 times, planned all the trips myself. I was checking, double-checking, and triple-checking everything! I agree that 9.5 hours is a long flight, but you'll be fine! And, it's great that it's non-stop, so you don't have to worry about making a connecting flight. Keep focusing on that. Rome is wonderful, you will love it. And, I think it's great that you'll be by yourself a lot - you can do what you want, when you want. I took my first solo trip to Florence last year and had a blast. You've had a lot of good advice on this forum, just remember that and you will have a fine time.

Posted by
41 posts

Hi Lisa,

This is certainly NOT a stupid question (whoever said this to you on another post is a nasty person)! I personally don't have any qualms about flying (a colleague of mine HATES flying and to ease her discomfort visits her doctor who prescribes her something she can take. Just something to consider), but I can definitely relate to the last minute nervousness/anxiety that comes along with a trip abroad. I am a very well organized person; yet my mind will race with the proverbial "What if's?".

You're going to have a wonderful time - two months in Europe! Travel safe my dear.

Posted by
8 posts

And I thought I was the only one who had this problem. I feel so much better reading all the replies. Before a big trip I am just filled with dread. You would think that I was reporting to prison. I don't do much of the logistical work-booking flights etc. My husband does that because he likes a bargain in flights. Our agreement is that I agree to a bargain flight if we can have a better hotel. Really all I have to do is pack and read some guidebooks, but I am still a nervous wreck for weeks before the trip. I'm not sure when I started feeling this dread about traveling, but I know part of it is due to the terrible invasive screening I get from TSA because I have artificial knees. Of course I have a card from my doctor but TSA personnel won't even look at the card. They insist on an ankle to hip pat down each time-not to mention hands inside my waistband. I have noticed that my spirits do lift once I have cleared screening. We get TSA pre check but it does nothing for me although it does make things easier for my husband.

Posted by
1758 posts

Yes. We have a packing list that includes ‘Things to Take’ and ‘Things to Do’. The last entry is Get neurotic.
This was not my doing.

Posted by
6 posts

Lisa, I think you question and feelings are valid. My firs solo European solo (non-travel group) trip was to Paris in 2013. I traveled by myself and stayed in an apartment in the Marais by myself. The night before my trip I had a total panic attack. I had only been to Paris once before in 2010 and I didn't speak French. I arrived at my apartment climbed the 4 flights of stairs and thought to myself, I guess I can just not leave the apartment for a week and I'll be safe. Got up the courage to head down the stairs and when the door closed behind me, I felt wonderful. I had a great time exploring, getting lost and meeting wonderful friends. I've been back every year and although I still get a little jumpy before the trip, I'm always happy that I went. To help with you anxiety, try planning what you want to see, eat and explore, that will help you focus on the fun and exciting part of the trip. Have a wonderful time.