5 Travel Fears You Can Overcome Through Action
Everyone has certain fears that can be hard to work through, whether that be the dark, foreign travel or even clowns.
Whilst we can’t always reconcile our fear of the dark straight away, or what might be lurking under our bed, there are ways in which we can face some of these fears and try to overcome them. Travel is all about stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things, so here are a few common travel fears that you can only overcome by getting out there and doing it.
Travel Fear 1 - Flying
There is nothing unusual about a travel fear of flying.
Despite it being statistically the safest mode of transport, the idea of flying through the sky in a metal tube can be a difficult one to get your head around. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the only way to experience travel in some of the more far-flung parts of the world is to actually get on the plane. As a nervous flyer myself, I find the best thing to do is to picture myself arriving at my destination and how excited I will be to start exploring. As the saying goes; “you can’t go under it, you can’t go over it, you have to go through it.”
It would be a shame to let what is ultimately an irrational travel fear stand in the way of a potentially life changing experience. Look at developing your coping mechanisms, whether immersing yourself in a good book, or your favourite music. If you have to distract yourself, or need something to comfort you, make sure you do. If you do, the flight will be over before you know it.
Travel Fear 2 - Unusual Food
If you consider yourself a fussy eater, your taste buds may be challenged whilst travelling.
Be it due to your budget or the country your travelling through, you may find it difficult to get your hands on the comfort foods of home. Yes, you are likely to come across a McDonalds almost anywhere in the world, but if it’s a choice between spending £10 on fast food or 50 pence on a plate of Pad Thai from a street food vendor, you may find the latter makes more sense financially. It’s not just the cost however, as one of the great joys of travel is experiencing the different tastes of each destination and I would urge you to take advantage of your location and become acquainted with the local delicacies, even if that delicacy happens to be Fish Eyes. The worst that can happen is you don’t like it and won’t try it again. But what about the opposite? You could find food which you surprisingly love, of which you may never have tried otherwise.
With that said, if you are travelling for an extended amount of time, don’t feel guilty about having the odd western meal, it’s natural to miss certain foods and need home comforts at times.
Travel Fear 3 - Heights
A common travel fear and one that you will have many opportunities to face whilst travelling.
I’m not suggesting doing a skydive, although meeting your fears head-on is a perfect way to do it! But try not to avoid the hike up that mountain just because you get a bit wobbly about heights, I guarantee the view is worth the jelly legs. Equally, in any major city there is usually a viewing tower, so conquering the many steps, or an elevator if you’re lucky, will provide you with an experience to remember, as in my experience, often the best way to view any city is from above.
It’s important to remember that many people have made this exact journey up a viewing tower and it’s completely safe. Use the facts available to you to make an informed decision.
Travel Fear 4 - Social Situations
Many of us feel a bit awkward in social situations and sometimes travelling can make you feel as though you are attending a party where you don’t know anybody.
However, travel is an inherently social experience, people want to share their experiences with others and often if someone is feeling out of their comfort zone, knowing there is someone else in the same boat can be a comfort.
People will want to engage with you, it is not considered unusual to strike up a conversation with a group of strangers and exchange stories of your trip so far. Of course, you are under no obligation to engage with others if you would rather spend time alone, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone to share an experience with, or even just a beer at the end of a long day of exploring. Being sensible and safe, however, is the most important rule of the day.
Travel Fear 5 - Dining Alone
It may sound silly, but a worry I often hear from people with regards to solo travel is the prospect of dining alone.
It’s not something many of us are used to, and we may even feel sorry for someone we spot eating solo. However, there its truly nothing wrong with eating alone at a restaurant and if you’re on a solo trip, it may be unavoidable. Once you get over that initial awkward feeling you will discover that eating alone can be enjoyable, if you’re not totally comfortable with your own company then take a book with you or plan the next leg of your trip. There are plenty of ways to use your time productively whilst enjoying a good meal.
Take away your fear of what people think and enjoy the moment you’re currently in.
All of the above are understandable and justified travel fears. This article is certainly not telling you to ignore or discard them. Fears are there to tell us to keep aware and to have our wits about us. But whilst they get our spidey senses going to keep us safe, it’s vital we don’t let them paralyse us. No movement means we’ll stay in our comfort zone and no growth happens there.