Updated: Apr 5, 2019
Once you’ve eliminated, or at least reduced your fears, what you are left with are excuses.
In our pursuit of lifestyle improvement, it may require one to do things and go places, you otherwise may not have.
This may cause some trepidation, in even the most hardy. For those amongst us who have legitimate, deep-seated fears regarding any type of travel, domestic or otherwise, you probably need the assistance of a trained professional. No internet articles in the world can help you with that.
That is of course understandable, but for the rest of us, there is something you can do about it.
So I’ve come up with a list of the 10 biggest reasons most travelers will have, and ways to overcome them:
1. No One To Go With
This one is first because this is most peoples’ main reason for not traveling. To get around that, research the heck out of your destination. Where to go, what to do, attractions, etc. That helps you alleviate the unknown, thereby making it less scary for you to go alone. Book lots of local tours. This will group you with other travelers, most of whom will probably speak some English. Be friendly and approachable, and you’ll soon find yourself invited to hang out for meals, unplanned excursions and other meet-ups.
Finally, look into joining a local travel group. Ask for recommendations from others who travel or do an internet or Facebook search. There are tons of groups out there, with different types of itinerary goals and dynamics. All female, football lovers, couples, single men, Fraternity, and so on. The group doesn’t need to be near you, in fact, most group members are dispersed all over the Country. They plan trips via Facebook or other media, and usually have regular meet and greets. Join one or two of those and you’ll soon wonder what took you so long.
2. Language Or Culture Barrier
This is the second biggest reason I’ve heard, and this one is probably the easiest to get around. If you think this will be a problem for you, then your first trips should be to places that have a similar culture or primarily speak English. That would be most of the U.S. territories, most of the Caribbean, a couple of places in Central and South
America, Europe and Oceania. Do a search and you’d be surprised.
Don’t want to be limited, then my favorite go to is a language translator app.
There are a few, and most are free, so you need to do a bit of research to find one you’re most comfortable with. Most importantly, make sure it allows for off-line translation. You usually need to download the target language first. It helps to also have a few translated common sentences already on hand.
Pro tip* Get familiar with the app BEFORE you take your trip. You want to make sure that the translations are locally accurate and the app allows translations to be spoken and written. You also may need to translate things like street signs and menus, using the camera feature.
If you truly have a flying phobia, you should seek therapy and get it diagnosed, so you can get the proper help you need. Barring that, there are alternative forms of travel, such as cruising and sailing, trains, RV road trips and other methods. For a more in depth discussion on those, see my article here.
4. Too Dangerous
I’ll be the first to admit, there are countries, or areas within countries, that may be too risky to venture. The threat of robbery, kidnapping, assault or political unrest does exist.
Do you want to know how to best avoid that?
DON’T GO TO AREAS WHERE IT IS PREVALENT!
You don’t have to stay cowering on a resort, just use common sense. Check for travel alerts, U.S. State Department warnings and travel blog postings about your target destination. Search for areas that are safe for visitors, and only book your hotel, hostel or rental in those areas. This isn’t the time to try and go cheap. Safety first, then you can get more adventurous after you’ve had more experience.
5. Caught In A Natural Disaster
The most predictable, and thereby easiest to avoid, are Hurricanes and Typhoons.
These phenomena have a season, so simply don’t visit areas prone to them during that season. That includes cruises.
Things like volcanoes are also somewhat predictable. If you are visiting an area that has an active volcano, no matter the last time it actually erupted, be forewarned.
Floods and mudslides are usually precipitated by heavy rains, but other things like earthquakes or tsunamis can be totally unpredictable. However, there is a portion of the planet, called the Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes and volcanoes, and subsequently tsunamis, are prevalent. This area can also be avoided if that is a big concern.
Always check State Department and other sources for relevant alerts, and you can purchase travel insurance for more peace of mind. If you do, make sure it covers trip cancellation, trip delay, accident, injury and illness.
Notify contacts NOT traveling with you, of your plans, in case the worst does happen.
