Panic: Using Communication Theory to Explain International Travel Anxiety

by Emily Einck
Communication Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

The number of travelers heading abroad has significantly dropped over the last two years from over 40,000,000 to just over 35,000,000 (ITA Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, 2010). This is an alarming difference that could be influenced by any number of factors. Aside from the current economic state, one potential cause may be that with the increasingly complex regulations, not to mention the uncertainty upon arrival in a foreign land, travelers feel a high sense of anxiety about traveling. By conducting research and applying the following communication theories: Berger’s Uncertainty Reduction Theory, Gudykunst’s Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory, and Burgoon’s Expectancy Violations Theory, this study will attempt to explain the influence of uncertainty as it relates to international travel.