Pre-Trip Anxiety

Often before a family travels on their look-see visit, they are very stressed. They assume they will not be able to find what they want on their trip, that their children will not get accepted into their first choice schools, and that, in general, the trip will fall short of their expectations. We have noted this pattern over some time, to the degree that I coined a phrase to describe it, namely “pre-trip anxiety”. I use this phrase to describe the period after all arrangements have been made and there is nothing a family can do to move the process forward, but they don’t yet know how everything will turn out.


We are finding that pre-trip anxiety is particularly prevalent at present, because families have been thrown many more wildcards than ever before. Companies are changing their policies, homes may not sell, and many more pieces are up in the air due to current economic factors.


2 Responses to Pre-Trip Anxiety

  1. Sara S. says:

    One strategy to ameliorate pre-trip anxiety is simply to have more concrete – and hopefully encouraging – information about the target destination available. It is often the fear of the unknown that fuels anxiety. Raising the curtain as much as possible on the new destination can help dispel the worry.

    One of my first ex-pat assignments was to Santiago, Chile. I was five months pregnant with our first child and about to head off the continent to an entirely remote and completed unknown destination. One of the expat moms in Santiago phoned to reassure me. She had had a baby there – as had several other wives – and was completely encouraging. Great experience. Great doctor. They even had me set up for a first appointment.

    That conversation was hugely helpful. I went willingly and optimistically, confident that there was an excellent chance for a good outcome in the maternity department!

    Sharing some personal anecdotes relevant to the new destination and from people in similar circumstances can help dispell the pre-trip anxiety.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Unknowns are often daunting.

    Manage and review expectations.

    Think positive.

    “…Every cloud has a silver lining…”

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