So you want to travel the world. Your money is saved up for a plane ticket, you’ve been scouting trip destinations on travel blogs for months, and you’ve talked your family members’ ears off about getting out there.
But as much as you would love to pull the trigger on that plane ticket, you can’t seem to take the plunge. There are too many scary thoughts swirling around in your brain, and you have no idea how to fix it.
Fear of traveling, or hodophobia, is a very real and serious thing. It’s not just anxiety about getting outside of your comfort zone…it’s an actual fear. So how do you overcome it? This article examines what exactly hodophobia is, and a few different methods you might use to combat it.
What are the Symptoms of Hodophobia?
The symptoms of hodophobia can be serious, including panic attacks and increased blood pressure and heart rate.
Other symptoms include:
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Stomach pain
- A profound sense of loss of control
- Muscle weakness
Each person may have different symptoms, but generally, people with hodophobia tend to dwell on their fear of travel so intensely that it may become impossible to think about anything else. As you might imagine, this makes traveling less than pleasant.
These symptoms may manifest in different ways. Maybe you find it impossible to travel alone, or maybe the thought of getting on a plane or train causes you to have a panic attack. You might find it difficult to travel very far from home, unlike other tourists who seem to have no problem fitting in wherever they go. All of this just compounds the anxiety and makes it even harder to enjoy the experience.
How Do You Diagnose Hodophobia?
It’s not easy to diagnose hodophobia. You will likely need a medical assessment from your family doctor and then a referral to a psychological assessment.
For many people, the fear of travel develops later in adulthood and usually from some significant event—for example, maybe you’ve had a particularly awful flight full of turbulence, or you’re prone to serious motion sickness, or you’ve had things go wrong unexpectantly that was out of your control.
Your doctor or psychology professional will likely want to do a deep dive into everything that has happened to cause this phobia to get to the root of your fear. It’s uncomfortable, but if you want to make your worldly dreams come true, it’s worth it.
Is Fear of Flying the Same as Fear of Travel?
Even though the symptoms for a fear of flying may be the same as the symptoms for fear of traveling, it’s definitely not the same fear. A phobia of travel is much more varied.
A lot of people confuse their fear of travel with a fear of aviophobia (or even a fear of heights, for that matter). That’s because aviophobia is one of the most common fears out there.
But while aviophobia is related specifically to flying, hodophobia addresses a different set of fears when it comes to travel. It can be something as “simple” as anxiety about whether or not you get lost in a new city, or just a general foreboding of bad things about to happen. Whatever it is, it’ll most likely keep you from traveling and living your life.
How Do I Manage My Fear of Traveling?
If you feel like you can’t take care of your phobia on your own, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional or find an alternative way to deal with your problem.
Here are some tips and advice for conquering your fears of traveling.
Travel With an Experienced Traveler
There’s nothing wrong with enlisting the help of a friend to accompany you on your trip (in fact, most people will jump at the chance of having a travel companion). Having a confident, well-traveled friend to show you the ropes of traveling is one of the best ways to get over your travel anxiety. They’ll be able to take the lead when necessary to prove to you that nothing ias scary as you think.
Talk to a Therapist
Pick up the phone, and call a therapist! In my opinion, this is the best way to make sure you get the help you need to change your life. A therapist will help you better understand the root causes of your problems. One of the easiest solutions is through online therapy with a company like BetterHelp, so that you can seek treatment via their website or app during any situation throughout your travels.
Plan Out Your First Few Days
The ultimate anti anxiety aid? Meticulously planning out your first few days on the road. While you don’t want to over-plan, there’s something about plotting your itinerary that’s very comforting for anyone who needs to know what’s next on the agenda. There’s something very comforting in predictability.
Make Yourself Comfortable
Your body reacts to its environment, so if you’re comfortable, your mind is comfortable. Do whatever it takes to feel at home, whether it’s watching a movie on your flight, or finding something to keep you distracted. Get cozy, and try to enjoy the experience.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are the definition of anxiety. While a beer or two might be a nice way to unwind before your trip, it’s a bad idea to indulge. The after-effects of bingeing (like increased anxiety and general sluggishness) just aren’t worth it.
Learn the Art of Meditation
There’s a good chance that many people will encourage you to try meditating to ease your travel fears and anxieties. That’s because it actually works.
If you’re feeling like everything is spiraling and that everything will implode at any moment, meditating can help you reel in your thoughts. Focusing on your breath and thought process goes a long way. Start out with short meditating sessions to get started, and work your way up.
Get Good Travel Insurance
If your thoughts are spinning out hundreds of different travel scenarios gone wrong (like planes crashing, missed flights, or your life being at serious risk), protecting yourself with a good travel insurance plan might go far in easing your mind. That way, if things go wrong, you’re covered medically and financially.
Seeking out help for your hodophobia is definitely worth the effort. Although it seems daunting, holding yourself back from a world of experiences and moments of pure bliss is even worse than not facing your phobias. You’ll never regret taking that first step.