In spirit of Halloween, I’m back with another post about the trials and tribulations of travel. Having travelled on and off since 2016, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to travel. While I haven’t necessarily experienced everything that could go wrong, I probably will at one point or another and that’s ok. So without further adieu here are 13 common travel fears and how YOU can overcome them!
1. Missing a flight
A less than ideal situation, I will admit. Flights are big ticket items and chances are that you don’t always pay for the insurance in case something goes wrong. From drinking a little too much wine in the Tasmania airport, to looking at makeup in the shops of the Melbourne airport and not having my visa requirements sorted for Vietnam – I’ve missed or came close to missing a handful of flights.
Solution: I’d say that missing a flight can almost always be avoided with the proper preparation. If you’re distracted at the airport or running late for your flight, that’s usually on you. Don’t get too scared though because if you have proper flight insurance and have your details organized you won’t need to worry about it!
2. Losing luggage
Lost luggage is just one of those things that is completely unavoidable and just comes down to luck of the draw. I personally hate the thought of losing so you’re not alone in worrying about it happening to you.
Solution: While it’s one of my biggest fears, it hasn’t happened yet (knock on wood). To be extra careful and prepare for it to happen at some point, I always keep my most valuable items, as well as a set of clothes and a bikini in case in my carry-on.
Another thing I keep in mind is that although luggage is often lost, it’s also very frequently found! To make sure you’re always prepared for the worst make sure you have proper travel insurance!! I always go with World Nomads because you can get it from any country and it’s always affordable.
3. Being robbed/scammed
This one is definitely one of the common travel fears a lot of travellers face unfortunately. I’ve had items stolen from hostels and been scammed by a phone provider when trying to buy a new SIM card. It happens and sometimes there’s no way to get around it.
Solution: There are heaps of ways you can prevent theft and feel a lot more comfortable about the possibility of it happening. It goes without saying that you should be aware of your surroundings and try to do things in groups/with other people. These type of problems typically occur when you’e more vulnerable, aka alone.
When I travel solo I have a system. I keep my important documents and money (but not all of it) in one spot. If it’s in a purse I usually put it inside another bag or wallet that I can attach to the purse from inside. That way I don’t need to fish around my bag to find things and know they’re still with me. I also keep some money hidden in random spots in my luggage or carry-on in case someone happens to run away with my things.
In terms of documents, I have all documents in an email I send to myself in case my phone gets stolen and have pictures on my phone as well. I always keep a close eye on my phone and never set it down! I also listen to what other travellers tell me about certain places and take precautions accordingly.
4. No good food options /dietary restrictions
If you’re a picky eater or have certain dietary restrictions, the thought of going to a new country where they eat very different food than you’re used to can be a little frightening. Not everyone likes to try new things right away and food varies greatly depending on where you go.
Solution: Do your research! Most often if you do your research before heading to a new place you’ll find that there’s many options for whatever specific diet you follow.
For example, I mostly follow a plant-based diet (vegetarian and sometimes vegan) so it can be a little difficult in meat-heavy countries to find many options. When I went to Spain I had this problem but the friends I travelled with helped research restaurants where there were options for me! On the other hand, I found other countries like Sri Lanka to be very plant-based and had absolutely no problem finding great food options there. It’s not usually as bad as you may think!
5. Being lonely/alone
Even the most seasoned travellers will sometimes have a moment of panic and irrational fear that they’re going to be alone (if they travel solo) or be lonely. No matter how much I tell myself that I’m going to meet people and make friends, I still deal with this usually the first hour or two of arriving at a new place if I’ve yet to meet anyone.
Solution: Put yourself out there! There is absolutely no reason why you should have trouble making friends and meeting people along your travels. I’ve found that all solo travellers are in the same boat and looking to meet others so it’s never a problem.
Not sure how to go about talking to new people in your hostel? Read my best tips on making friends abroad here!
6. Getting homesick
While getting homesick can happen when you travel, I’ve yet to meet many people who experience it. I think this is usually because most people don’t travel for too long at a time and things are exciting. You’re seeing new things, meeting new people and having experiences a lot of people would kill to have!
Solution: If you find you’re getting homesick, make time to talk to friends and family BUT don’t talk to them too often. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with positive and happy people who you can go on adventures with and truly experience the place you’re visiting.
7. It will be too expensive
This is probably hands down one of the most common travel fears around. How will you be able to afford being gone for so long? How long should you save? Well it really all comes down to how you personally like to travel. Are you willing to stay in hostels and share rooms with people? Are you willing to take public transportation to get from one spot to the next? Keep these things in mind when you think about travel.
