6 Ways to Handle Anxiety and Vacation Preparation

June 13, 2024 Kirsi Cannaday

Preparing for a vacation can be particularly anxiety-inducing for me. There is so much to get done, many things to worry about, and, in my case, two little kids and a giant dog to care for on top of everything else. It is hard to stay motivated and get everything done without feeling brain fog and nausea. Below are six ways I handle my anxiety and vacation preparation in the summer months. 

Ways I Reduce Anxiety When Preparing for Vacation

Here are six ways I handle anxiety when preparing for a vacation.

  1. I make a packing list -- Using one piece of paper, I make a separate list for each person going on the trip. This gives me a nice visual to keep from forgetting anything and also ensures that I don't overpack out of anxiety. I write down the specific number of shirts, pants, and socks needed, listing everything down to the toothpaste and deodorant. If I don't write it down, I'll probably forget something in an anxious panic, and on the flip side, if I don't limit myself to a certain number of shirts and pants, I will definitely overpack. 
  2. I make a clean place to pack -- As part of my vacation preparation that lessens anxiety, I like to make my bed and then lay out all the items I'm packing on it. This gives me a clean space to stay organized. Then, as I pack things into my bag, I cross them off the list. I feel accomplished as I see each item checked off, and the stress of packing starts to lessen. Using my bed as a packing place also means I don't have to stress about making a clean space on the floor and can save that task for later. 
  3. I make a cleaning list -- This is where I get the floors cleaned. I ask myself, "What else needs to be done so the house isn't stinky when we get back?" This list could be basic, like "clean kitchen, clean bathroom, etc." It could also be more in-depth, with a specific cleaning list under each room, such as "Kitchen -- wash dishes, wipe down counters, sweep and mop." Getting it all out on paper and being able to cross off my accomplishments helps me keep a clear head and stay motivated. 
  4. I make a final sweep checklist -- I have constant anxiety about my house catching fire or getting broken into while we are away. Are you worried about leaving the stove or a melted wax warmer on? Are you concerned about forgetting to lock the doors? I worry about those things, so I list all the things I'd like to do a final check on. Few things are worse for me at the start of a vacation than the panicked feeling miles away from home of "Did I remember to do that?" so making my final sweep list helps me not have that panic
  5. I make an itinerary for the trip -- If your mind races to worse-case scenarios of someone getting hurt or something awful happening while you're gone like mine does, making an itinerary can relieve a lot of that vacation-preparation anxiety. This can be as loose or as detailed as your anxiety needs it to be. If it makes you feel better, give your itinerary to someone you trust so they know when and where you will be and how to be able to help if the need arises. I always feel better letting a family member know where we're going and when we plan to be back from our vacation. Then, they can check in to make sure we made it home safely, and they'll know if something goes wrong. 
  6. I do a pre-trip safety check on my car -- I think a pre-trip safety check is always a good idea. You can make sure your tires are safe, your engine is running smoothly, and all fluids are filled up and ready to go. You'll have greater peace of mind in your travels if you know you'll be driving in a safe vehicle. We just got two of our tires replaced, so we're ready for our upcoming summer vacations. I had no idea what weight would be lifted off me once that was taken care of. 

As we enter the summer season, I hope you find your own ways to handle anxiety and vacation preparation. These six ways help me use my anxiety to my advantage before a trip to be better prepared so that it's not as overwhelming later on, and I can enjoy our vacation with peace of mind. 

APA Reference
Cannaday, K. (2024, June 13). 6 Ways to Handle Anxiety and Vacation Preparation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Kirsi Cannaday

Kirsi Cannaday is an Idaho-born Georgia girl and mom of two, finding herself after getting lost in anxiety for a while. Find Kirsi on Facebook and Instagram.

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