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It’s October. The month of all things spooky. The nights are darker, the weather has a sharp chill, and uneasiness is in the air. Not only do we have to deal with goblins and ghouls, but we still must forge our way into the unknown winter months that lie ahead.

Contemplating the concept of fear, naturally I cannot help but think of the circumstances we have been living in this year. Right now, this is like an onion with so many layers to peel back. Presently, there is global fear of contracting a virus. And, fear of getting stuck somewhere far from home. Many even fear of not being able to travel again. It has been scary in many ways…

With my mind wandering further, I’ve found myself going down a path of fear and travel. There have been many situations we have encountered during our travels that stir jittery feelings within me.

I know I’m not alone in my feelings. As travelers, there are so many fears we encounter and must deal with.

Top Travel Fears

  • Flying
  • Getting lost
  • Mugging/theft/scams
  • Certain activities (i.e. skydiving)
  • Solo travel
  • Facing the unknown
  • Terrorist/personal attack
  • Not being able to communicate
  • Missing out
  • Putting full trust in strangers
  • Getting sick/injured abroad

There are plenty of situations in travel that cause worry or fear. But, there are also plenty of ways to tackle fears head on!

Tips and Tricks

We would never recommend traveling in a haphazard manner. While we’re all about being brave and trying new things, we are also major proponents of personal safety! It is also important to note that travel experiences are different for men than women. Being prepared to encounter a variety of circumstances is one of the best tips we can offer.

Travel can be a powerful tool in breaking free of fear by facing things head on! A quick Google search results in several more tips and tools to help you prepare for safe trips that are filled with enriching experiences when the time is right. We put many of these tips in place during our own personal travels.

My Biggest Travel Fear

One of my biggest fears when it comes to traveling has to do with road trips. More specifically, driving in heavy traffic in major cities.

This dreadful fear made its way into my life a few years ago. On our first trip together, we were in back-to-back car wrecks. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But, this experience forever changed my ability to get behind the wheel and drive somewhere.

Nowadays I am, at best, a terrible, anxious passenger. It has really put a damper on our ability to easily embark on road trips. Of course, this makes going places in our current travel environment challenging. But, we haven’t let it stop us.

Like many others, travel has also forced me to face many fears – exposure therapy at its finest. When we are in the car, I have to focus on the things I can control, even if it’s as simple as focusing on my own breath.

But an experience like this isn’t the only time travel forced us to face our fears.

Other Sketchy Stuff

Thinking back, I recall plenty of other scenarios in which I was truly scared. One of the worst nights we’ve ever spent in a hotel was in Los Angeles. In that moment, I really felt it was possible we might be seriously injured or worse. I can easily say I never, never, never want another experience like that again. As a result, we now have certain standards we always follow when picking a hotel.

Slightly less severe (yet still scary) was arriving late at night in Prague. I had read some alarming discussion threads related to the park in front of the main train station. The commentary of others had led me to believe our safety would be in jeopardy.

We put a few standard precautions in place and made our way through the park unscathed. Once we made our way to the other side, I couldn’t help but feel just a bit silly over the fact that a few minutes prior I was afraid to walk out of a train station. By facing my fear, we were able to have the most enjoyable time in Prague!

In each of these instances, and many others, we definitely learned a lesson or two that had an impact on future travels. By continually facing our fears, we are growing as people and travelers.

I can also remember the feeling of fear as I prepared to jump off a 25-foot waterfall in the Dominican Republic. Yikes!

Breaking Free From Fear

Various travel experiences serve as a reminder that one of the fears we have to face as travelers is our own perception, as well as the perception of others. What is normal for one person may not be normal for another.

It’s ok to be afraid. But, its also ok to try something new. Trudging into the unknown can be very good for you. Through travel, we have both tried things we never really imagined we would do.

Each time we face something we are afraid of, we come out a little stronger on the other side. It can be hard to jump head first into something that is scary, but challenging yourself builds grit.

Travel offers the opportunity to break free from the routine and try new things. Getting out of your comfort zone is good for you. You can build confidence and learn new skills.

Having an underlying sense of fear shouldn’t stop you from chasing your dreams. I’m not sure what’s scarier actually – facing a travel fear or never ever experiencing something you’ve always wanted to do.

The more you get out there, you will realize you are braver than you know!

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23 Comments

  1. There have always been a lot of reasons to be apprehensive when travelling. But we now have added a whole lot of additional fears. For me, the more I prepare, the better I feel I am managing the risk and fear. And I try to have a Plan B if I approach something that causes some fear. A little fear helps motivate me. And I hope it would not stop me from doing something I really want to do.

