What Raises Our Anxiety Levels When Travelling
Stress can be a constant companion when you are a parent of four children and suffer from anxiety. Every day presents potentially stressful scenarios and situations and that’s without even leaving home. Add in a strange environment, new sights, sounds and smells and you have the very real potential for over-stimulation of the senses. So, how do we reduce stress when travelling with four children?
In a family with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) the ability to reduce stress is a very real issue to be confronted on a daily basis. We don’t let fear of stressful situations stop us travelling, but we are mindful of our limits. We slow travel, aiming to spend weeks, even months in an area to be able to take our time and not feel rushed. Not feeling pressured to be out every day exploring helps us reduce stress when travelling with four children. Some days leaving the apparent safety of four walls is too much, so being able to take a day off sight-seeing and adventuring is beneficial for all.
Over the past few years we have identified a few areas that cause stress for our family. Our major sources of stress when travelling with our children may not be the same as yours. The health and well-being of our family is a number one priority whether we are actively travelling or not. Being able to reduce stress and anxiety for all our family members allows more room for fun!
Stressing About Food Allergies and Intolerances!
The number one cause of stress for us revolves around access to safe food. Our eldest suffers from anaphylaxis to peanuts. Therefore, sourcing safe food is one of our number one priorities. Ensuring we have access to two Epi-pens and anti-histamines is essential. As well as avoiding peanuts we also try and minimise our exposure to gluten, and artificial food colourings and preservatives (FAILSAFE). If our diet suffers then so does our mental and physical health. Our ability to cope in stressful situations can be compromised with excessive exposure.
Being Stressed on Public Transport
One of the most stressful situations we’ve come across is using public transport with children. Planes, trains, boats or automobiles all have their challenges. Confined spaces like aircraft cabins and an ever-watchful crowd of often opinionated passengers has the potential to stress us all out at one time or another! Having used various modes of travel with between one and four children over the past twelve years we can safely say we have been in some fairly awful, stressful and downright miserable situations.
Example: when your toddler has had a very tiring day and saves his biggest tantrum for the minibus ride back up to Valetta in Malta. A fellow passenger felt they had the right to point in his face and say, ”You’re a very naughty boy” as they got off. All the other passengers clapped – now that’s not a fun memory. I wanted the ground to swallow me up as I didn’t have the energy to fight back with a witty response! I just hugged my son tighter trying to keep him calm and protect him. Lessons have been learned from this situation and others.
We’ll share our tips with you in this post and others on how to avoid these types of scenarios and reduce stress.
The Potential to Get Sick or Suffer an Injury Causes Stress
We as a family are fairly accident prone e.g. our eldest once ran into a cannon and split his fore-head open! No broken bones for the children in twelve years but we’ve come close a few times. We’ve had our fair share of hospital visits and admissions for a variety of reasons. Many a suspected concussion from yet another fall or trip. Surgery for split lips, ambulance rides for suspected appendicitis, asthma attacks, anaphylaxis and pneumonia.
You don’t have to be travelling to require medical assistance. Never travel without medical and health insurance! We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance as do many worldwide travellers especially those on extended travel. Note: you must have a home country to which you retain the right of residence to be returned to in the event of a serious emergency. We are British and New Zealand passport holders so can choose either country as we have family in both with addresses we can use. We have no official ‘home-base’ of our own anymore!
Our Top 3 Tips to Reduce Stress When Travelling With Children
- SLOW DOWN! Don’t try and pack too much in to any one day or trip. Take a day off sightseeing and stay ‘home’. Tired children and adults cope less well with stress and when under pressure to fit everything in. Avoid peak times on public transport and limit flight times if possible.
- Take precautions with health such as essential medical supplies, travel insurance and research access to emergency care in the country you’re visiting. When visiting a non-English speaking country we carry a Peanut Allergy card in the local language to show restaurant staff and medical personal should it become necessary.
- It is not possible to plan for every situation but I carry a kit that helps us that contains: a simple first aid kit, activated charcoal, Rescue Remedy, Arnica spray, Epi-pens, anti-histamine, Ventolin (asthma), Vitamin C, Colloidal Silver and my favourite essential oils e.g. lavender, Thieves and Stress Away (Young Living Oils). I also try to source apple cider vinegar (unfiltered with the Mother), olive leaf extract and coconut oil once settled somewhere new, These are difficult to travel with as coconut oil is liquid when warm and usually in glass jars!
Need more tips to reduce stress when travelling?
There are many families out there travelling and coping with stressful situations every day. Use our tips and theirs to help you plan your adventures and reduce stress for your own travel situations.
Jess offers her tips for reducing holiday stress on her website and Magnets from Everywhere have some fabulous ideas too. Argey Family from Lots Of Planets Have A North share some of their tips from their extensive travels for reducing family stress.
Remember, whilst all families are different there will be a common theme to these tips. We all want to offer our advice so you can plan ahead for your own travels and reduce stress for YOUR family travel experiences.
Spotted on Marie’s page Adventures in Family Travel are some great tips for reducing family stress whilst travelling. Take time to checkout Meldrum’s on the Move for more great tips for reducing family stress whilst travelling. Over on Border Free Adventures site you can find their Top 3 Tips for reducing stress on family trips.
Still need more inspiration and top tips for reducing stress on family trips? Then hop on over and see what the Travelling Page Family have to share. Gillian from World Schooler Exchange recommends you Go Slow, Be Prepared and be flexible!
We do hope that our tips and those from other fellow travellers inspire you to face your fears, plan a trip and minimise the stress!
GO HAVE FUN!!!