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How to overcome travel fear

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Less fear, more travel

Craving some adventure but scared to take the plunge and actually plan a trip? Travel fear is normal, but it can be overcome. We're sharing some effective tips for moving past any anxiety you have about travel and taking the trip you've always dreamed of.
Woman looking at map

Figure out what you're really afraid of

What’s holding you back from booking that plane ticket? If you haven’t peeled back the layers of your fear beyond a generalized anxiety about travel, it’s time to get to the bottom of what’s holding you back. Write down all of the specific worries you have about traveling: not knowing the language, getting lost, getting sick, missing home, etc. and then take a long, hard look at each one individually. Separating your fears and actually getting them down on paper makes them seem less daunting because you can see exactly what they are, versus just seeing one big cloud of worry.

Choose not to be afraid

Sounds impossible, we know, but once you know exactly what you’re dealing with through the exercise above, you can feel empowered to choose not to let them hold you back. The “what ifs” (what if I get sick, what if I miss home) plague everyone, even the most seasoned of travelers, but they choose to see past them and book that ticket anyway.

Talk to other travelers

Seek out friends, family members or co-workers who travel often and make a date to meet for coffee or a drink and talk about what they love most about going away. Enthusiasm is infectious, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to walk away from the conversation without a little wanderlust. Ask to hear their best travel moments, where they can’t wait to go next, why they travel and where they would go back to again and again. But don’t stop there — ask about what they dislike about travel, what their fears are — and then ask why they travel despite those fears and annoyances.

Get excited about a destination

Now that you’re actively pushing up against your fears, go one step further and get excited about somewhere you really want to go. Not sure where you want to go? Head to the travel section of your local bookstore and start browsing. There’s something about holding a brand-new guidebook that can’t be replaced with a webpage. Once a few places have piqued your interest, head online and start researching. It won’t take long for something to thrill you — a town you “have to" see, a festival you want to go to, a hike you want to take or even a hotel that looks amazing. Excitement can (and likely will) win out over your fears.

Book a trip (no, really)

OK, it’s time to dive in and start planning. Save your money, choose your dates and book that ticket. No, really, once you book your trip there’s no turning back — taking the ultimate plunge will force you to look your travel fear square in the eyes and say, “Yup, you’re still scary but I’m going anyway.” There’s really no way to totally move past your fear unless you face it. But once you book, it’s OK to feel anxious. Just focus more on that hike you really wanted to go on, or that amazing jazz bar you’re going to get to order a drink at; stay excited.

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