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5 Common Travel Fears and How to Overcome Them

I'll be the first to admit it—traveling can be scary. As a young woman who has visited 10+ countries in a little over 2 years, I've definitely had some fears in the back of my mind that I had to get over so that I could spend less time worrying and more time enjoying my trip.

Although I'm not claiming to be fearless, I have been able to learn some best practices that help keep my mind at ease when I'm on the go. Whether you're on a solo adventure or a group celebration, going across the world, or just a few miles down the road, these tips will come in handy for your next dérive.

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Fear #1: Safety

This is the most common concern I find amongst myself, my friends and family, and my clients. Traveling somewhere completely unfamiliar to you can surely be nerve-wracking. Instead of shopping for cute vacation outfits, you've found yourself down a rabbit hole on Google as you search every crime statistic in your destination of interest from the last century. Now, you've convinced yourself it's not even worth visiting and you're better off staying where you're comfortable... at home.

How to Overcome It:

I like to look at things this way: There aren't exactly things such as "dangerous" or "safe" countries. There are dangerous and safe areas in every country in the world, even in the United States or wherever your home base is. I'm not trying to convince you that crime doesn't exist or bad things don't happen in these places, I'm trying to let you know that crime and bad things happen almost EVERYWHERE. It is important to take the necessary safety precautions anytime you go out at all. The same way you shouldn't flash money around in public or be distracted when walking alone at night in your hometown is the same way you shouldn't do it when traveling. I'm sure you are exposed to news stories about tragic things happening in your local area (even if it's not frequent), but that doesn't stop you from going to the grocery store or spending a night out with friends. It is important to not stereotype an entire country based on the way the media portrays it.

All travelers must properly research a destination before they just up and leave. What languages are spoken in this country? What methods of transportation are available? What are common scams/tricks that tourists are affected by? Especially if you are traveling solo, it is extremely important to not do anything that would make you a more vulnerable target.

Fear #2: Language Barriers

Have you ever seen so many photos and videos of a beautiful country you'd like to visit, but you're a bit intimidated to go because you don't speak the language? Language barriers can make your travel experience more difficult. Asking for directions, ordering food, or even just making small talk can be a hassle. So, you end up not booking your stay because you don't know how you'll be able to communicate with anyone.

How to Overcome It:

I know it can seem difficult, but it's super helpful to learn at least a few key phrases in the native language of the country you're visiting before you take off. Not only is it respectful and courteous to the locals you interact with, but it will make your trip a whole lot easier! Even if your pronunciation isn't all the way perfect, I've found that people like that you're at least trying. It makes navigating your way around less complicated and is also a great way to immerse yourself in another culture! Remember, you are a visitor. It is not okay to assume that everyone should accommodate your needs (AKA speak fluent English) when you are exploring their home—not the other way around. Free tools like Duolingo or YouTube are great starting points.

Here are some basic phrases that you should learn before you arrive:

  • Greetings: Hello; Good morning/afternoon/evening; How are you?

  • Please/Thank you

  • Yes/No

  • I'm sorry/I apologize

  • Excuse me

  • How much does it cost?

  • Where is the bathroom?

  • I need help

  • Numbers 1-10

Fear #3: Uncontrollable Factors (ex. flight delays, natural disasters, luggage loss)

It's true, sometimes things go wrong during your trip that you simply cannot control. Flights may get delayed or canceled. A major storm may arrive and completely ruin your vacation plans. Airlines may accidentally misplace your luggage while in transport. You might even get sick or hurt while on your trip and need immediate medical attention. Moments like these are when it's important to not freak out, take a breath, and most importantly, focus on what you can do about the situation—not what you can't.

How to Overcome It:

One way to ensure at least some peace in case something like this happens is to purchase travel insurance. An option I like is Faye travel insurance. Travel insurance helps you stay covered for the unknown in the event there are any cancellations or modifications to your original travel plans.

Additionally, always make sure to not pack any valuables in your checked luggage. If you absolutely do not want to take any chance of losing it, pack it in your carry-on or leave it at home. I also always make sure to place an AirTag in my checked luggage so that I can always track its location from my phone.

When it comes to weather, the best you can do is plan your trip around a timeframe where major storms are unlikely. While weather is uncontrollable at the end of the day, there are still ways to avoid trip-ruining storms as best you can. For instance, you may want to avoid the Caribbean during hurricane season and southeast Asia during monsoon season if you're not a fan of high rainfall probabilities.

Fear #4: Being Away From Loved Ones/Getting Homesick

Something that many people don't talk about is the fact that traveling can get lonely sometimes. Not even just for solo travelers—couples may miss the kids they left at home, friend groups might miss their families, and some people might just miss their dogs. I think this feeling stems from two places: one being the actual love they have for the people they left behind, causing them to greatly miss them, and the other being the fear of exploring a new place without them. You can't always take all your friends and family with you when you travel which is a fear within itself. It's all so new and unfamiliar.

How to Overcome It:

The hard truth is that in life, you're just going to have to do things on your own sometimes. It sounds cliche, but I know so many people who don't travel solely because they don't have a bunch of other people to tag along. I always like to remind people that the longer they wait for others to be ready to travel at the same time that they are, the more likely they are to not go anywhere at all. Absence makes the heart grow fonder... right? You'll return!

My advice is to start small. Do a weekend trip to somewhere close by, maybe somewhere that's driving distance. Once you conquer domestic travel, you'll feel more prepared to take that international trip. Take some time to practice being in a new city without all the familiar faces. That doesn't mean you have to completely shut them out, though! FaceTime and phone calls are great so that you can keep in touch with your loved ones back home whenever you're feeling a bit lonely. Maybe pack some photos with you or any other special items that make you feel like they are there with you.

Fear #5: Not Knowing What to Do/Inadequate Planning

There's nothing worse than arriving at a destination that you probably spent a ton of money in order to visit, and then having absolutely no idea what to do. You spend more time trying to figure out where to eat or where to go out at night and so much of your vacation time is wasted due to lack of preparation beforehand. I get it—not everyone is fond of an extremely detailed itinerary, but you should still do at least some minimal research before going on a trip based entirely on "vibes."

How to Overcome It:

If you're not the planning type, connecting with a travel advisor is a great way to put most of the trip-organizing responsibilities onto someone else. Travel advisors are experts on all things travel from booking hotels, planning activities, and conducting research. Am I biased since I am one? Maybe just a little. But seriously, we help a lot so that those weights can be lifted off of your shoulders. When my clients book my research and planning services along with allowing me to book their accommodations, they're able to just pay and show up. I love that for them.

That wraps up many of the common fears I notice people have about traveling. Let's work on getting rid of those. Happy Spooky Season :)


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