Why Anxious Travelers Should Have a Home Away From Home

Note: This essay was first published in April 2019.

My husband and I travel fairly regularly, but since we’re both rather normal American adults with full-time jobs (read: not digital nomads), we spend the vast bulk of our time at our own home. It’s where we can truly relax and are the most comfortable. But what do you do when you need to get away from home, yet also want familiarity so you can relax? That’s why we have a home away from home.

A small river winding through a grassy area with trees and a steaming geyser cone in the background.
Firehole River, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

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I’m an anxious traveler, so going to new places actually makes me quite nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing new places and learning about them, but it’s far from relaxing for me. It’s an adventure, but not restful. I usually need to take the proverbial vacation from my vacation after I return home.

Having a home away from home is really the best of both worlds for the anxious traveler. You get the chance to try new things in small doses if you wish, but it’s also familiar enough that you feel completely comfortable getting around. It’s like an old friend you know really well. There’s no awkwardness or fear of doing the wrong thing.

When I’m at my home away from home I don’t have to worry about my anxiety.

Ugh.

Okay. If there’s anything worse than anxiety it’s worrying about anxiety.

For example, as I write this, I’m two weeks away from my first trip to Paris. I should be really excited right? Hmmm. I mean I am happy I finally get to see Paris, but at the moment I’m so consumed with trying to make sure everything goes well en route and then finding our way to our accommodations that I haven’t experienced truly excited yet. But I also know myself well enough to know that will come when I’m there, face to face with the Eiffel Tower then having a little chat with the Mona Lisa. (I’ll tell her you said “hi.”)

Side note: The Paris trip was wonderful. It’s still one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. You can read more about ways to plan your own Paris vacation with some of the posts I wrote after we returned.

TIP: A great way to combat travel anxiety is to plan well for your trips. Keep track of all of your important travel details with a digital travel planner like this.

So, back to the topic at hand…

Let’s face it. Spending too much time at home or doing your same routine day in and day out can get boring. I mean, that’s why we travel, right? To get away from the everyday, experience new places, see new things, eat new foods?

Your home away from home doesn’t have to be anywhere a great distance from your home. In fact, it’s ideal if you can easily do day trips there or at least quick weekend trips. It’s easier on the budget and it’s easier to make last-minute visits with minimal planning. No shopping for deals on airfare…just hop in your car and go.

Is there a place you have happy memories of as a child? A favorite family vacation spot you return to regularly? If so, such places are ideal.

The anxious traveler is far less likely to imagine a laundry list of possible scenarios for how a trip could go wrong when traveling to a familiar place. I speak from experience. The anxious traveler excels at looking for things to worry about. If you ever want to create something to worry about out of whole cloth ask an anxious traveler.

But I find that when getting ready to take off for my home away from home I don’t have those same worries…at all. They’re just not there. And if something goes wrong, which it does from time to time, I know how to deal with it because I already know the ins and outs of the place I’m going to.

No sweat.

Our home away from home

For my husband and I, home away from home is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore is where we first got to know each other and where we got engaged. We’ve spent three of our first six anniversaries at The Inn on Biltmore Estate. It’s a great place to spend a romantic weekend.

Biltmore is our retreat. We can go for an entire weekend or even just for lunch. More often than not we spend a full day there. It’s a break from the everyday. As annual passholders we don’t need a plan, all we have to do is hop in the car and go. And the more frequently we go the better of a deal our annual pass turns out to be.

Read more: How to Have a Perfect Day at Biltmore

When we go to Biltmore there’s no need to keep a schedule; it’s a perfect break from the usual with some good food at a great place where we love spending time together…anxiety free.

So, if you are an anxious traveler, having a home away from home you can escape to could be exactly what you need to scratch the travel itch but without the anxiety.

More help to find your home away from home