Is traveling, which has its own complications, asking for more psychological trouble?
Not necessarily if you’re willing to prepare for what Michele Nealon calls “travel hiccups.”
“Traveling is simultaneously a stressful situation and a very happy situation,” said Nealon, a clinical psychologist and president of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. You can’t anticipate everything that could go wrong on a trip, but you can plan how you will react, she said. If a flight is canceled, for example, consider beforehand how you can make the best of it. Stay calm. Take a walk or do something physical to discharge your stress, which is pent-up adrenaline, she said.
And if you’re with a group with a PITA (a Pain in the Anatomy.)? “You have to anticipate at some point with some person there’s going to be an issue,” she said. “What can help is focusing on respecting people.” That means avoiding pejorative labels related to age, gender, race, religion or political point of view.
Finally, if that person is getting under your skin, explain your issue to the group leader, Nealon said. But if the PITA continues to bother you, even after a talk with the leader, you are within your rights to say, “Please don’t speak to me that way” or “I’d rather you not sit beside me.” If the person is drunk or otherwise chemically impaired, “be prepared to get up and move away,” she said.
It’s your job to have a good time on vacation, she said. It’s the group leader’s to try to keep a balance.”