7 Ways to Manage a Fear of Travel
We’ve come to a sad time in human history where our fears are played upon on an almost daily basis. Even during a quick scroll through our personal Facebook feeds, we’re confronted with war and violence, political unrest and an unyielding feeling of uncertainty.
As a result, travel has taken a hit. People, understandably, feel nervous about travel and breaching new horizons. Hell, some of us feel nervous just being in an airport. But despite this bleak outlook, we cannot let the poisonous people of the world extinguish our wanderlust. We cannot stop travelling.
These tips will help to manage a fear of travel, and soothe hesitations about wandering into the unknown.
1. Research wisely
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when researching the safety of a destination is to take information from the wrong place. The media, more than ever before, is a sensationalist, inflammatory machine that is often interested not in telling the cold hard facts, but in selling their product. We will not find a true account of the genuine risks of a place via these sources.
Instead, use official websites such as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. These offer factual travel advice based on experiences of travellers in the last few years. For a more personal account, look up a travel blogger who has recently visited or lived in that destination and email them for advice. Most, or all, will be happy to help and be able to give you an authentic picture.
2. Push yourself
Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. If we overthink and panic about travel, we can amplify the situation in our own heads and hold ourselves back from taking the jump. We must do our best to understand our fears and break through them, a process that can take a lot of work and intense self-assessment.
We must push ourselves to go boldly – but it’s okay to push yourself without your own boundaries. No one’s asking you to hop on a plane to the scariest place in the world. First, test yourself with places that nudge you out of your comfort zone, and build yourself up to other cities and countries from there. You’ll surprise yourself with how brave you can be if you give yourself the chance to be daring.
3. Be cautious (but not over-cautious)
Caution is fine. We’re by no means recommending travel without caution. It’s an essential tool that can get you out of a lot of trouble abroad. However, there’s a limit. Caution is wise, but it can also be crippling.
Exercise a relative amount of care when travelling. It’s a given that we should lock up our valuables or not walk alone down a dodgy street at night (practices not too dissimilar to what we should do at home anyway), but we shouldn’t refuse to step outside past sunset, for example. Shutting ourselves away like this only fuels the concerns and anxieties inside our heads.
4. Think realistically
If you feel yourself getting anxious about travel, try to talk yourself off a ledge with realistic thoughts. Remind yourself how many people fly every single day without a single hitch. Know that the chance of getting caught up in a serious incident is microscopic.
Furthermore, we must have the wisdom to know that things can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time. Life comes with a myriad of risks, a number of which we all take every day. Things rarely go wrong at home, and while you might be a smidgen more vulnerable while abroad – depending on where you’re travelling to, of course – things will rarely go wrong when you travel, too. Just because something is foreign doesn’t automatically mean it’s dangerous.
5. Remind yourself of the world’s beauty
For every dark, sinister corner of the world, remember that there are countless more pockets of beauty. While it may seem that hate is more commonplace that peace (because it is more frequently given the limelight), that is not the case.
Along the same vein, we must also remember to believe in the good in people. Misconception and misunderstanding are at the heart of fearful travel. We must give others the benefit of the doubt and encourage the idea that people are generally kind, thoughtful, and willing to help a stranger in need – because it’s true.
6. Travel with someone you know well
Hitting the road with another person takes a lot of the fear out of travelling, and it’s even better if that someone is more secure with the thought of travel than you. The best travel companion is someone who can bring you back down to earth in the moments where you get worried and aren’t thinking straight.
Finding a travel partner is difficult, but in terms of helping you manage your fear of travel, it should be someone your trust. You need to have no problem in being honest with them and letting them know when you’re scared or concerned.
Learning to stay calm is essential to overcoming a fear of travel. Before you leave, do your best to understand your triggers and what could make you panic while away. Remind yourself to always take a few deep, slow breaths whenever you start to feel on-edge – a fool-proof calming technique in life on or off the road.
Do you have a fear of travel? How do you manage it?