Recent fears of visiting Mexico because of the swine flu outbreak inspire a much larger question: What should we be afraid of when we travel? And are the phobias justified? Here's a look at five other common travel fears:
1. FEAR OF FLYING It's the most common travel-related anxiety. Odds of being killed in a plane crash are said to be 1 in 11 million, but travelers aren't convinced. "While fear of flying makes some sense . . . you are much safer in a plane than you are a car, or even walking," says psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, author of the upcoming book, "The Happiness Prescription."
BOTTOM LINE You're likelier to drown in your bathtub.
2. FEAR OF BEING AWAY That's the second-biggest phobia travelers suffer from, according to Bryan Toder, a hypnotherapist based in Lafayette Hill, Pa. "It's the fear of being away from home. Being away from kids, pets, the job, creates lots of stress."
BOTTOM LINE This one's legit.
3. FEAR OF ILLNESS Swine flu is one of many infectious diseases that can sicken travelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a comprehensive list. It's nothing to sneeze at, especially for travelers like Pablo Solomon, a Texas-based artist. "We carry hand wipes and wash our hands and walk out of restaurants that look dirty," he says.
BOTTOM LINE Swine flu fears may be overblown, but some other infectious diseases are no joke. Get your shots.
4. FEAR OF A BAD FLIGHT Beverly Hills-based psychiatrist Carole Lieberman says, "I'm annoyed that traveling has become such a hassle," citing security lines, bad food and delayed flights. The U.S. Travel Association last year released a survey that found travelers avoided 41 million trips at a cost of about $26 billion to the economy.
BOTTOM LINE Be afraid. Be very afraid.
5. FEAR OF LOSING YOUR LUGGAGE According to the Transportation Department, there's a 1 in 285 chance of your luggage getting lost. Some airlines, like AirTran, track bags using scanning technology, dropping the average closer to 1 in 500. Regional carriers like American Eagle, Atlantic Southeast and SkyWest run at twice the industry average.
BOTTOM LINE If you're flying on a regional carrier, you might want to pack light.