The most common travel fears

Fear and loathing in KY by hyperbolic pants explosion on FlickrTravel can be a fearful business, even if you've scored the best travel insurance policy there is. Things can go wrong all the time, from the airplane crashing to having a bad hot dog and getting food poisoning. Here are some of the things travelers are most commonly afraid of:

Fear of being away from home

Certainly common, and quite reasonable, this is the fear of being away from loved ones, the dog, work... After all, if you're not there to make sure everything is OK, it probably won't be.

The way to get over it is to realize most people and things don't really rely on you being there all the time. They can probably manage on their own. Personally, I suffer this fear a lot. But I'm no good for those at home if I don't get a break now and then, so I travel anyway.

Fear of illness

While swine flu is the illness of the day, and bird flu a couple of years ago, there are many other bugs and viruses laying in wait wherever you go. The biggest problem is in reality travelers' diarrhea, or Moctezuma's Revenge, which can hit you anywhere the food and water isn't what you're used to. There's no reason to stop traveling because you could get sick, the office kitchen is just as much of a breeding ground for bacteria!

Carry some anti-septic wipes or alcoholic hand gel if you'd like, but as long as you wash your hands, you'll be fine.

Fear of flying

The most common travel fear by far is a fear of flying. A fully irrational fear, it's nonetheless crippling to some sufferers. While plane crashes are frightening, there's only a 1 in 11 million chance of you being in one. In fact, per mile traveled, air planes are much safer than driving, something most people are quite happy doing on a daily basis. In fact, you're more likely to get struck by lightning, as 1 in 3 million will have that happen. But if you're worried about getting on a plane, here are some ideas on how to cure your fear of flying.

Fear of a bad flight



Air travel has got to be such a hassle in the last 10 years that some travelers rather stay at home than get on a plane. Blame TSA or the terrorists, but that's how it is. Intrusive security checks, strange carry on restrictions, awful food, dingy airports, and other travelers conspire to make our trips less than enjoyable. Definitely something to be afraid of, and has even affected how I look at travel. The destination, as alluring as it is, isn't worth the hassle every time anymore.

Fear of losing luggage

The Transportation Department puts your chance of losing your bags at 1 in 285. But airlines have different levels of (non) performance with checked luggage and those traveling with American Eagle or SkyWest should probably try to travel with only carry on luggage. On the other hand, AirTran only loses 1 bag in 500 due to better tracking technology. It's a hassle to lose your bags, even if just for a few days, and can certainly dampen the mood for your continued vacation. The lesson is to put all your really important stuff in your carry on bag.

Maybe best to stay at home

After reading all that, maybe you think the best way to avoid it all is to stay at home. But not even that works too well, as the anxiety around these fears will only grow stronger the less you're exposed to them. And, you'll be missing out on sights like California's Big Sur!

So, what are you worried about when traveling? Hit the comments!

You should follow me on twitter here.

Last updated by Jack on 26 August, 2009 in Travel.

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Cure your fear of flying

Comments

biggest fear?

Not sure I have a #1 but I'm not a big fan of flying.

Anil on 26 August, 2009

Basically, it's like with everything else. Fear will keep you from doing what you really want to do!

So, like with everything else, don't let the fear take over and just go for it!

Marina K. Villatoro on 26 August, 2009

@Anil - That's funny, I'm getting less comfortable with flying as I get older.

@Marina - Just jumping in has given me some of the best travel experiences in my life.

Jack on 27 August, 2009

My fears

I really enjoyed flying when i was a child, but now I seem more nervous as I am aware of the dangers. I actually fear delays and annoyances more than accidents. Another fear I have is that i will get stranded abroad with no money or documents!!

Benji on 03 September, 2009

Making Dreams Happen

I can relate to the traveling fears outlined in this article, especially in relation to flying and sickness, but if we allow fear to stand in the way of a place that we really want to travel to, that fear is eventually going to transform into regret and unhappiness and put a damper on life. Considering how many people fly and travel a day, and the relatively small percentage that die / become ill / experience a frustration or inconvenience (well okay, the last one is probably a lot more common than the other two!), it is not worth it to let fear take charge of your life. I mean, every day, there is a chance you could be killed in your car, get food poising or experience frustrations or headaches, so you are not exactly introducing yourself to numerous new risks by traveling. Enjoy life! Nobody knows when death will visit, so try to get the most out of your life and go the places you want to go!

Nick Summers on 03 September, 2009

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