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Overcome Your Travel Fears

There’s a big difference between the number of people who want to travel and the number of people who actually do. One reason is fear. But there’s no excuse for letting your fear hold you back from exploring the world. In this article, we outline some common travel fears and what you can do to overcome them.

But first, what is fear? Let’s define having fear as “being afraid of (someone or something) likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening”. We want to draw your attention to the word likely because travel fears are largely irrational and not based on any likelihood. Fear is a physiological response to a threatening situation and is meant to protect us from real and serious harm. But as we’ll show you, the actual element of harm is often missing from these travel fears.

FEAR OF FLYING

Maybe you like your feet on solid ground at all times, or the idea of being cooped up on a plane for hours with a bunch of strangers makes you clench your jaw. Maybe the slightest bit of turbulence has you imagining the plane taking a nosedive into the ocean. Movies do a great job of sparking these kinds of images, but the fact remains that flying is the safest form of transportation. Flying is safer than walking or climbing a ladder. According to one article: “A traveler who took one flight a day could, on average, go 31,000 years until succumbing to a fatal crash,” said Dr. Arnold Barnett, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor who compiles statistics for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

That’s an incredible statistic. While knowing these facts won’t necessarily make you feel better, you can remind yourself that your fear is irrational and not something worth giving your time and energy to. Maybe come up with a mantra, as the words will help remind you and the process of repeating them will help regulate your breathing and calm you. Perhaps “my fear is irrational” or “flying is safer than walking” will help you. Learn some breathing and meditation techniques that you can use during times of high anxiety, or try a highly-rated guided meditation. It is possible to take a course to help you overcome your fear of flying, like easyJet’s Fearless Flyer courses in the UK or Fearless Flyers in Australia. If you’re looking for a free, online resource, Fear of Flying School may be just what you need. A more comprehensive option is the SOAR program, fully guaranteed (or you’ll get a full refund) to get you over your fear of flying. They also have an app (for iPhone and Android) that you can use to work through the program. You can also see a doctor for medication for more serious cases, but if you are very seriously phobic then you may want to consider other forms of transportation. A fear of flying shouldn’t keep you at home if there’s somewhere you want to go!

FEAR OF RUNNING OUT OF MONEY

We have indirectly addressed this fear before in previous posts. If you read through How To Set A Travel Budget and have a clear spending plan in place, then this fear isn’t likely to become a reality. But if for some reason you do run out of money, this isn’t a difficult situation to remedy. In our post on Handling A Travel Emergency, we outlined ways to prevent and solve the problem of running out of money. To summarize, there are several ways for you, friends or family to quickly send you money on the road. There’s no logical reason why this should be a big cause for concern and prevent you from traveling, and it’s an issue that is easily remedied if it does happen.

FEAR OF GETTING LOST

Honestly, strictly following a map and over-planning a route can take a lot of the fun out of exploring a new place. Genuinely getting lost, however, is far from fun. To avoid that, using common sense can go a long way. Trust your gut. Don’t venture into areas outside the tourist zone without a plan or a local guide. There are a lot of great apps for your smartphone that can help you find your current location and provide directions to where you need to go. (Our post on the 5 Best Free Travel Apps has some great suggestions.) Some of the apps work offline, but if not, having a TravelSim card means you’re just a phone call or Google search away from help.

These three common travel fears don’t hold up to scrutiny, and the same is probably true of whatever has been stopping you from getting to where you want to go. So that trip you’ve been talking about for years? It’s time to start planning!