Solution: Determine what style of travel you’re going for and go from there. If you’re up for backpacking, travel will never be too expensive! Plan things out accordingly and set up a mini budget before hand to see how much you’ll need saved for your trip. Also think about how you can make money along the way. Lot’s of people find creative ways to work while they’re travelling such as teaching english abroad.
8. Dangerous bugs/wildlife
If you’re headed to a place that has dangerous bugs or wildlife, you may be a little concerned. When I moved to Australia for a year on a working holiday visa almost everyone asked me about the spiders. While I did encounter the good ol’ huntsman spider at my place, it was harmless and the only spider I saw all year.
Solution: Be aware of your surroundings and always have medical insurance!! There’s really no reason to fear wildlife if you’re aware of what’s around you. I did have a close call with a jellyfish while at the Whitsundays in Australia but that was due to my ignorance and not wearing a wet suit!
9. Getting lost
Getting lost can be scary. Especially if you’re alone and it’s late. I’ve been lot a handful of times while travelling and I bet most avid travellers have as well.
Solution: Accept that it happens. People get lost. It happens at home and will probably happen at one point or another in a new place. It adds to the excitement and you never know what you may stumble upon.
You can prepare for the worst case scenario by having a few items on hand. Bring a flashlight in case you’re alone at night, a portable phone charger and make sure to get a SIM card. They’re usually pretty cheap in most countries!
10. Getting injured abroad
Getting hurt abroad is a very real possibility when you travel. I’ve had a few instances where I needed to seek medical attention, the most recent being a scooter accident in the Philippines. If you haven’t heard the story yet, I’ll link it here for you!
Solution: I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, ALWAYS have medical insurance!! You never know how much a trip to the doctors or hospital in another country is going to cost you. And as my mom always told be, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
11. Language barrier
The thought of travelling to a non-English speaking country or country where they don’t speak your native language can be scary. How will you communicate? Will you find your way around? Will you make it out of the airport?! Those are all common travel fears people have and while some countries are more difficult than others, you’ll find a way through it!
- Don’t overthink it – You may find yourself surprised by a country that may not appear to speak English very well. That was the case for me in both the Philippines and Sri Lanka! Knowing that English was not their first language was tough for me to wrap my head around at first but I didn’t sweat it and found out that most people there – especially in touristy areas had great English skills!
- Do your research – Look online beforehand to find out English language skills of that particular place. If you know ahead of time then you can prepare accordingly.
- Learn the basics – I’m not the best when it comes to following this rule but I’m working on it! If you can learn a few key phrases in the language most commonly used, it will go a long way. I usually end up learning these phrases upon arrival but either way I put in some effort! The locals will appreciate your attempt so don’t feel embarrassed to try.
13. Not safe to travel alone
Travelling alone, especially as a woman, can present a few safety concerns. Depending on the place you’re choosing to visit, there will be many aspects that come into play in terms of staying safe. Being one of the most common travel fears, there are many ways you can work to overcome it!
Although the thought of travelling solo can be scary, if you’re prepared there’s no reason to be. Read my tips on solo female travel here!
12. Running out of money
Running out of money is a very real fear that a lot of budget backpackers face along the way! If you aren’t careful with your budgeting or have been robbed, you may find yourself in a position where you’ve run out of cash. In that situation, here’s a few things you can do:
- Always have backup credit/debit card – I usually bring both my credit and debit card and recently got a STACK card that can be used as a prepaid credit card. It has no foreign transaction fees and makes it easy to send money to and from friends and family. You also get $5 every time you refer someone! Check it out here (Canada wide only).
- Have backup money – I like to have money at home that I can use in case of emergency. I’ll usually have around $1000 CAD just in case.
- Work at a hostel – Worse case scenario, you can always work at a hostel to subsidize your travels. There’s also programs like Workaway where you can work in exchange for a place to stay.
One last thing …
These common travel fears can usually be avoided, which is awesome and should give you some confidence to travel! Despite the fact that the odds are you will encounter one or more of these problems during your travels, don’t let that stop you.
Life is so incredibly short and if you have the chance to explore another part of the world, you should take it! Sure, enduring some of these moments won’t be pleasant but it will show you how strong you are for overcoming it. It will prove to yourself that you have what it takes to go after whatever you want in life.
Want more travel tips and budget hacks? Connect with me on Instagram and keep an eye out for new posts each week!