Expert provides simple ways you can make traveling less stressful

Travelers (10TV)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (10TV) -- With Thanksgiving this week and the holiday travel season in full swing, many people might feel anxious about traveling. If the thought of boarding a plane or taking a long car drive over the river and through the woods makes you feel sick to your stomach, there are some things you can do to ease that pre-travel anxiety.

Travel anxiety is a real thing. Not only can it complicate family interactions, it can make you feel physically sick as well.

"People sometimes being told oh, it's all in your head, is really not terribly fair," says Dr. Cheryl Carmin, a professor of psychology at the OSU Wexner Medical Center. She says the first step in dealing with travel anxiety is finding out what is making you anxious.

"For some people, it is the method of conveyance," says Dr. Carmin. "So, some people are afraid to fly. Sometimes, its just leaving home. Sometimes, it's even a pet, leaving that pet with a pet sitter or boarding. Any of those kinds of factors can make traveling an anxiety-provoking ordeal."

Just getting to your destination can be troublesome for some people. "If they're going to be stuck in the back seat for hours and hours and hours," she says, "they're not going to do it."

Dr. Carmin says, if you know far enough in advance that you're going to travel, a little pre-planning can go a long way. For example, if you're facing a long car ride, maybe start out by taking smaller trips, gradually spending more and more time in the car. "If they have to drive a freeway, in order to get where they're going," she says, "it may be a matter of going one freeway exit, getting off, coming down the opposite ramp, and doing big circles, and gradually expanding those circles."

Dr. Carmin added that doing simple, everyday things can help you de-stress before you travel. "If you know that you like getting a haircut before you are gonna go somewhere, or get a manicure, do that! Don't give up those methods of relaxation and anxiety management, if you will, because you don't have time. You need to make time. Because ultimately, it helps."

When dealing with any kind of travel anxiety, Dr. Carmin says the most important thing to remember is to just breathe. "It's next to impossible to be breathing slowly and to be anxious," she says. "Think through this, start breathing and focus on your breathing. Don't focus on all of those what-if types of thoughts."

You can read more of Dr. Carmin's tips to ease pre-travel anxiety here.