    1. So true! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who does this. We prepare, then we prepare for plan B, then we prepare again!

  2. My greatest fear is being in an air crash! But I have learnt to put that fear aside and get on that airplane each time – it’s true and completely agree with you that “travel offers the opportunity to break free”.

    1. Whenever we are flying and hit a patch of turbulence, I always remind myself of something someone told me years ago. “Hitting turbulence is just like driving on a gravel road. Sometimes it is smooth, but once in awhile you hit some ruts. It doesn’t mean you are going to crash though.” For whatever reason, having that thought in the back of my mind always puts me at ease when flying!

  3. From all the fears listed, I’m suffering only from FOMO. Looking back on trips, I always find some museum or another spot that I didn’t get to see – drives me crazy! Other than that, I’m pretty much fearless when it comes to travel. I’m enjoying getting out of my comfort zone far too much to be scared 😀 Happy travels – it’s a wild world out there 😀

  4. I am sorry to hear about your car accidents & thankfully I have never experienced something like this. No wonder road trips give you a sense of dread. I’m very glad it sounds like you got out unscathed. Travel can be filled with so much fear as part of the joy is that there are so many unknowns. For me, I love travel because every day is a challenge & as a solo traveller, one I need to face on my own. It is a great way of building self confidence. But we do all have scrapes along the way & some of mine, on reflection have been pretty terrifying. I actually think that more fear comes from those you leave behind to travel. They just have their perceptions to deal with without the realisations of reality. That is so much worse than knowing that everything is fine.

    1. Yes, perceptions really do play a major role in what any given experience might be like. As we grow as travelers, our perceptions definitely change!

  5. My top travel fears are planes and boats which is unfortunate when you live on an island. So I practice breathing until its all over. Used to love road trips but now I’m getting nervous driving. Not sure why? Maybe its age. Won’t let the fear win though!

    1. That’s right! We can’t let fear rule our lives! I’m happy to hear that you are continually working through your fears and not letting them stop you.

  6. So true. There is a lot of fears that can come from travel even depending on location and excursions. But I try to remember that we have bad things happen even here at home, but we still go on with our day to day, so I try not to let those things stop me. Part of my blog is dealing with the fear specifically relating to traveling with food allergies, so I totally understand this.

    1. I’m sure traveling with food allergies adds an entirely different element to the experience and planning necessities! Glad to hear that you still are able to go out and experience things. And yes, you’re right, bad things happen at home too.

  7. Isn’t it strange how we can sometimes allow fear to stop us from doing the things we want to do? After waking up on a long haul flight many years ago to find that the elderly gentleman in the aisle seat next to me had passed in the night, I was afraid of choosing a window seat – just in case it ever happened again. Today, I’ve readjusted my sails and I tend to adopt the “feel the fear and do it anyway” approach (after sensible precautions). Here’s hoping that time will be a healer for you too and that you’ll be able to enjoy road trips again in the future x

    1. Oh dear – that sounds terrible! I’m so sorry to hear about this experience. I’m glad to hear you’ve been able to readjust your sails and find new ways to cope.

  8. Very very true! There is a healthy amount of fear that is our natural instinct to protect ourselves and raise our awareness of the situation. There is also being too fearful that we paralyze ourselves from doing something really worth doing!

  9. As a traveler & expat, I agree that travel can be so life-changing, ideally in a positive light. It forces you to think, feel, process and learn in so many ways! I think it’s great you shed light on this topic to hopefully encourage those looking for something more in life!

  10. In defense of fear: A reasonable amount of fear is a healthy thing! It keeps us from getting too close to the edge. Realizing you have those fears helps you take the appropriate precautions to stay safe when you travel, and other times. And realizing when a fear is holding you back, it helps you clear away what stands between where you are, and where you want to be. Thanks for a thoughtful, thought-provoking post!

  11. I know some people have some preconceived fear for travel but if they get addicted to travel then soon it goes of. Sometimes I am get apprehensive in trying out new things. But now you know what is stopping you and so you will surely overcome your fears and start exploring this beautiful world.

  12. This post has such an important message! Travel fears and sketchy situations you can get into while traveling are so overlooked, but are so important to consider and prepare for.

  13. Sorry to hear about that car accident! I’d probably be traumatized too. Glad that it didn’t stop you. Fear is such a strong emotion that stops alot of people from where they want to be in life.

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