Overcoming your travel fear(s) by asking yourself the question of what’s really keeping you from traveling, could mean the difference between wishing you could travel and planning a trip and actually booking that flight.
The truth is, no one is really never without fear when they travel, does that make sense? Yes, we see it on Instagram and other social media when travel influencers and your friends go on trips and make it seem so fun and easy like there was absolutely no fear in them. The truth is, there probably was, it’s just something that by confronting the travel fear more and more, the fear itself becomes easier to manage.
And because there are a variety of fears associated with travel that vary in intensity felt by each individual, there is one common denominator in all of this, and that is the following: There will always be fear, it will always exist, and there are ways that you can maneuver it to the point that it won’t feel as powerful as it might right now.
In today’s post, we are going to shed some serious light on what that fear is actually rooted in, and how it has continued to sustain itself within you so that you can begin to see it for what it actually is a bit more, which will help you jump-start your path to overcoming your travel fears.
My own travel fears
In my case, I can’t really say that I have experienced petrifying travel fears or anxieties, but I have definitely experienced travel nerves and worries and self-doubt because travel is, after all, stepping out of your comfort zone, and while it’s one of my favorite activities to participate in, traveling means literally placing yourself in an environment where you don’t know how things may work and how people may be. That, I know, is a common fear that most have related to travel (more on this later) and I know I have definitely felt that one when I first started traveling. I know that one of my fears that comes up more than others is that initial shock/disorientation that usually goes away after the first day of traveling. It’s a sudden shock of “omg I’m really here! I don’t know where anything is, there are so many people, I hope I don’t get too lost.”
But what has really helped me kind of tackle that fear head-on has been allowing myself first off to feel it, in all its discomfort in order to let it pass by, and then looking at it straight in the face to slowly uncover what’s really going on. 9/10 it ends up leading me to a limiting belief around travel and my confidence to trust myself literally navigating so much change and foreignness while being so far from home. Let’s talk about how you can do that for yourself.
How do you feel when you think of travel?
Or when someone mentions a trip that they have planned, or when you get invited to a trip. How do you feel? Do you feel your stomach turn into knots, do you feel the tension in parts of your body? What about mentally?
Starting by looking at the root of why the act and thought of travel makes you feel fear. Many times, we internalize other people’s experiences and horror stories of what has happened to them on their travels, or perhaps, travel was never really a topic of conversation in your circle, so you really don’t know anything about it and it’s more of the uncertainty of travel that may scare you a bit.
Once you begin to dig in by looking at your reasoning and going beyond the feeling of the fear, you can start to dismantle it a bit more until you get to the ultimate root of the fear.
Let’s talk about stories
By this, I mean stories in the sense that we all as human beings carry some sort of understanding about different things in life, travel included, that we believe to be true. Stories can be good and encouraging such as “travel is fun and I am more than capable of traveling on my own” or “traveling is scary because there are bad people out there, and you increase your chances of something bad happening to you by traveling.” Regardless of what your story is about travel, it will become the reality that you go along with if you are not aware of it, or if you are but you don’t want to change it. Does that make sense?
The caveat here however that we must be aware of, is that these stories especially related to travel, can either be built on personal experience or on the experiences and literal stories and beliefs from those around you.
So, a task for you that I would recommend is after you dig a bit deeper, go beyond the feeling of fear of travel, and when you get to the story that makes you feel the way you do, ask yourself: what is this based on?
If it’s based on your own actual experience, then that’s one thing to heal from. If it’s based on an experience that your friend had or someone in your circle had, then that is not yours to take as your own experience. It becomes a matter then of letting go of what is not yours, experience and stories included.
The unsupportive travel mindset
You’ve heard me speak about how you can live in the travel mindset, which essentially means how you can take the mentality and curiosity you experience when you travel, back into your everyday life in order to live in a state of constant interest in the world around you, wonderment, and happiness akin to traveling. So now the unsupportive travel mindset is this: the mentality and unsupportive thoughts (that are not yours, but rather simply an absorption of the conversations around you) that you have adopted as your own circumstances and are not allowing you to build a belief of travel possibility for you.
read more: The travel mindset explained
For instance, It’s not the responsibilities or the tight budget that keeps you from traveling. It’s the story you keep repeating to yourself. The overuse of these stories becomes a repetitive habit because so many times the brain has gone through that story over and over again. It’s almost automatic to say and believe that you really can’t travel because of all of the reasons mentioned (plus more) even if that may not be true for you.
