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face your fears

how to face your fears across the world

Ready to face up to your fears and phobias? We’ve worked out the best places around the world to help you beat them once and for all. 

face your fears map


You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t afraid of something. We all feel the pressures and anxieties of day-to-day life. Phobias, however, are a very common type of anxiety. It’s estimated that around 10 million people in the UK have a phobia.

But, what exactly causes these fears? Although it’s believed certain phobias develop at childhood, usually after a frightening event. Some phobias could be hardwired into us.

It’s thought we have evolved to have a fear of insects, falling and loud noises, because they once and still could, harm us.

Knowing the cause of fears and phobias is all well and good, but it doesn’t stop us suffering from them. These anxieties can be restricting. Even a simple phobia like spiders could dampen travel plans – all those countries in the Pacific? Yeah, forget them.

But, if you are afraid of spiders, there could be a very valid reason. Research has found that infants react differently when viewing pictures of spiders versus flowers. Images of a spider causes more pupil dilation – indicative of a stress response. Suggesting we are born with these phobias.

So, how exactly do you crush your fears? By facing them – head-on. Facing your fears is at the core of what therapists’ call “exposure therapy”. And what better way to do it than by travelling across the world? By no means are we doctors here at tombola, but if you’ve ever felt like encountering your phobia in the craziest way possible, then we have the list for you.


new york snakes

snake massage in new york

“Ophidiophobia” – the fear of snakes is a common phobia in the UK and across the world but fear not. We may have the unexpected cure. Ever thought of receiving a nice soothing massage from snakes? Didn’t think so. But that’s exactly what you can do at a New York spa. The snake priestess who owns the business claims “They tone and stimulate the vagus nerve in our body and that releases endorphins and oxytocin – the feel-good hormones.” Sounds relaxing.

australia sharks

Cage Diving With Sharks

It’s safe to say that most of us are afraid of sharks. They are man’s most feared ocean predator. And what better way to get an adrenaline thrill than to see this beast face-to-face. Safely inside a cage, you will be dropped into the ocean and circled by these sea hunters.

Flying & Heights

hawaii helicopter

Fly Over An Active Volcano

Even though air travel is the safest mode of mass transportation, it doesn’t stop the fear of flying, or “aviophobia”. If air travel gives you serious anxiety, how about defeating it on a helicopter ride over an active volcano? Yes, you read that right, an active volcano. That’s not all. This exhilarating ride has no doors, meaning you are face-to-face with burning lava. They don’t call it the “hottest helicopter ride on earth” for nothing.  

chile volcano

Bounce Into An Active Volcano

If flying over a volcano is not enough for you, what about entering this lava machine? Don’t worry, you’ll be safely holstered back up again by the cords of a bungee. In Chile you can ride a helicopter over Villarrica Volcano (a live volcano) before jumping inside it. If you’re afraid of heights (acrophobic), this could be the adventure for you.

abu dhabi

Ride The Fastest Roller Coaster In The World

"Coasterphobia" – a fear of roller coasters isn’t an officially recognised phobia per se, but one many of us are afraid of, probably because it culminates fear of heights and speed into one. If you’re crippled by this fear, there’s always the fastest roller coaster in the world to conquer it. Located at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi is the ‘Formula Rossa’. This rapid ride reaches speeds of 149 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds.

Dark & Enclosed Spaces

uk caves

Go Caving in the Mendip Hills

Those who dread enclosed spaces otherwise known as "claustrophobia", may want to get a kick out of exploring the underground. Caving is a popular adventure in the UK, allowing you to see the world from a whole new perspective. Beneath the Mendip Hills in Somerset, is Britain’s biggest underground river system and a huge network of caves. Here you can climb in to the stream following striking passages and chambers.


Stargazing in the Sahara- The Darkest Place on Earth

Are You Afraid of the Dark? We’re not talking about the 90’s TV show. “nyctophobia” – fear of the dark is one that a lot of us suffer as children and can carry on to adulthood. To get over this fear you could try travelling to one of the darkest skies in the world. Stretching for 3,500,000 sq miles is the remote Sahara Desert. It’s a magnificent place to go stargazing. You’ll be able to discover some of the most spectacular views of the stars on Earth.

Thunder and Lightning


Everlasting Lightning Storm in Venezuela – The Most Electric Place on Earth

Ever heard of the saying “lightning never strikes the same place twice”? Well bad news for those that suffer from “astraphobia” (fear of thunder and lightning), because there’s a place in Venezuela where it’s simply not true. Lake Maracaibo is home to an atmospheric phenomenon, where at some points lightning can strike up to 280 times per hour. So, if you feel like getting over your fear of lightning or just fancy seeing the most electric place on earth, this is the place for you.

If you’re one of the 10 million Brits with a phobia, you’re not alone. Find out more about our recent research into what Brits are most afraid of.