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5 Travel Fears And How To Overcome Them

Don't stress about making the perfect choice (I'm so guilty of this!) or getting through every single thing the town has to offer, instead just pick something off your list each day and give it a go.
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Two young people together planning trip to Europe. Top view. empty white space in notebook where you can place your text or advertisement. Romantic travel
Two young people together planning trip to Europe. Top view. empty white space in notebook where you can place your text or advertisement. Romantic travel

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned traveller, one thing we all have in common is that we all have travel fears. And rightfully so. Day in and day out we are bombarded with news and images about just how scary the world can be.

This constant flood of stories of mass shooting here, terrorist attack there and one in a million freak accident somewhere else subtly morphs our views on the world around us. The good news is that there's also a world of wonder out there and it is very possible to overcome these fears so that we can experience all the goodness that travel has to offer.

Today's post is all about travel fears and how to overcome them so that you don't spend your life hiding away in a corner like Howie in The Benchwarmers... I mean, yes he was funny but I would never want you guys to end up like that! If you agree, disagree or have a travel fear that I missed, please share your thoughts below.

Fear of language barriers

It's plain scary to think of visiting somewhere and not being able to communicate with anyone. How on Earth are you going to get around, buy food, understand signs and ask the important questions?

How to overcome:

Learn as much as you can before your trip. At the very very very very least, learn how to say 'hello', 'goodbye' and 'thank you' in the language of the host country and use them when you talk. People are more inclined to help if you make an effort.

There's no need for you to be fluent in the language in order to visit, remember that most visitors aren't either so don't put that pressure on yourself. As long as you get some basic phrases under your belt you will get by. If you will be driving though, you should definitely learn some traffic words before your trip.

My other tip is to use a translator app. I have been using this one since moving to Italy. To be honest I don't need it all the time because I can get by for the most part with my awkward charades slash sign language thing I have going on. But, in those situations where this doesn't work (usually when shopping or reading signs) I turn to my app and have found it incredibly helpful.

Fear of disaster

What if the plane crashes? What if there is a terrorist attack? What if I get sick or injured? What if I get mugged? A lot of people are scared to travel because of the possibility of these type of big scale (and unlikely) disasters.

How to overcome:

This one is pretty common and I'm sure we have all thought or heard someone talk about this travel fear before right? I always think that if you drive a car each day then you're already doing one of the most dangerous things you can do so why not do something a little less dangerous like traveling?

These fears can be overcome with logical thinking. I think one thing to remember is that these risks are in your everyday life too, so traveling doesn't necessarily make you more likely to encounter them. It just seems scarier because of the unfamiliar surroundings. To overcome these fears, treat them as the risks you encounter in everyday life but still manage to live with.

It's wise to be smart and check the travel warnings before your trip to make sure there are no high risk security or environmental advisories out for the country you will be visiting. I'm Australian so I check mine and register my travel at Smart Traveller but you may need to check one relevant to the country you are from.

Fear of wasting money

Most of us aren't super rich and able to go on a holiday on a whim. So we have probably spent time saving up for this trip and it might even be the only time we get to see this place that we visit so it's hard to know where to invest your tourist dollars. If you only have this one chance you don't want to waste it right?

How to overcome:

This one all comes down to researching and taking a risk. After you pick the place you want to visit, start looking into the things to do in the area and be specific in your research to narrow it down. For example 'top nature activities', 'best nightlife' or 'top cultural activities' and then make your list from there. For me, blogs (like mine obviously) are a great resource in this area because you can get a lot of insider information with real life experiences and for the same reason I also like TripAdvisor.

You're probably going to find a lot to do, so as you research, make a list of the things that looked the most appealing and once you are on your holiday, just pick something(s) off the list each day and go do it.

Don't stress about making the perfect choice (I'm so guilty of this!) or getting through every single thing the town has to offer, instead just pick something off your list each day and give it a go. Worst case scenario is that you might go on an activity that you don't love and you know what, that's not that bad. You'll still have a travel experience and stories to tell no matter what.

Fear of new places

In a new place how are you meant to know which are the best areas to spend time in and which are the safest?

How to overcome:

Just like with the fear of wasting money, this one can be overcome with some research on sites like blogs and TripAdvisor. This way you can get some of the insider knowledge on which places to avoid and which are must see.

When it comes to safety, I also think it is a good idea to ask the hotel staff (or someone else that lives and works there) about getting around the areas that you plan to visit. This has helped me get some good knowledge about how I can walk around towns avoiding the shady areas.

Fear of offending

Cultural differences are a beautiful thing but, in a world where everyone if offended by everything, we can be scared of these differences. What if we say something, wear something or do something that accidentally offends someone?

How to overcome:

Before you visit, do a little googling on the culture in case there are any big ticket things you need to know. You wouldn't want to get to Egypt for example and then find out that your tank tops and short shorts are inappropriate if that's all you had packed. So google for those big things prior (this is a good site to get you started).

Learning is all part of the travel experience and its one of the most rewarding elements of travel so be open to it. Let people teach you and make an effort to change your behavior while you are a guest in the town. It also helps to make genuine connections with people while you travel. For example, when I moved to Italy I asked one of the hotel employees for all the cultural tips he had time to share with me. We covered the basics like what to wear, how to talk and general attitudes among other things. This was incredibly helpful for me as a newbie to the country because it was the firsthand, everyday life information that gave me a better understanding of my new home.

I have found that people can tell if you're making an effort and taking an interest and they are usually more than understanding and happy to help when that is the case.

Fear of the unknown

Most of these fears all boil down to an element of unknown. Something we don't know about and can't control.

How to overcome:

Research as much as you can so that you can have an enjoyable and safe trip, then embrace the unknown and be open to learning. Part of the beauty of travel is that we are exposed to many new experiences - - otherwise it would be no different than going to your local city and that wouldn't be as much of an adventure right? All we need to do is let go of our fears so that we can make the most out of our life and travel experiences.

What's your biggest travel fear?