Travel Fears and How to Deal with Them
As every activity that takes you out of your daily routine, traveling is scary. We get it, even experienced travelers are also afraid sometimes! Let us help you deal with your fears before you miss your next travel opportunity!
Fear of not being able to cope
Traveling can be overwhelming. If you are the kind of person that likes to have everything under control, it can drive you crazy. Buses are late, people don’t show up and the weather never cooperates. The trick to not let it spoil your trip is to prepare for everything beforehand and relax and enjoy the situation as it’s unfolding.
Take the bus for example: you have no means of making it go faster, so it’s no use worrying. But you know buses can be late, so you have some snacks and a book and you have your hotel’s phone to call them and tell them you’re late. Not to mention that you set out in advance and don’t have any short connections. Not so difficult to keep it calm now, eh? You’re not less adapted than thousands of control freaks traveling the world every day without driving themselves crazy. You’ll cope too.
Fear for your safety
It’s a legit fear and one you should listen to if you don’t want to end up in a bad situation. The problem is that for many people this fear blocks all their wish to travel. TV and the Internet pamper us with scary stories from all over the world and we can’t help but decide that it’s safer to stay home. The truth is however that unless you go to a war zone, you’re as safe on the road as you are at home. The proverbial rock can fall on your head everywhere. In reality, you might even be safer as a tourist, because, in many countries where tourists are the main source of income, the police really watch over them. After all, one bad story can ruin their whole economy.
Apart from rationalizing, you should also take care of yourself and prepare for emergencies. Buy good travel insurance that will cover theft and any illnesses. Assemble a good medical kit and dress casually to not look like a valuable target. Ladies have more to fear than the gents, so we have a special set of safety tips for them. If you feel like you’re protected should the worst happen, your fear will leave you be.
Fear of feeling lost
Imagine your phone died, you’re in a desert, there’s no water around. That’s it, you’re never coming back home. Really though, how likely are you to end up in a situation like this? Any time you’re confused and have no idea what to do there are your favorite travel apps, information booths, police and just people around! You’ll be surprised how many of them will gladly help a confused foreigner. Besides, the more you travel, the less you have that feeling of having no idea what to do. You become the cold-headed expert in every situation and other lost tourists start looking up to you. You’ll get there, and faster than you think.
Fear of communication failure
It’s very distressing and inconvenient that people all over the world don’t speak your language. Because, of course, this means that you’ll have to communicate in English or other common languages and not all of us are polyglots. Even if you’ve studied English and can read the news and watch series with subtitles, it doesn’t mean that you are comfortable speaking it. And the fear of sounding stupid makes you forget even the words that you know very well.
If you’re fearing not being understood, the best you can do is just relax. So what if you don’t know how to say something? You can always point, draw or mime it. Or you can look up how to say something. If you attempt it with a smile on your face, people will patiently try to understand you and help you! A lot of people go around the world armed with just a couple of phrases and a positive attitude, and they manage beautifully! Besides, the real need to communicate will activate your language skills, and you’ll return the best student in your English class!
The fear of missing out is the greatest neurosis of the Internet age. We have this anxiety that every epic party, concert or friend’s life event will happen while we’re away and everyone will see us as losers until the end of times. But instead of sulking over the latest pictures of your friends in silly hats, drinks in hands, on Facebook, look around! You’re somewhere awesome, where most of them will never get and can’t even imagine! Don’t miss out on this unique moment, live it through instead of worrying you’re missing other epic moments. And then, of course, post your memories online so that others can envy you and worry how much traveling they are missing out on in their lives :)
Fear of loneliness
This is a major one for those who are brave enough to venture out alone. The thought of exploring new places by yourself, without anybody to share your experiences with, is terrifying to all who are not complete introverts. However, it’s simply not true that you will be alone! Everywhere you go there are other fellow tourists and friendly locals, and most of them are more than happy to strike up a conversation if you approach them smiling. The best places to meet travelers on the road are trains/buses and hostels. You are both exploring the same destination – what more reason do you need to do it together? Traveling alone can be awesome, and loneliness is not a big issue at all!
Fear of spoiling your relationships
Ideal travel companions exist, but you have to be really lucky to have a perfect team. Traveling can be physically and emotionally exhausting, and when people are stressed, they tend to not be at their best. If you go traveling in a company of friends or with your significant other, the main rules are kindness, patience, and compromise. It’s OK not to want the same things or feeling differently, the trick is not to let it spoil your joint experience. Agreeing to spend some time apart doing different stuff is also totally fine and have saved numerous trips from becoming a murder on an orient express.
Fear of losing connection with people at home
People who travel and people who don’t should be considered different species. Your relatives and friends may tell you that they don’t understand why you have to go away all the time, they may blame you for running away from “real life” and shunning responsibilities. Even the most accepting friends will have little to talk to you about if you want to share your experiences partying on Fiji, and they are having a baby. This is sad but inevitable. People grow apart all the time, even if they lead very similar lives, so don’t try to fit the mold just for the purpose of retaining your old friendships. The most important ones will stand through this test and continue supporting you, as for the rest… You’ll retain good memories of them and replace them with more awesome friendships you find on the road.
Fear of change
You go on your trip yourself but you can’t know who will come back. Experiences change people, and you will inevitably be changed. Maybe you’ll become a diver or a lesbian or you’ll want to live in Uganda for the rest of your life. Or maybe nothing will change and you’ll get back to your everyday life exactly the same as before. That’s scary too. The way to battle the fear is to embrace it. Let the new you emerge and welcome her with love and curiosity. Change is life, so go and live an exciting one!