Curing a Case of Major Non-Travel Anxiety

I found myself in an unusual situation this past weekend. For the first time in… well… for as long as I can remember, I had enormous anxiety in both not traveling or having anything “on the books.â€

It began on Friday when I jealously monitored my Twitter feed noting how many of those I follow were arriving in Chicago for the Chicago Seminars. That event is a “must attend†for any frequent flier junkie, and while I’ve been in the past, I had made the previous regrettable decision to skip it this year.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, United held its annual Family Day event, another experience I had enjoyed a couple of times in previous years, but I also made the decision to skip this year.

And perhaps what got to me most was missing the rare public opening of the iconic TWA Terminal at New York’s JFK Airport this past Sunday. I’ve never been to it and would have loved to flown out for the day/weekend.

All three events were announced in advance, and I could have easily booked a trip to any of them, but I didn’t. And I suffered from it as a result this past weekend.

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you know that I’m beginning to value my time at home a bit more these days. For various reasons, I’m starting to slow my ridiculous amount of Frequently Flying to a modest rate. I’m no longer gunning for top-tier status on United and I’m letting go of my “need†to hold elite status with any particular hotel chain.

But I’ll admit that I’m having a very difficult time transitioning to my new lifestyle. And so, after a perfectly wonderful Sunday spent with my parents at their place, I returned home and began searching for new trips.

My desire is to begin burning the hundreds of thousands of United miles that I’m holding for new flight and travel experiences. I have yet to ride on a Lufthansa 747-8, or in Asiana’s new first class, or a single trip on ANA. Those are a few of my goals, but I began my search by looking to yet again visit my favorite country – Australia.

Australia feels like home to me (and it was for a short time in my life), so with a couple of United Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) yet to use this year, I began what I thought would be a fruitless search for R-class space. And to my amazement, I found a reasonable itinerary with upgradable seats available at booking. Even more amazing was that the W-fare necessary on which to use GPUs was only $150ish more than the cheapest coach fare for the same flights (and much less than my last United airfare to Oz).

After a quick Skype call to my friend in Sydney, I booked the flights and I happily have another trip to look forward to. Phew… my phobic anti-travel situation has been solved.

It’s weird, really, being in a position where lack of travel causes me anxiety, but it does. The only (#firstworldproblem) thing I’m upset about now is that I couldn’t get an upper deck window seat on my return.

a diagram of a ship with seats and seating

Open seats from Sydney

Flying and travel will always be a requirement in my life. For whatever reason, it’s embedded in my DNA and I’ll seemingly never be fulfilled unless I have an adventure or other travel plans in my (near) future.

Do you have the “bug?â€

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.


Australia Trip Report: United, Virgin Australia, Hilton, Radisson Blu and More

Chicago Seminars and Milepoint Premium Membership

United Airlines Family and Friends Day at SFO: Swag Alert!


  1. Yes! I have the bug. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. The acquisition of miles wasn’t a factor in the beginning but, it soon became a top priority! I feel sick thinking about so many long haul flights I took and didn’t earn anything – doh! It’s important for me to have a goal in almost all I do and flying is no exception. A prolonged period of ill health this year resulted in a serious loss of flying, this has only spurred me to start filling my diary with conventions, meetings and such for next year! Enjoy Oz!

  2. Definitely have the bug. I’ve done the same when feeling the anxiety of no trips booked, although not to Australia. Sounds like you did very well with that ticket. Have a great time.

    I’m also with you on the Asiana First Class, that is high on my list as is flying ANA long haul. The Lufthansa 747-8 is awesome. One thing I’ve booked recently is some new products. I’m about 10 days away from a trip with Brussels and Austrian new Business class.

  3. @David: I hope you’re feeling/doing better health wise! And ack… you DIDN’T earn miles on some trips??!! 😉
    @Brad: Your Brussels and Austrian flights sound great… I look forward to the trip reports!

  4. Due to time, money and work, I don’t have the luxury of travel much other than the 3 weeks I get a year for vacation time off from work. And after our Munich/Barcelona trip in 2 weeks, we have nothing on the books until maybe next May! I get anxious too, but I’ve reserved myself to NOT going for any status next year due to the UA changes. I think part of my anxiousness was because I always felt I had to achieve at least Silver status. We’ll see how I feel in 2014 – lol.

  5. October of 2013 will be the only month this year during which I will not be flying. Early in the year all travel was about re-qualifying my status as quickly as possible (on WN) and the remainder of the year was travel mainly for enjoyment. I’m close enough that I should “upgrade” to the next status level before the end of the year, but due to family and travel commitments my boss made me promise not to travel in October. It feels strange that I will not go through security or board a plane in October and yes, I’m anxious for November to get here for my planned trips to PHX (great time of year to visit PHX, incidentally.) I’m ready to fly! (LOL)

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