There are a few common reasons why people don’t travel. The biggest excuse I’ve heard is that it’s too expensive. Another popular reason I’ve heard is that people are actually too afraid to travel.
When I first started traveling I was too young to be afraid. At 22, I considered myself pretty much invincible. Now that I have some more years under my belt, I get it. After I had my son it took me nearly three years to travel with him.
I understand your fear. But you don’t have to stay stuck in your fear. You can live, adventure and explore.
So I asked some fellow travel bloggers what advice they would give someone who has a fear of traveling. Here’s what they said.
Most of us are afraid of the unknown. We’re afraid to start at a new school where we know no body. We’re afraid to start that new job. We’re afraid of pursuing our dreams because of the chance of failing.
Fear is a powerful feeling, but it’s just that…a feeling. Just like sadness and happiness, it passes. The best feeling in the world is facing your fears head on.
When it comes to travelling, it’s very understandable to be afraid of going to a place you’ve never been, surrounded by people you don’t know and possibly a language you don’t understand. But that’s also the thrill of it all!
I can tell you that once you arrive in your destination, all those fears will melt away and will be replaces with excitement.
My advice to people who are afraid to travel is to start off with the familiar. Even as far as travelling within your own country where you feel comfortable and pushing yourself from there. Travel isn’t restricted to the exotic; just do things you wouldn’t normally do, learn to feel comfortable with being alone, and most importantly learn to trust yourself so that you can make decisions and, when things go wrong (which will inevitably happen), you realise that, no matter what is thrown at you, you will be able to deal with it and it will be okay.
That requires a little faith in yourself and it does grow. Once you’re comfortable travelling around your own country, start branching out, maybe in countries that speak your language or at least where your language is widely spoken.
Consider your personality and do a little research: do you like a calm atmosphere? Consider Japan over India as your first trip, for example. You’ll feel far more comfortable. Soon enough you’ll have enough confidence in yourself that you’ll be making travel decisions you wouldn’t have considered initially.
Finally, don’t compare yourself to others; how people travel is very personal, so don’t do too much too fast simply because you’ve seen someone else do it. Push yourself out of you comfort zone but do it comfortably. Baby steps.
Do some research and check out the stories and social media channels of the thousands upon thousands of people that are out there traveling at any given moment. Read about their experiences in destinations all over the world and before long you’ll understand that that world is a much safer place than you probably imagine.
I can say from my own 18 years of nonstop travel that the fear we tend to experience is actually just the fear of the unknown, of doing something and being somewhere unfamiliar. However, once you start enjoying the benefits of travel, that unknown becomes the norm and the fear is quickly replaced with excitement and fulfillment.
Don’t let a little fear stop you from achieving your goals, especially when that fear will disappear once you get out there and start traveling!
Although my response may smack of reverse psychology (and perhaps it is), I’m going to say if you’re too scared to travel, then don’t. If you’re plagued with anxiety the whole time, you’re not likely to enjoy yourself.
And if you subscribe to the law of attraction, the more you fear “shit happening”, the greater the chances are that shit is going to happen while you travel. So save yourself – and the rest of us – and stay home.
But you’re going to stay home, and if your home is in the U.S., then please understand that you live in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. And the travel advisories you read are designed to make you fearful of travel. So if your travel fears are about all the dangers that lurk, perhaps travel will actually be safer for you than staying home. If travel safety is your concern, then perhaps this video about travel street sense will allay some of your fears.
If instead, your fear is just that feeling of butterflies in your tummy, and the fear of the great unknown, then I say “welcome to the club”! This, is a good fear. It keeps you on your toes, and heightens your senses. Perhaps you’ve forgotten, but as a child, you probably feared swimming for the first time. How would you survive in such deep water? But once you got your feet wet (literally and figuratively), you learned to love it, right?
Well, it’s the same with travel. Enjoy those butterflies. Treat your travel adventure like a new lover: exciting, tantalizing, and surprising. Go ahead and feel that fear. Enjoy it, even. It means you’re truly alive.
And to follow all this great wisdom up with my own advice, I say:
If you’re really afraid to travel, start small. Spend a weekend in Canada or London or in a country that’s most culturally similar to yours or really close to yours. Read blogs, watch videos, do research. Empowering yourself with information will ease your mind. Bring someone with you who’s left the country before. Lean on them for wisdom and advice.
When you’re back from your short trip you’ll have a better idea if travel is something you really want to do. Keep building up your travel muscle. Take longer trips to farther and more different places. The more practice you get the more comfortable you’ll feel.