Shedding some light on the most common travel fears
After you begin to uncover some of those stories and limiting beliefs around travel, there may still be some fear and question surrounding travel. This blog post alone won’t cure any travel fears you may experience, but I hope they shed a light on the darkness. When we are able to shine a light on those fears, we are able to see them for what they actually are, and if they are even relevant to us, which helps you reel in your power and confidence as the traveler you are.
And I do want to say that this post comes from a place of utmost love and desire for you to start fulfilling those travel dreams. If you want to travel, you deserve to travel. It’s that simple. So by denying yourself of this dream right now, what good is it doing you? Let’s shed some light on your stories stopping you right now.
It’s time to wake up and answer to one of your hearts deep callings: traveling the world.
Responsibilities is an umbrella term to mean a variety of commitments in your everyday life, but what about them? Everyone has responsibilities. If that were a true barrier between people and travel, people wouldn’t travel as much. Yes, some people have more responsibility than others, but to say that this alone is a reason why you can’t travel, is simply a decision you are making. Reflect on that, and double-check if it’s the responsibilities that hold you back from traveling, or if it’s a money fear, leaving your family fear, leaving your work fear, and from there, see if there’s an experience that this fear is based on and if it’s yours.
“Not having enough money for travel”
This is real, and I know that many of us have encountered this at one point in life. The truth is, there are so many ways to make extra money these days, save money on the side almost without you realizing it, as well as other motivating ways to save money for travel.
By getting clear firstly on the details of your trip (yes, this will require you to dream and visualize what you want your experience to be like) you’ll start to get out of the nebulous and vague “idea” of traveling and onto actually setting details and feeling what it would be like to do and see the places you want to see. It makes it more real, and maybe more scary because you’re going against the story you’ve always told yourself of not being able to travel, but that’s ok. It’s normal, and you should keep going.
There are tons of ways to start saving money for travel, and there are many people out there that have mastered budget travel that you can learn from. Give yourself the permission to step out of the story of not having enough money, and start planning the trip as if you had more than enough. What you believe in will expand, and that comes with a new story to keep repeating to yourself.
In the meantime, if you want to start not only planning your trip but also budgeting your trip and getting a solid number (estimate) of how much your dream trip would cost you – I created the Travel Day-By-Day Money Tracker which will help you do just that. It will automatically calculate expenses such as meals and activities per day, and then it will calculate the grand total of your trip simultaneously. It’s a great resource, and you can have it for FREE.
Leave me your name and email address so I can send it to your right away!
“No one can go with me”
A quick Google search will show you that Solo Travel has been becoming quite popular amongst many travelers for many reasons, one of them being that sometimes you just can’t plan travel around everyone’s schedule. Also the self-development and growth you experience traveling on your own is quite unlike anything out there. Rather than seeing this as a halt to your travel dreams, view it as an opportunity.
If your friends can’t travel with you, or they just don’t want to, take this as redirection towards an opportunity to experience something so transformative on your own. Yes, it can be scary, especially if you’ve never really done things on your own, and if you haven’t befriended yourself that way…yet. But it doesn’t mean that it has to be like this always. There’s a first time for everything, and chances are you’ll start out solo traveling, but you’ll meet so many AMAZING people on the way that may even become life long friends afterward.
Repeat a new story that declares that you’re capable and ready to travel on your own, and that you have tons of fun on your own and that you feel free on your own (whatever feels good to you) and let that be your mantra starting now. By the time borders are open again to travel, your story may be one that now looks for solo activities more than before (in fact, I know it will if you actually repeat and commit to the new story).
If you’re interested in a list of Traveler Affirmations – created to help you change your old limiting travel stories and empower yourself as the badass traveler that you are, then I suggest you let me send you your FREE copy by leaving your email and name down below! I am so proud of these affirmations, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this, catered to travelers, on the internet, so I know you’ll start to feel their power as soon as you start to read and repeat them daily.
“I’m afraid of flying”
Fear of flying is a specific one within travel, but one I wanted to include here. One of my favorite techniques to help with the fear of flying is breathing exercises, as well as thinking and visualizing myself at my destination. It helps to mentally already feel like I am already walking the streets of my destination, and thinking how easy and smooth the flight way.
“I am afraid of getting lost”
I’ll tell you this right now: you will. I will also tell you this: it’s OK. Everyone does! The more you do it (get lost) the more fun it actually becomes because that’s how you end up finding some of the hole in the wall restaurants, beautiful streets, and corners of the city you’re visiting.
