Fear of travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel – Hodophobia

Hodophobia is the irrational fear that a person experiences of traveling. Hodophobia is also known as travel phobia or fear of travel. Hodophobia is a specific phobia. These phobia has been studied by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud, confessed in a number of letters that he suffered from fear of travel. He used the term “Reiseangst” for it, which means “travel anxiety” or “fear of travel” in the German language. This phobia manifests itself in numerous ways on different people. Some might have some sort of hesitancy towards travel in general, all the way to a inability of leaving home. Other people on contrary are not afraid of travel generally but lean towards being afraid only of specific methods of transportation, such as planes or trains, while others fear being a passenger on all types of trips. – So for some might be better if they were the one in charge.

Coping with Hodophobia, fear of travel

If you believe you have hodophobia, there are some things you can do to control it.

  1. Planning travel routes beforehand. – This way you know before embarking on a trip what you are going to do, which path you will follow, and any thing else that might come up. This will certainly help you relief some pre trip stress you might have and help with easing your anxiety.
  2. Taking a friend with you on your trip. – The idea of having someone with you, a familiar face really helps you stay more calm. So whatever happens you know you have someone whom you trust and everything will seem much easier on the road. Plus you don’t get bored.
  3. Avoid the usage of drugs and alcohol. – It might seem a good idea to sleep through your flight by sipping some wine or vodka or popping pills that make you sleep. But its is not. You should always check in with your physician before taking any of those.
  4. Due diligence. – Having done your due diligence means you know what to expect. Research where you will be staying, and where you are going so you always know what to expect and prepare yourself emotionally.

Hodophobia Symptoms

Phobias should never be taken very lightly. Because, all phobias can to some degree limit a persons daily activities and are in some cases the root cause that make someone experience anxiety and leading up all the way to depression.

The People that are suffering from phobias, are most of the times purposely avoid coming into contact with what it is that triggers them to experience fear or anxiety. For example people that suffer from Hodophobia, which is a specific phobia, try to avoid not only the exact objects or situations that trigger it but sometimes in severe cases the thought of those thing all together.

There have been a lot of cases in which an individual has develop a phobia from travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel where they become fearful of experiencing anxiety itself because it would make them feel very uncomfortable.

Fear of road travel

A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a situation exposed to travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel to experience Hodophobia. The brain doesn’t have to be in that situation to experience the symptoms of panic. A persons brain is capable of creating a reaction to fearsome situations even when the subject is not actually in that situation.

People are different and so are all the types of phobias someone might suffer from. So the symptoms also vary strongly on the severity in which an individual is experiencing these fears. But generally speaking, specific phobias and fears such as Hodophobia fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Meaning that a person can experience any if not all of the below mentioned physical and/or psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

People with fear of travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel often experience panic attacks. These panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing for the person suffering from those. These symptoms most of the time happen suddenly and without any prior signs or warnings. No matter how overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause real physical symptoms, such as but not limited to the ones below:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation
  • tightness in the chest/chest pain and difficulty breathing
  • rise in blood pressure

Psychological Symptoms Hodophobia

In some very severe cases, a person suffering a panic attack triggered from Hodophobia. Usually when exposed to its triggers such as travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel. Can have one/or all of the following symptoms.

  • fear of losing control
  • feelings of dread
  • fear of harm or illness
  • confusion

On some very special cases, there may be people experiencing intertwined phobias. Or what may be called complex phobias. These can often have a detrimental effect on a person’s everyday life and mental wellbeing. Because they may limit someones life so much that they become uncap-able of leading a normal personal and social life. Hence triggering a chain reaction of the above mentioned symptoms and lastly depression.

Treatment of Hodophobia

For many individual who are suffering from travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel – Hodophobia. Don’t always feel the need of treatment because they can just avoid the object of their fear. This gives people suffering from Hodophobia a feeling of control on the problem. But sometimes avoiding travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel might not be possible or enough.

It is important for someone to always seek professional help when possible. This way you don’t lose time and do a better job and understanding what is happening. With understanding you can next move on to overcoming your fear of travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel.

While most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment available for all of them, or guaranteed to work. It strongly depends on the person suffering and severity in which that person is experiencing Hodophobia. There are cases that a combination of treatments might be more effective.

Please be advised that you should not take treatment on your own! Always consult with a doctor before hand. The treatments mentioned below are for informational purposes and not specific to Hodophobia. The treatments below are used on most phobia cases.

Talking Treatments for Hodophobia

Talking treatments or talking therapies, which include counselling, might be very effective at treating fear of travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel or Hodophobia. Talking therapies are very laid back treatments and physically non intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. There are many different types of talking therapy, but they all aim to:

  • help you recognise unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them (if you want to).
  • help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
  • help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
  • give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who won’t judge you

Talking therapies are in most cases the same as counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, talking treatment. There is usually a very little difference between what’s meant when talking about any of these.

(CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy

CBT treatments stand on the concept that what we thing and perceive are constantly influencing our behaviour. Experiencing anxiety and distress are in some cases distorting and bending ones perception over reality. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to identify if they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.

For example when someone is experiencing Hodophobia. Through the help of Cognitive behavioural therapy you could identify if the fear and anxiety experienced from travel, planes, trains, boats, ships, road travel is an accurate depiction of reality. And if not working on ways to change that.


Medication should be never taken without asking a doctor first. In general medication is not recommended for overcoming phobias. Therapies have resulted to be a definitive way to overcome fears. However some types of medication are prescribe as short term solutions to the side effects of phobias. Which include anxiety or depression. There are three general types of medication recommended for treating anxieties.

  1. antidepressants
  2. tranquillisers
  3. beta-blockers

Other Sources

There is an academic article that talk about the fear of travel and flying of some famous historical characters such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Sigmund Freud on this page: Leonardo Da Vinci, Sigmund Freud, and Fear of Flying

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