Embarking on a long haul trip can be daunting for anyone, but it’s particularly challenging for anxiety sufferers. Having holidayed in Vietnam for her honeymoon, Megan shares her experiences and top tips for travelling with anxiety.
A little over two years ago I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. Whilst it’s under control today, big events – such as a honeymoon to Southeast Asia – still have an effect. But with the help of InsideVietnam, and my agent Charlotte, I was able to travel with ease and minimal stress!
Travelling with anxiety: Worry number 1 – How to start planning
When my hubby-to-be and I finally decided we would honeymoon in Vietnam, I realised what I’d actually signed up for. It wasn’t just a simple flight there and back with relaxation time in between, it was approximately 34 hours in the air, six aeroplanes, multiple transfers, four different hotels / cabins to sleep in, numerous check-ins and opportunities to lose our bags, three different cities, a night on a boat and spending time with people who I’d never met before.
Or at least that’s how my anxiety saw it. It was a list of problems, not a list of exciting things to do. I like to be in control, I like to know who I’m going to meet and deal with and, most of all, I like to know where I’m going to be and when. I didn’t know where to start.
That was until I had a chat to a work colleague who told me all about InsideAsia and the trip that he had planned to Myanmar. It sounded like a good place to start; experts who knew the place that I was going to and could recommend places to stay and things to do. So, I picked up the phone and gave them a call.
Worry number 2 – Can we even afford this?
Budget was another worry of mine. I was convinced that there was no way we could have our dream holiday on the budget we had. How wrong was I?
When I called Charlotte one of the first questions she asked was, “So what budget are you working with?” so that she could help us build a trip around this. She thought of everything: how long we wanted to be out there, where we wanted to visit, what time of year we wanted to go, and what excursions we had in mind.
When our first quote came through, I couldn’t believe our luck; it was everything we wanted and only slightly over budget. This included the most beautiful hotels, great flights and even places that Charlotte thought we might like to visit. I was beginning to feel calmer, but it wasn’t quite the finished article.
All in all, it took three months and four different itineraries to put our deposit down and agree to a finalised plan. Charlotte was fantastic, and nothing was too much trouble. Every time I apologised she told me not to worry, that this was a holiday of a lifetime and we needed to make sure it was perfect – and my word, it really was!
Worry number 3 – How many jabs?
I heard numerous stories about all these hideous jabs we would need before travelling and the side-effects they cause.
Again, Charlotte was my go-to girl for everything medical. She was able to provide us with literature on what was suggested, but told us to get in touch with our doctor’s surgery, as they would be able to give their medical advice. It turned out that I could do this online.
I filled out an online form, had a chat with the reception team and booked us both in on the same day so that I had someone to hold my hand. I hate injections and worked myself up so much, but it turned out all we needed were three quick needles:
• Tetanus, diphtheria and polio
• Hepatitis B
We didn’t even need to worry about malaria tablets!
Worry number 4 – Getting around and going on trips
One of my biggest worries about travelling with anxiety was getting around and finding out where to go, but Charlotte had that covered. I felt like a celebrity.
We were picked up and dropped off from every airport, accompanied on every trip and on time for everything. It was like clockwork. All of our guides were fabulous and left plenty of time to account for anything that could make us late. They brought us cold bottled water and even an ice-cold beer to enjoy. Being on time had never been easier!
Worry number 5 – Why am I not worried?
I really have never been more relaxed than I was jetting across the country, driving through back streets and checking in for the next flight. Without InsideAsia and Charlotte I would have been a trembling mess and I couldn’t have planned such a memorable trip.
My worry-not list:
- Book everything through Inside Asia – It’s slick and worry-free
- Lists are your friends – Think about questions to ask, things to book and plan what you need to buy and pack
- Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s what the experts are there for
- Don’t stress about the language – Many Vietnamese people do speak English, but try and greet or thank people in Vietnamese. They really appreciate the effort
- Embrace the food – Eat everything that you can, it’s delicious
- Smile when you barter – Keep the banter friendly, keeping face is important and those few thousand Dong mean more to them than to you
- You will have enough money – We ate like royalty, tipped our guides and had clothes made but still had money left
- Stay awake as late as you can on that first day – We packed our first day with coffee and activities to make sure we adjusted to the time zone – it paid off
- Prepare for the heat – Drink plenty, forget about looking fresh and leave the make up at home
- Be prepared to miss it like crazy – Take lots of pictures and find local restaurants when you get home to relive the magic of your holiday!
We’re very touched by Megan’s feedback, and delighted that she had such a wonderful honeymoon, read more about it here. If you’re travelling with anxiety and need some advice for a worry-free vacation, we’d be delighted to help you plan.