It is natural to have some worries about leaving your well known life behind and stepping out of your comfort zone to travel the world. Let me tell you right up front thought that the benefits far outweigh those fears and everyone should give it a try.
I have researched 10 of the most common fears related to travel and offer you some great words of wisdom below of what you can do to overcome them and why they should not keep you from traveling:
Not having enough money
Most people think that traveling is always expensive and only wealthy people can afford to travel. Well let me tell you right away you are wrong. With a little bit of planning and organization, it is certainly possible to travel on a budget that won’t burden your wallet.
Yes, it may take some time to save up some money and some planning to find some cheap flights and a budget-friendly, but where there’s a will, there is a way!
Here are some helpful articles:
- 10 Expenses you can cut out of your Life to start saving for your next Trip
- Budget Travel: 14 Things you can do to save Money while you Travel
- 13 Things you can do to make extra Money while traveling
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While this is a valid fear and a possibility, especially if you travel to poorer countries with high crime rates, you can significantly decrease your chances of getting robbed by following a few simple rules:
- Do not show off valuable things, such as jewelry or electronics
- Take a cheap unlocked phone with you, you are better off leaving your Iphone at home or selling it before you leave
- Leave your luggage/backpack with valuables in the hostel or hotel room (in general, at your accommodation) – yes, there is still a small chance that someone may break in your room, but it is much safer there and you can purchase some travel insurance that would cover your valuables if they were stolen. When looking for accommodation, avoid places that look unsafe and pay the extra dollar for a safer place.
- Don’t ever flash money in front of others – if you carry a lot of money, keep smaller amounts in different pockets or places of your clothing and when paying somewhere, try to take out only the amount necessary rather than taking out a bundle of cash and counting however much you need in front of everyone.
Not liking the food
Not liking the food in a country that has a different style of cooking and/or preparing food as well as different customs in what is acceptable or normal to eat, it is not unlikely to happen that you will at some point not like something. However, remember that all across the world, there are certain basic foods that are consumed (such as rice or noodles), so at worst you may encounter more of a basic diet that may get boring after while, but you won’t starve anywhere.
Trying different food is part of the experience of traveling to different countries and getting to know different cultures, so you should definitely be open-minded to try new things. But always be careful and try to limit the amount of street food you consume as it is more likely to upset your stomach or cause food poisoning. Always carry Pepto-Bismol and Tums with you just in case.
Apart from food, you should also be careful with the water you drink, especially in third world countries, where drinking water is sometimes not safe for us to consume out of the faucet. Your safest option is to only drink bottled water (that has the plastic seal on it) and cook with boiled water. You can also purchase water purification tablets or a water filter straw relatively inexpensive and take them along to remote area where you may not be always able to boil your water or buy bottled water from the store.
One thought that crosses all of our minds at some point probably is the chance of getting sick in foreign country, far from anything we know, and not having access to the healthcare we are used to at home. And the longer you travels will be, the higher the chance that this may happen at some point will grow. In this regard, all you can really do is try to prevent that happening… if you travel to a high-risk area for Malaria, spend the extra money to get anti-malarial medicine before you leave, because in the end, it can mean the difference between getting infected or not.
Furthermore, always take the basics with you to be able to treat minor things yourself and not have to get caught up in another country to try and find a pharmacy or a clinic for a rather simple thing:
- Overt-the-counter pain medicine (such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Aspirin)
- Anti diarrheal medicine (it would be great if you got an antibiotic from your doctor, but if not you can also opt in for one of the over-the-counter options)
- A complete first aid kit with band aids, bandage, tweezers, scissors, gloves, and all of these goodies – make sure you pick one that is light weight and compact like this one
- A small supply of anti-motion sickness medicine
- Digital thermometer
- Anti-itch cream (recommended: Benadryl)
- Allergy medicine (make sure you get the non-drowsy kind)
- Antibiotic ointment (recommended: Neosporin)
- Cold Medicine, including cough suppressant, cough drops, decongestant
Always carry sunscreen with you as well as insect repellent.
I am sure there are moments in life where we all feel lonely, and that would be no different while travelling. However, if you are not comfortable with the thought of travelling alone, whether it is short- or long-term, why not ask a friend or a family member? Tip: Before you just ask someone whether they’d be interested in joining you, 1) think about whether you would want to spend a lot of time with that person, because just as it can get uncomfortable to travel solo, it can also come to the point where you are annoyed by being around another person for a long time, and 2) prepare a tentative plan and timeline of when you were planning on going, for how long, and where. These factors are a major factor in someone’s decision.
If you are not able to find anyone to come along with you, consider joining a group travel option [G Adventures on CJ].
Finally, if you cannot find anyone to travel with you nor a group travel option that will fit your plans, timeline, and places you want to visit, remember that while traveling solo, you will get to meet other solo travelers as well as locals. You may need to step out of your comfort zone and make the first move in an effort to connect, but trust me, it’ll be well worth it.
Scared of flying
The odds of being killed on a single airline flight on one of the 78 major world airlines is only 1 in 4.7 million, which is quite low. If you are extremely scared of flying to the point where you would not get on a plane even if it meant getting to some amazing places in the word, consider taking a ship (if your destination is overseas) or a train (if it is accessible by ground transportation). Michael at GoSeeWrite traveled the world for 16 months without ever boarding a plane and has a fantastic blog and some great resources you should check out if you are considering this option.
Dealing with language barriers
If you travel to different countries that speak a different language (that you do not speak), you are bound to run into some language barriers. This can be very frustrating at times, but it’s something that every traveler will experience at some point. The best way to deal with the situation to have the right expectations in the first place and travel with an open mind; obviously it would also help if you got familiar with the basics of the language and carried a translator book or have a translation app on your phone that will help you through these situations. Remember to keep calm and travel on!
Depending on where you currently live, how much you have traveled and seen of the world before, and where you are going, it is likely that you may experience a culture shock. One thing that you can do to minimize a culture shock is to educate yourself about the country, the culture, and your specific destination prior to traveling there. That helps set the expectations right for your upcoming trip and reduces the chances of having an actual culture “shock”.
First of all, let me tell you that you should not be afraid of getting lost in the first place. Most of the time, this only helps you discover more of the city, culture, and country you are visiting. If you really do get lost, stay calm and approach locals to ask for help. Always remember to carry a paper on you with the address of your local accommodation, whether it’s a hostel, hotel, or vacation rental.
It is always a good idea to buy a map that you can navigate with if you do get lost. But like I mentioned before, in situations where you feel lost – stay calm and just appreciate the experience, discover new parts of the location, and ask locals if necessary – I have never had someone deny me help when asking for directions, and you will probably not either.
A rare disaster
Yes, technically it is possible that you will travel to a country and a tsunami will strike or a terrorist will happen, but it is highly unlikely. However, having said that, if you know you are traveling to an area of risk or a country that is currently experiencing riots, or you are planning on backpacking through the Amazon jungle for a week, I would highly recommend you bring a Grab-‘n-Go Emergency Kit, which essentially has everything you need to survive for 3 days for two people. Remember that you have no control over some things that can or will happen and you can do only so much to prepare for these rare situations. Like I mentioned before, unless you are traveling to a high-risk area, there is no need to worry to an extent that it will lead you not to travel.
What are some things that you fear when you think about traveling? And what are some things holding you back from traveling?
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