Ok, I will admit that maybe that’s a bit too out there right now, but what I also want to say is that it’s not like you won’t know where anything is, and that you’ll be lost and that you’ll be in danger. No! There are so many ways to maneuver any new city (especially if you’ve never been to it) as well as resources to really help you out in those situations. The truth is that it’s not really a matter of if you’ll get lost, but more about preparing for how to help yourself out (especially if you travel solo).
One thing I always recommend people to do on the first day of the trip (if possible) is to do a walking tour of the city. There are free walking tours offered at almost all major cities as well as some on Airbnb and other platforms that are sure to be super helpful in discovering the city you’re in a bit more, recognizing a few streets, and getting recommendations for places to have dinner at. It not only helps you lessen your chances of getting lost and feeling comfortable with the city but also you’ll feel less alone (if you’re traveling solo) because you’ll be surrounded by other travelers (some maybe even solo) and a guide who is taking you to all these places. I do these tours everywhere I go!
In my experience, locals are always super kind to help you, even stepping into a shop to ask the shop owner directions has never failed. Chances are you’ll be in a touristy area, so don’t worry about there being a huge language barrier.
However, in the event that there is a language barrier between you two, you know you can always whip out Google Translate, or better yet, knowing the basics of the local language will definitely help you out, as well as show respect to the local people. Locals will TOTALLY appreciate the efforts of trying to communicate with them through their language, and they’ll feel even more inclined to help you out in any situation, so I cannot recommend that enough. Also, I personally just feel like it’s a respect to the country and its people to come equipped with the basics, even if it’s just please, thank you, yes, and no.
You’ll be fine if you get lost – you’ve got resources (especially like this one)
“My parents would never let me” (if you’re young)
Listen, I’ve been here. Being first-generation meant that I had to do a lot of things for the first time as well as venture on to new things that my parents and family for that matter had never done. When I got the opportunity to study abroad, my parents weren’t exactly thrilled at the thought of their daughter being in a whole other country and continent for almost 3 months, so I get you. Don’t let that be a barrier though if you really want to travel and experience a whole other country, especially as sons and daughters of immigrants, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities that our parents left their home countries for. So talk to them, be clear. honest, communicative, and if there is something you don’t know, research it and ask professionals at your school and program for resources to help you, or even talk with your parents if necessary.
“I’ve never been out of the country”
There’s a first time for everything, right? Especially if it’s something you want to do. Start small would be my best advice, and keep going further in terms of distance and level of comfort the more you go. Build your confidence with traveler affirmations and begin to travel locally, nationally and then internationally. Apply for a passport (even if international travel isn’t advised right now) but get yourself into the mindset that you’ll soon be able to travel further distances if you wanted to. Also by getting a passport, it’s also a commitment to that desire to travel and knocking fear out of the way slowly but surely. Our mind likes symbols and once you receive your passport, that’s going to be a symbol to the brain that is going to support your new identity as a confident traveler. Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself!
“Fear of something happening to you or your family while you’re traveling”
I know I have dealt with this one personally in the past on occasion, it was like the further I went, the more this idea that something bad could happen, not to me, but a family member back home got clearer. My thoughts would scare me to imagine what I would do if that were to happen. How could I go back home the quickest? Could I afford an emergency flight back home? How many hours would I have to wait anxiously until I arrived back home? The list would go on, but what has helped me is this: realizing that those are things that I cannot control, which took off this imaginary pressure of myself, and realizing that thinking of these sad and negative thoughts was not going to help me even IF an emergency like that presented itself.
If this is a reoccurring fear that you have, I would suggest creating a plan of emergency, maybe have extra funds available when you travel in case you need them, and maybe also investing in travel insurance to help you with a sudden change of plans without costing you your sanity and extra money. I know for me, just knowing that I have a cushion of resources to fall back on when I travel is the peace of mind that usually pacifies this travel fear. I hope it can for you too.
I hope this post was helpful for you, and that you began to look a little past your travel fears, and started to see a root to this emotion.
I hope that this advice when it comes to overcoming your travel fears, or at least getting you started by positioning your perspective on what your travel fears may stem from, and helped you regain your confidence and power to travel.
As I said it before, if you have this deep desire to travel, regardless of the fears, you’re meant to travel and explore. There is a solution to the travel fear, and this post hopefully helped you see it a bit more carefully.
To many more travel moments of fearlessness ✨