Road Trip Series #2: Does fear hold you back?

Did you know some people are afraid of travel? Is that a thing really? I was talking to a coworker and she said that she wished she could travel but had a fear of flying. I offhandedly suggested she visit some destinations via other methods and she said that that scared her too. She has fear of being stranded and fear of medical issues while gone. 

Whoa… who knew? I suppose I can imagine but just never really thought about it. I have a healthy fear of some of those things, I think. Planes still make me a little uneasy during takeoff and landing but I manage to push through. I think a lot of people are that way. We often include travel insurance in our plans that are longer in length or cost. That way medical issues are covered. 

It’s a real thing!

These are typical levels of prevention or anxiety type behaviors, I think. But some folks are afflicted with an actual phobia. Hodophobia, it’s called. Who knew? I feel for you if this is you. I don’t want to make light of an actual phobia so this post is NOT for you. This is for those that just have a little anxiety about traveling. It’s for a much higher percentage of our population. 

Fear holds a lot of us back, right? What to do? 

How to ease your anxiety

  1. Make a plan- Know the where, why, and how of your travel plans. Having a detailed list of your travel plans will make you feel more organized. Organizing your tickets and confirmation numbers onto a calendar type system is the easiest way for me to have everything together. You can write by hand or by keyboard. We make a pretty detailed itinerary usually, thanks to Chris. But take a photo of it with your phone. And keep multiple copies! 

  2. Get familiar with your destination– This includes arrival and departure info too! If airport chaos makes you crazy, take a peek at the airport layout prior to landing (or even taking off!). If you are nervous about getting around a big city, print yourself a simple map. Then you can circle or highlight your places of interest. I know you can do this on your map app but, if you have some trepidation about it, a hard copy can help. It increases the feeling of control. 

  3. Practice relaxation techniques– If the plane trip has got you up in the air (see what I did there?), be ready with some techniques that are calming to you. Repeat an affirmation, practice breathing, meditate. Whatever you do to deal with the crazy coworker on a day to day basis, put in place for the stressful times on your trip! 

  4. Keep your eyes on the prize– Remind yourself that, if you don’t take the trip that you’ve always dreamed of, you will have to live with that regret. Or if you don’t go see that older relative that still sends you a birthday card every year, you may never get the chance to hug that person in person.

  5. Exercise! Exercise before heading out, if you can. And intermittently throughout. Or if it’s a plane trip, do it before you board. If it’s a road trip, take a walk first and throughout. The endorphins that you get from exercise will help maintain the relaxation hormones too. 

  6. If flying really gets to you– Download the SOAR app. This helps you understand what’s going on in the plane as well as things like G-force and how it protects you when turbulence happens. It’s pretty neat! 

Experts suggest you DON’T drink alcohol on planes if you get anxiety. It’s a mind-altering substance and could make you more paranoid, I guess. Also, try not to spend too much time rehearsing what you would do if….. That just tends to ramp up nerves. Instead, think of what can go right instead of what can go wrong. It will likely be just fine! Now…. let’s plan something! 

- Leslie Davis Dunbar

Jason Valade