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You are not alone: Overcoming pandemic-related travel anxiety

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 09:33:50-04

New numbers show more than half of all Americans plan to enjoy a vacation between now and the end of the year.

For some people, post-pandemic travel anxiety is real.

ABC15's Kaley O'Kelley talked with a licensed therapist, Laura Rhodes-Levin, known for treating travel anxiety.

Rhodes-Levin says it is normal to feel anxious about crowds at the airport. But knowing if you need professional help depends on some of the things your body is trying to tell you.

"You stop socializing or you socialize with less people. Your world becomes smaller. There's also physical symptoms. So not sleeping, oversleeping, hand sweating, heart racing."

ABC15 also talked to a Valley woman named Lee Smith. She's a vaccinated mom from Ahwatukee who is planning to fly to Las Vegas in a few weeks.

She is really looking forward to her trip but worries about getting sick from COVID-19 on the plane.

"I'm nervous to sit on a plane and have strangers sit next to me. I have a child who can't get vaccinated yet and I worry most about my need to protect my family."

To work through those fears, Rhodes-Levin says be kind to yourself and remember your concerns are valid.

She also says there are ways to cope as long as you mentally prepare.

"Focus on your breathing which can help you feel centered. Try naming your fear. Sometimes saying the worst fear out loud can bring you back into reality."