Do you have hodophobia? Here’s how to manage it
“I HATE TRAVELING. If I could avoid having to get in a car, on a train, or a plane to go somewhere far-ish, I would,” Terence Fang, a 33-year-old investment banker from Singapore told Travel Wire Asia.
Terence was traveling for the weekend to attend a friend’s wedding in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He had taken a short one-hour flight to be there, and he would need to take another one-hour flight back. But as he said, he’s not a fan of traveling.
He has a condition called hodophobia.
What is hodophobia?
“Hodophobia is the irrational and intense fear of travel. It is a personalized phobia – some people may fear going a certain distance away from their house, others may fear certain types of transportation – planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel (although fear of flying is separate than hodophobia),” Health Central explained.
Avid travelers may not have it, but someone they’re planning to travel with may shiver in fear at the mere thought of it. And it can be manifested by a score of other phobias.
If you know someone who has it, here’s how you can help them manage it:
Also known as the fear of flying, aerophobia or aviophobia can result in severe anxiety, headaches, breaking out in cold sweat, and at times can even reduce a person to tears.
“Nothing is worse than having to sit there all buckled in and wait out turbulence,” Fang explained. “Especially if you’re on a long-haul flight and you know you have a long way more to go.”
To manage this phobia, learn about airplanes and how they’re designed to handle turbulence.
If need be, print out informative articles that you can read and help you relax. Keep it with you at all times during the flight.
And of course, keep taking deep breaths. Focus on controlling your anxiety and telling yourself that it’ll pass.
Similarly, the fear of being in an enclosed space can make car, train, or air travel extremely uncomfortable.
Just the idea of being cooped up in a confined area can make your upcoming trip fraught with anxiety rather than excitement or anticipation.
“I often feel suffocated when I’m in a small space for too long, with nowhere else to go. It’s a real mental test, but physically, it’s a pain as well because long-haul flights give me swollen legs and feet,” Fang admitted.
Take short breaks at rest stops when traveling a long distance in a car. When on a train or a plane, opt for a window seat so that it won’t feel as suffocating.
And whenever possible, get up and take a walk. Perhaps head to the washroom to freshen up or get a bottle of water from the cabin crew at the galley.
A little bit goes a long way.
“I don’t travel solo if I can help it. It’s hard when I need to go for business meetings,” Fang said.
The fear of being alone makes for stressful, lonely travels and is not easy to overcome. But there are ways to ease that fear.
As long as you’re not traveling to a war-torn country, it’s likely that you’ll be safe.
Find out everything you can about your destination, ensure that you have a schedule filled out with everything you need and want to do, have a music playlist handy of all your favourite tunes to keep you company, and make staying connected a priority so that you can talk to your closest and dearest at any time.
Do activities that you can alone such as visiting a library or a museum. Have conversations with locals at restaurants, cafes, or even the sales assistant attending to you at the store.
Make some new friends on your trip and who knows? Maybe you’ll have an adventure after all.