A cat next to a suitcase in Shanghai.

I’ve Got the Travel Jitters

July 14, 2011

in packing, trip planning, vacation

I stumbled out of bed still half asleep this morning, already thinking about what I had to get done before I leave for a weekend getaway later today. I’d started packing the night before, set up a simple workday so I wouldn’t feel rushed. Yet, I’d struggled to get to sleep (OK, maybe it was that second coffee at 5 p.m. yesterday) and woke up very antsy.

In my morning haze, I told Brendan I hadn’t slept well, and he uttered a sad fact I’ve tried to keep buried for a while now. It’s a thing I wish wasn’t part of me, a feeling I wish I could squash.

“You always get nervous before a trip.”

It is true, my friends. Even though I’ve called myself a traveler since a young age, I manage to get myself all riled up before a trip, no matter how big or small, short or long, near or far it is. I get the travel jitters.

Brooke recently talked about how she gets the travel goosebumps, which sound quite preferable to travel jitters. While I haven’t completely been able to put my finger on it, I think the very things I love about travel also unnerve me right before I do it.

A cat next to a suitcase in Shanghai.

Should I pack the cat?

Being out of my element: I love a new place, new surroundings, new ways of doing things. But I also like plans and knowing what I’m in for. I also like to overanalyze, scrutinize and criticize. Will I have everything I need? Will I be able to sleep? Will the room smell funny? Will the place live up to its expectation?

Crappy time management: The day of or before a trip, I’m distracted and don’t get things done like I normally do. Even if I’ve tried to make it so I don’t have that much work or packing to do — as I have today–, I still inevitably get sidetracked and feel like I’m off schedule.

Packing: After 40 states, 10 countries and four continents, you’d think I’d have this part down. Nope. I also over think what situations might come up and what attire they will require. So a day that could be spent hiking and then going out to dinner equals five needed outfits in my warped brain. Then in the end, I don’t wind up packing all those clothes anyway. But it’s like I have to go through the obsessive process of planning out outfits I won’t bring.

Housekeeping: I am not a compulsively orderly person, but before I trip, I want the house neat. Maybe I fear the apartment will turn into roach motel if it’s not clean when we leave. I also have an unnatural fear that if I don’t shut off all the outlet switches, an electrical fire will start and the apartment will be a pile of ash when I return.

Do you get the travel jitters before a trip? How do you cope with them?

10 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Christine

    Haha I’m the same way about packing! I can pack for five weeks or six months away, no problem–but I always overpack for weekend trips! I’m heading up to Sydney this weekend with about eight possible outfits–and only two days in which to wear them. Have a fun trip!

    1. Lauren Post author

      The eight outfits might serve you well if you layer them — it’s freezing up here! Enjoy the trip. I’ll have to catch you next time you’re here.

  2. Erik

    I used to get travel jitters so bad that I used to make myself physically sick right before the trip, on the plane or at my first few stops on the trip. (or all three) I still get jitters, but I’ve stopped throwing up, at least. I think it’s probably come from maturity (people would laugh if they knew I was using that term in association with myself).

    I’ve been able to overcome difficulties on the road and that has helped my confidence, too. I’m disappointed when a place doesn’t live up to my expectations, but a lot of the time I place unreasonable expectations on the place and that is my own fault.

    1. Lauren Post author

      Geez, that’s intense! Glad you no longer get sick. I guess it does get a little easier with each trip you take.

  3. Heather

    I have a tricky time with packing too — 3 week or longer, I’m golden, but a week or less and I’m adding up too many possibilities. I’ve already been brainstorming what I’ll take to London since there will be various occasions to dress for and my girl friends always looks so cute.

    I make lists, make copies of documents, email a copy to my parents, and have a difficult night sleeping the night before. And I get the jitters too…I suppose that’ll never go away!

    Enjoy your trip lovely!

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks, we had a great time! As usual, no reason for the jitters beforehand 🙂 I want to hear about your pending trip!

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