For many, the thought of travelling introduces feelings of excitement and opportunity. In these instances, jumping on a plane and exploring the world comes easily. For many others, the thought of travelling can trigger feelings of fear and anxiety. The great news is that there are ways to overcome fears of travelling.
The fear of travelling, known scientifically as hodophobia, is a reality for many people who feel an irrational fear of the transportation part of travelling. For others, the thought of being in a new place and pushing your comfort zone can trigger underlying anxiety.
If you’re one of those that have the heart to travel but feel crippled by fear and anxiety, don’t worry. You’re not alone and there are ways to overcome these fears. The trick is understanding the role that fears play and practising the various ways to overcome fear of travelling.
The role that fear plays
Whether you’re a first-time traveller or not, there is a lot of emotion that is involved in booking a trip overseas. This is especially true if you’re about to embark on a life-changing internship abroad.
Fear has a way of inhibiting individuals from fully living and reaching their full potential. The psychological impact of fear and anxiety is a fascinating one. It slows down and shuts off functions that are not needed for survival, and heightens those that are. As a result, perspective can be lost it becomes increasingly easier to think of reasons not to do something, rather than acknowledge the value of pulling the trigger.
It’s important to understand that there will always be excuses. From the lack of funds, the fear of loneliness and a busy calendar among many other things, excuses run freely. Rather than giving in to these excuses, why not think about ways to overcome these fears?
Tips to overcome fear of travelling (and anxiety)
Understanding that everyone is different and are fighting a different battle, here are some tips to overcome fears of travelling and the anxiety that the experience can introduce.
Start with what you can manage
One of the best ways to break your fear is to start with what you think you can handle. This will differ from person to person. Perhaps choose to start off travelling to a nearby destination that has a fairly similar culture. For others, it might be best to throw yourself in the deep end and book a trip somewhere exotic and far away.
At if i could… we offer immersive experiences in Cape Town, New Delhi and Hanoi, providing aspiring changemakers with the opportunity to indulge in another culture with the support and care of a dedicated team.
Manage your expectations
Fear can often be kept at bay through preparation. Do research on your destination of choice and learn what to expect upon arrival. The internet provides a wealth of visual and written information on destinations around the world. Managing your expectations will help you to visualise your experience beforehand and help calm any anxiety that may creep in.
Once you know what to expect from a destination, you can begin getting excited about your trip. Make a conscientious effort to turn your anxiety into excitement. There are small things that you can do that will make a big difference. Create a bucket list of things to do that you can look forward to, start reading about other people’s experiences and chat with people about your upcoming plans.
Another huge step in preparing to travel is understanding your mental health. If you experience feelings of fear and anxiety at the thought of travelling, it’s within your best interests to understand why. Mental health has a very big impact on how one approaches travelling and the first step to overcoming fears is to not let your mental health affect your travel dreams. Acknowledging your mental health is a step of strength and not weakness.
Rely on support
If you can’t shake the remnants of fear, but desperately want to travel, then find a way to travel where you feel supported. Perhaps you travel with a friend, keep a journal or adopt a regular check-in routine with a loved one back home.
At if i could… we pride ourselves on a strong support team that prioritises your wellbeing while abroad, offering you the support that you need.
Avoid your triggers
Finally, realise that deciding to travel despite your fears and feelings of anxiety is choosing to embrace a wonderful opportunity. While abroad, set yourself up so that you protect your heart and mind. One of the most effective ways to do so is to avoid anything that may trigger anxiety. For example, alcohol is known to make underlying anxiety rise to the surface. If you know that you are prone to these feelings, make the effort to avoid anything that may trigger them.
Grab life by the horns
Everyone’s travel experiences are unique and incomparable. Don’t let the fear of travelling or the anxiety that the thought introduces, stop you from living your life to the fullest. Instead, practice ways to overcome fear of travelling and live life to the fullest.
At if i could… we offer internships abroad for those that have a heart for travel. We understand the feelings that may arise at the thought of being a changemaker, and we are here to support you with your journey.