Scared to Travel: Advice for Overcoming a Fear of the Unknown

scared travel advice fear unknown

In my job as a travel consultant, I’ve heard every excuse in the book for passing up that dream trip. I’ve come to realize that most of the time it’s simply a cover for something else underlying–an objection that is able to be overcome, but chosen not to be.

“I can’t get the time off work.”

work job time off travel

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If you have a job that you can’t request time off ahead of time and either be granted or denied it, quit. Find a different job and put in your two weeks. Because that is simply wrong. Humans don’t live to serve. We live for fulfillment and we have one life. Accept that. As long as you give your place of employment ample time to prepare and make sure your duties are covered, I consider it a basic human right to get a little time to yourself and so should you.

“I have too much homework.”

homework travel syllabus plan trip

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I don’t know about your school, but in mine, we were given a syllabus. The syllabus told us what we had to do and when. Every homework assignment was outlined in the beginning of the semester. With a careful bit of planning, you can plan a trip during a time that fits your school schedule. As long as there isn’t an exam and you don’t waste your absences on pointless days away from class, it shouldn’t be a problem to get away for a few days. Do your homework before you leave and then ENJOY YOURSELF.

“I’m afraid to fly.”

afraid fly flight airplane scared nervous

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I get it. Barrelling over the earth in mid-air at top speeds is a bit terrifying when you think about it. But you know what else you can think about? The fact that 99.99999% of flights take off and land with no problems whatsoever. The odds of something happening to your plane are slim to none. Sure, it is uncomfortable gritting your teeth and anticipating the wheels hitting the ground at landing time, but isn’t that tropical beach and life-changing experience worth it? I’ve been on countless flights and I get a little nervous on every one of them. It’s normal. Accept it and move past it!

“Maybe when I win the lotto, I’ll go.”

money lottery win travel lotto lucky

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That’s weird. Did you have to win the lotto when you bought that flat screen TV or remodeled your kitchen? No? Then why is travel any different? Look at travel as an investment–an investment into your quality of life. Just like financing a car or a house, you can “finance” a trip–only it’s better! You don’t have to pay INTEREST when you’re booking a trip like you do on a mortgage or auto loan! Your trip can be booked a year in advance and paid in installments. You can pay the equivalent of a phone bill per month or less and end up with a kick-ass vacation. Make it a priority and then winning the lotto can shove off.

“My daughter’s getting married. My nephew’s graduation is this summer.”

summer calendar travel life events

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I’m pretty sure your daughter is not getting married every single day this year and your nephew is not graduating for an entire summer. These things last a day. Sure, you want to be there for preparation and moral support, but you can do that and then go on your trip after. If it’s about footing the bill for something like a wedding or major life event, waiting to go on a trip makes sense. But get out of town nonetheless. Going on a trip doesn’t mean going on a round-the-world cruise–it could simply mean a camping trip with friends or a weekend at your family’s cottage. Either way, some well-earned me time is definitely in order–especially after taking part in a sometimes stressful and emotionally taxing major life event. Something will always come up but you have to make taking care of your mental state a priority. Trust me, your family will understand.

“How could I leave the country with all of this terrorism, unrest, and craziness going on in Europe and other parts of the world?”

world terrorism danger travel country

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Sometimes I think staying home is more dangerous than traveling the world. Sure, you hear about the occasional bombing in a subway or earthquake in Chile, but how many mass shootings have happened in the US in seemingly everyday places in the past few years? Not to sound morbid, but many other countries have a lot less access to guns than we do in the US and fear of what’s outside our borders is in my opinion a result of blown up media coverage by news stations looking for a story. I could literally go on forever about this, so take a look at my previous post Terrorism and Zika: Should I Still Go? to read more.

There are countless other objections I’ve heard too, like not having anyone to go with (3 Reasons Not Having a Travel Buddy Shouldn’t Stop You), not knowing the language, having to get a babysitter or petsitter, and more.

travel map bucket list

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The truth is, if you really want to go, you’ll make it happen. If you’re making excuses, there’s something else going on there. The first trip is the hardest–after you take the plunge and go on your first one, you’ll probably be hooked. Changes in health, family, and life can happen in the blink of an eye–seriously. Just do it now, while you are physically able and can experience the most from a destination.

But even when you’re not physically able, still do it.

This is my steadfast motto and I live every single day with this in mind: “There are seven days in a week and someday isn’t one of them.”

It all comes down to a fear of the unknown. Embrace it. Face it. And overcome it!

CAITLYN WITHOUT A COMPASS