6. Getting Sick Or Injured
We’ve covered trip insurance, but that only helps after the fact. Lets focus on prevention. The most common illness is gastric. Stomach issues. Unless you are in a fully developed country, stick to bottled water, even to brush your teeth. When it comes to ice cubes, if in doubt, drink without them, that includes mixed alcoholic drinks.
When not eating at your hotel or hostel, try and stick to populated places. Not touristy necessarily, but not someplace where even the locals don’t frequent. Could be a reason.
Sanitation and under cooking can be an issue anywhere, but more so with street food, so I would avoid that until you’re more seasoned.
You should bring over-the-counter meds in travel sized packaging. Things like pain relievers, cortizone, sunscreen, repellent, etc. All the usual stuff from home, instead of looking for it in a foreign pharmacy.
Make sure you are up to date on your vaccines. Some tropical countries may require additional inoculations prior to arrival. Contact your medical provider at least 2 months before your trip regarding any recommendations. If you are getting them on your own, check your destination country on the U.S. CDC’s website for anything they recommend. Then check the Customs & Immigration site of your destination country for anything they may require. Don’t forget to print out or photo copy your shot records and stick it in your carry-on. Proof of having some shot or other may be required and you don’t want to be caught unawares.
The best advice I can give regarding how to avoid injury when traveling is to stay in your lane! That simply means if you don’t do it at home, then don’t do it there. An overseas trip shouldn't be the first time you try skiing, for example.
If traffic at your destination is hectic, and it's the type you aren't used to, then leave the driving to the locals. Take cabs, buses, Ubers, etc instead.
7. Getting Lost
This one may not be an issue for most,
especially if you stick to cabs and local tours, but some of us are direction impaired. That could lead to more adventure than you were hoping. Here you can let technology be your friend.
GPS and Mapping Apps, like Google Maps or Mapsme, can come in very handy. Just make sure you download the maps for your target areas before you arrive, so that you can use them offline. You can always print out maps so you don’t have to worry about your
battery strength or walking around with your phone out. Most hotels, hostels and some rentals may have local tourist-type maps you can use.
8. No Vacation Time
If you work a regular job, and are not self-employed, you will have some kind of time off.
Be it just weekends and/or holidays, you can string together a couple of days to get away. You may need to shift your priorities, and adjust the destination, but you know it can be done.
If you truly don’t get any paid vacation, what about sick time? Personal time? Holiday time?
When Monday is a holiday off, you can fly out right after work Friday and give yourself 3 days. Where could you go for 3 days? Research it, for example if you live on the U.S. East Coast, anywhere from Eastern Canada and the Caribbean, down to Central America is a quick hop for you.
9. Running Out Of Money
After the flight, hotels and tours are booked and paid for, what’s remaining is spending cash. Estimate the amount of money you would spend at home to eat and drink daily. What you would spend clubbing, buying local trinkets and maybe doing Uber or a cab 2 or 3 times daily. Add about 20% to that number, and that should be a good amount to have available. You may not spend it all, especially if going to a less developed country, but you’d rather have too much that not enough. Should you have all that in cash? No, that may not be safe or comfortable for you, I would mix in a credit card or two (one for emergency) and bring a debit/check card for pulling local currency from an ATM. Whichever is most convenient for you, so long as it is all available when you need it.
10. Can’t Afford It
Ok, this one is probably the only legit reason, which is why its last. If you can't scrape together enough dough, none of the others matter.
You can put aside all or a portion of your income tax refund.
Save and place small amounts of money at a time, into a dedicated savings account, separate from your main bank, and with no debit card. Make it as difficult as possible to dip into.
Cut back on unnecessary expenditures like morning latte’s and daily lunches out. That’s addition money that can go into your travel fund.
Look for mid-week and off season travel deals.
Join travel bargain sites and sign up for alerts to your destination place or country, but remember to remain flexible with the dates and times.
Take advantage of airline, hotel and credit card loyalty points.
There you have it, this should just about cover the majority of objections you may come up with as to why you don’t travel.
Once you’ve eliminated, or at least reduced your fears, what you are left with are excuses.
Can you think of some I may have missed?
To the intrepid traveler in us all..
* see all pro tips