The internet can be a scary black hole of negativity. If you ever start reading a negative message board, STOP. Bad experiences happen, but so do good ones and usually the good outweigh the bad. I live in NYC and if I read every negative message board, I would never leave my apartment. Here are few common travel fears and how to conquer them.
Fear of being pickpocketed
I have visited two of the most pickpocketed cities in the world. I traveled through Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and Rome, Italy and (knock on wood) held onto my wallet. Being conscious of your surroundings and always knowing what you are carrying and where, are usually enough to keep your belongings safe. If you are really nervous, choosing a crossbody bag is most secure. It allows you to use both your hands and not have to put your bag down while looking through it or taking photos. Make sure the bag has a zipper, and if you want to be even more secure, I find using a binder clip ring to clip the zipper end to my bags handle makes it harder to unzip without being too noticeable. And lastly, keep the numbers for your credit card companies in a safe place, so you can call them right away if something does get taken or lost.
Fear of losing your passport
There are multiple schools of thought on this and I would say this depends on your level of travel. If I am staying in a nicer hotel I usually feel comfortable leaving my passport locked up in the safe in the hotel, but if I’m going more budget then I opt to carry my passport with me. You can keep in a money belt worn under your shirt for more security. I’ve worn them under fitted dresses without it being noticeable at all. Otherwise keep it in a secure pocket in your purse. Also, make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate from you so if you do lose it, it is easier to get a new one from the nearest embassy.
Fear of not knowing the language
It can be daunting to land somewhere and not know what anything says or means. I can usually find someone who speaks enough English to get around but learning the basics of hello, goodbye and thank you can get your pretty far. In places like airports and train stations, the signs are often in English as well as the local language and there are usually lots of international speakers in those places willing to help you out. If you are a newbie traveler and are really nervous, there are plenty of places you can travel to where English is the first language, or you can travel with a tour that has a guide that will translate between the languages for you.
Fear of getting lost
With the advent of the little blue dot in Google maps, getting lost has become less of a worry. You can pick up a prepaid SIM card in most airports or train stations and use your data while you are traveling. If you don’t have data service you can always download a preloaded maps app like City Maps 2Go and map your route on wifi before you leave. If you do get lost I find most people are usually more than willing to help me find my way or direct me towards a sight or building that I am familiar with.
Fear of getting hurt
If you travel outside the country your health insurance won’t work and not knowing the costs of medical care in other countries can be scary. Travel insurance not only insures things like your flight or hotel costs but it also will cover any medical emergencies you have while traveling. Many companies also have extra benefits like a customer service line to help you find medical care wherever you are traveling. Shop around insurance companies and find the plan that covers what will make you feel more comfortable. If you have any special medical conditions take some time before you leave to research the nearest available medical facility and/or doctor that will be able to help you so you know who to go to right away if you need care while you are traveling.
The fear of missing out. No matter how much reading, planning or excel sheet making you do, you cannot possibly do everything everywhere. When I travel, I like to divide things into 3 categories: must-see, would be nice to see, and wouldn’t care if I missed it. It’s better to see or do a few things really well then spend your time rushing around. You might be seeing the most important church but you might miss the most beautiful painting that was in it because you were rushing through it. There are always things you are going to miss and if it is that important to see it, you can come back one day.
Fear of the unknown
Having a little fear is a good thing; you are growing by facing it. You never know what’s going to happen while you are traveling and things will never be exactly how you imagine they will be. Go with it, when you come out on the other side with an amazing travel experience, you’ll wonder why you were ever scared in the first place.
Do you have any other advice on how to conquer your travel fears?