Omni Traveller

Budget Backpack Travel in Europe

Thoughts on the Irrational Fear of Travel

Some people dread travel. The mere thought of taking an unstructured trip sends some people into shock. Even some people who dream of taking a trip to a far-off land, sometimes find themselves held back by worry and unreasonable concerns. Ultimately, too many potential travellers never set foot aboard an airplane or cruise ship because of the fear of what “might happen.”

I think we should examine such negative thoughts and show that the fear of travel is not rational.

Have you ever spoken to someone that confided to you their fear of travel? As they see it, it is as if the minute they arrive at a European country, Murphy’s Law will take over and they’ll end up pick-pocketed by Gypsies, become somehow infected with a terrible illness, and be jailed by an oppressive police state.

While you certainly need to keep your wits about you when travelling, and while travel doesn’t excuse reckless behaviour, when it comes down to it, the most common travel fears prevent people from hopping on a plane are either unfounded or easily prevented.


Casual Fears About Travel: The Unpredictable

If you write a list of your travel fears, you’ll realize they lie outside of your control. They are not predictable. There’s no way to know if a country that has been peaceful is about to be taken over by a military coup. You might think you’re avoiding trouble by visiting Spain instead of the Gaza Strip only to think back to the Madrid Train Bombings of 2004. A super-bug is just as likely to crop up in your home town as in the Congo, so don’t think you can play it safe by vacationing close to home rather than flying to a far-off land half-way around the world.

Life is unpredictable and carries with it, risk. That doesn’t mean there is less risk at home rather than, for example, taking a trip to India, New Zealand, or Sweden.


The Fear of Flying

The most common fears people have about travel tend to be the least likely to occur. Of these, the most widespread is the fear of flying.

Fear of flying, also known as aerophobia, is the most common travel fear because it is a fear attached to something of which you have no control. However, aerophobia is recognized as a phobia that can be treated easily. It is considered a symptom rather than a mental disorder.

Thus, most are fearful of flying not because of flight itself, but because their fear of flying is triggered by one of several other phobias: claustrophobia, fear of heights, fear of panic attacks, and others.


How to Overcome the Fear

In dealing effectively with aerophobia or any other fear, it is first necessary to be aware that you can be completely cured from this condition. However, you will need help to do so. There are a variety of ways to put a handle on such fears. The fear of flying is easily conquered if you take action to receive the help you need to give you the confidence you need to succeed. Even the most stubborn fears can be overcome with proper treatment and dedication.

Meditation: One of the best approaches to control fear is to learn meditation, but this will require learning correct technique and taking the time to practice daily. Basically, meditation is learning to control your own mind through breathing, relaxation, and concentration techniques. This method has so many uses as well as the elimination of phobias. This is a long-range solution that is highly effective for almost everyone. Meditation also has a range of other positive side benefits that makes this a skill that everyone should master.

However, there are other techniques that focus only on one problem- a specific fear. There are many hypnotherapists, psychologists, and clinics that offer services for the fear of flying. Often, treatment will not take an inordinate amount of time.

Self-Help: There are many CD treatment programmes, DVD courses, and books available on overcoming the fear of flying. Most books will provide valid techniques that teach simple self-hypnosis techniques that are very easy to learn that include breathing techniques, relaxation, and other methods. However, you must have the self-discipline to take the necessary time to practice as required.

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Hypnotherapy can also be used and this is done by a trained hypnotherapist. Select a hypnotherapist that will provide a CD of your first session. Afterwards you should play and repeat the hypnotherapy procedure daily as instructed by the hypnotherapist.

Medication: If all else fails, you can get a sedative from your doctor. A sedative will calm you, but pay careful attention not to drink alcohol while taking this form of meditation. This is the least desirable approach to the problem of fear of flying because it is not a cure, it is only a temporary way of handling the situation.