Travel anxiety has become a strong theme on Bravo recently. Consider that the ladies of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills travel to Berlin for a girls trip this season and things get weird for Kyle Richards when she gets sick far from home. “I got really upset,” she revealed to People about the trip. “A bunch of people got really upset… There were a lot of things and I had a little medical situation because I’m allergic to horses.”
The group went horseback riding “out in the middle of nowhere,” where Kyle had what she called “almost an anaphylactic reaction” and wasn’t armed with her EpiPen.
“I didn’t have my EpiPen, so I had a panic attack,” she said. “And it’s really fun to have a panic attack with cameras in your face. Some man came up and he was like ‘Take this.’ And I have a phobia of medicine — one of my many phobias. I cannot just take a random thing someone hands me. But then I got so desperate because the whites of my eyes were blood red. I took them and I was like, ‘Dear God, get me home in one piece. I do not want to die in Berlin.’”
Kyle's anxiety about traveling has included a fear of flying in the past. She even sought help from a hypnotherapist for the issue (clip below).
The Real Housewives of New York City ladies also suffer their own trauma while filming the latest season — which led to a few of them seeking therapy in the wake of a boat trip in South America that went horribly wrong.
“The Real Housewives of New York cast was recently on a boat in South America and encountered turbulent water. Thankfully, everyone is fine and was able to continue their vacation as planned," Bravo said in a statement. "The safety of our cast and crew is paramount and, to that end, we are doing a full investigation.”
Reports said the old, decrepit boat was so rocky, Bethenny Frankel, Ramona Singer, Carole Radziwill, Luann de Lesseps, Sonja Morgan, Dorinda Medley, and Tinsley Mortimer were all terrified after it caught on fire.
Additionally, Vanderpump Rules castmate Kristen Doute had a hotel room meltdown in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, according to Stassi Schroeder, who left the duo’s room in the middle of the night to go sleep with Tom Schwartz and Katie Maloney-Schwartz.
Kristen admitted on the show, “traveling freaks my brain out,” and took to Twitter to open up about the anxiety attacks the Mexico trip provoked. "I was going to spend my entire night making jokes about my travel anxiety because sometimes I do roll my eyes about it," she wrote after the episode aired. "THANK YOU to every person that connected with me and has felt the same. It made tonight a lot easier."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health issues are among the leading causes of ill health among travelers, and ‘psychiatric emergency’ is one of the most common medical reasons for air evacuation, along with injury and cardiovascular disease.”
Traveling makes us uneasy and afraid. Not to mention uncomfortable, exhausted, and craving the comforts of home — even if we love new places. People who regularly suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, or depression can get hit with travel anxiety simply because travel represents change and can trigger those feelings. Being far from home, flying, foreign accents, or food, and not knowing your way around can all upset your balance.
So what are some travel anxiety tips that can help Bravo celebrities and everyday jetsetters alike?
Dr. Sarah Kohl, founder and president of TravelReadyMD, tells Jet Set that the first thing to do is acknowledge your anxiety or depression (or both) symptoms are flaring up and that you are facing a trip.
“There are things that can get you stuck in a mental loop,” she says. “There are relaxation and mindful and meditation techniques you can get from your therapist. People often underestimate regular eating and sleeping, which can get a person into a really vicious spin when they are off balance.”
Travel anxiety tips
Kohl says to try to get up at your usual time as much as you can and have as much control of your schedule as you can, even if you are away on work.
“Have your usual meals, and normalize as much as you can,” she adds. “You need eight hours of sleep, so try to get it. Rest if you can’t sleep. Meditate if you wake up with jet lag."
Touching base with your loved ones also helps, there are very few destinations that don’t have access to Wi-Fi.
“It reorients you,” Kohl says. “And they can be reassuring because they know you. Some people even make therapy arrangements and have a session while traveling.”
If it becomes too debilitating? Just go home, Kohl says.
“Make plans to go home, get travel health insurance that should help with arranging new plans home.”
“Not having your comforts and having newness maxes you out and you don’t have much reserve or energy left to take care of yourself."
If you love to travel but still suffer from anxiety, make sure if you take meds, that you’ve been on a stable dose that works for you for at least three months.
“There are so many techniques therapy can teach you so you can not just survive your trip, you can enjoy it,” Kohl says.
Finally, have a point person who is with you or lives where you are visiting in case of emergency, learn the local way to call 911, and try to enjoy being on a vacation without the pressures of having the best time ever. Try to pinpoint your travel anxiety triggers and avoid them. If you can’t avoid, learn tools to deal, like breathing exercises while flying. And don’t feel you have to conquer everything — just a few stops or even walking around aimlessly is less pressure.
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